The voice of a Black man calling on real good Whites and real good cops to join with us; for, it is enough
In America, people of color are at greater risk of being brutally abused by police officers than their White compatriots.[i] Black teens are at greater risks of being shot by police than are White teens[ii] ; and in general, Blacks are more likely to get killed by police than members of other racial or ethnic groups.[iii] Statistics show that during the first six months of 2012, a Black person was killed by police every 36 hours.
Unfortunately, George Floyd is only the latest Black victim of police brutality in the US. Like Elijah who ran for his life and told the Lord he had enough when Jezebel sought to kill him, Blacks in America are screaming, “It is enough” (1Kings 19). Unlike Elijah, we are not calling on the Lord to take away our lives. Instead, we are calling on real good Whites and real good cops to stand with us and stand for us.
For too long, we have been suffocated by the racist structures/systems that give racist, inhumane, and evil persons the power to dehumanize, terrorize, and destroy us. It is enough! We need to breathe. We are calling on all decent persons to take a stand for justice. In this atmosphere, no one should dare to remain neutral. If you are neutral and if you are not committed to work with us to dismantle the systems that embolden one group of people and make them feel that Blacks are disposable things, you are part of the problem. Now is not the time to be nice and neutral. Neutrality is spineless and even dangerous. It gives life to an unjust system. It allows evil to perpetuate. In 2004, James H. Cone alluded to the danger of neutrality when he quoted Bonhoeffer and wrote, “Silence in the face of evil is evil itself: God will not hold us guiltless. Not to speak is to speak. Not to act is to act.”[iv]
If you tell me you are sorry that too many Black persons get murdered by evil police officers and yet, you are not doing anything about it, you are as guilty as the ones who commit murderous acts. I know there are many good White people and many good cops among us. If you present yourself as a good cop or a good White person and yet you are afraid to come out of your comfort zone to fight against the victimization of our people, you are as guilty as the ones who pull the triggers. I am calling on good Whites and good cops to speak, act, and help us eradicate all forms of racism from among us. For it is enough.
[i] Johnson Jr, W. E., Rich, L. M., & Keene, L. C. (2016). Father–Son Communication: An Intervention Strategy for Boys and Men of Color to Promote Neighborhood Safety Post-Ferguson. The Journal of Men’s Studies, 24(2), 151-165.; Beer, C. T. (2015). Ferguson and “Rapid-Response” teaching. Contexts, 14(1), 74-75.; Cha-Jua, S. K. (2014). “We Believe It Was Murder:” Mobilizing Black Resistance to Police Brutality in Champaign, Illinois.;
Chaney, C., & Robertson, R. (2013). Racism and Police Brutality in America. Journal Of African American Studies, 17(4), 480-505. doi:10.1007/s12111-013-9246-5;
[ii] Chaney, C., & Davis, D. J. (2015). Introduction: “No Justice, No Peace”: Social Unrest in Ferguson. Western Journal of Black Studies, 39(4), 267-271.
[iii] Smith Lee, J. R., & Robinson, M. A. (2019). “That’s My Number One Fear in Life. It’s the Police”: Examining Young Black Men’s Exposures to Trauma and Loss Resulting From Police Violence and Police Killings. Journal of Black Psychology, 0095798419865152.
[iv] [iv] Cone, J. (2004). Theology’s great sin: Silence in the face of White supremacy. Black Theology, 2(2), 139-152.