Last weekend, Charles Belk, a 51-year-old black man, was arrested and detained by the Beverly Hill Police Department on the suspicion that he had robbed a nearby bank. In reality, Belk had been having a meal at a nearby restaurant, and was on his way to check the status of his parking meter. Before Belk got to his car, he was surrounded by police cars, handcuffed, and taken to the police station. He was in custody for several hours before being released. What officers presumably didn’t know at the time, is that Belk is an award-winning figure in the entertainment business, a fact that is listed among others in Belk’s account of the incident, which was posted on his Facebook account and subsequently picked up by news outlets. It read in part:

I get that the Beverly Hills Police Department didn’t know that I was a well educated American citizen that had received a BS in Electrical Engineering from the University of Southern California, an MBA from Indiana University (including a full Consortium Fellowship to business school) and an Executive Leadership Certificate from Harvard Business School. Hey, I was “tall”, “bald”, a “male” and “black”, so I fit the description.

I get that the Beverly Hills Police Department didn’t know that I was a Consultant for the NAACP, a film and tv producer, a previous VP of Marketing for a wireless application company, VP of Integrated Promotions for a marketing agency, ran Community Affairs for the Atlanta Hawks, was the Deputy Director of Olympic Village Operations for the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games, was a Test/Quality/Mfg Engineering Manager for IBM and was a Bond Trader on Wall street. Surely, folks that fit the description wouldn’t qualify as any of those.

I get that the Beverly Hills Police Department didn’t know that throughout my entire life I have been very active in serving the communities that I have lived in, including Chapter President and National PR Chair for NSBE, a USC Student Senator, a USC Trojan Knight, a USC Engineering Student Council Member, a USC Black Students Council Member, and a Resident Assistant; as well as a founding board member of the RTP NBMBAA, a member of Durham County Transportation Advisory Board, Durham City / County Planning Commission, Atlanta House of Love for the Homeless Board, Cobb County Transportation Advisory Board, Georgia CASA Board, United Way of Greater Atlanta VIP Selection Committee, Jomandi Theater Board, Silver Lake Film Festival Board, Downtown LA Film Festival Board, Chaka Khan Foundation Fundraising Dinner Committee, and the USC Black Alumni Association Board. Nawl, not a “black male”, especially a “tall, bald” one.

I get that the Beverly Hills Police Department didn’t know that just hours earlier, I was at one of the finest hotels in their city, handling celebrity talent at a Emmy Awards Gifting Suite, as part of business as usual, and, invited to attend a VIP Emmy pre-party that very night in their city. The guy doing that, just DON”T fit the description.

Audre Lorde once said, “Your silence will not protect you.” You know what? Your resume won’t, either.

Listen, I don’t want to diminish Belk’s clearly harrowing and distressful experience courtesy of the Beverly Hills PD. Given the climate, it’s impressive that Belk lived to tell his story. But frankly, I find Belk’s incredibly long description of his accomplishments masked as things the BHPD clearly could not have known the latest in a growing list of examples of black people who seem to think that the police’s mistreatment of them was unwarranted because of what they’ve accomplished. Such utterances reek of a kind of respectability that has never, ever prevented black people from being victims of white supremacy. What’s worse, claims like Belk’s can be read as semantic attempts to dissociate the from black folks who are seemingly more deserving of police harassment because they have neither an exhaustive CV nor the privilege that it comes with.

We hear this often, though. Black men, people with proclivities to document their lives via social media often pad their (violent) interactions with the police with descriptions of what they were wearing at the time or mentioning their degrees as justifications for why their treatment was especially unfair. They recount their experiences, how they told the police things like “I’ma a professor” or “I’m a judge” or “I’m your boss” or “I’m on my way to work” as if the police were supposed to stop upon hearing such news. It’s as if these verbal resumes are supposed to ward off violations of civil rights; as if proclaiming that they are credits to the race as we recount their experience is supposed to elicit more empathy and compel others to think that the interaction was especially unjust. These proclamations will not repel the police from harassing and/or killing these special Negroes. But what they do, on another level, is suggest that there are other folks, those other blacks who might have been justifiably harassed and killed.

We shake our heads when we read newspaper articles about slain black youth who were on the honor roll or who showed so much “promise.” He had a scholarship, we say. He was on break from college, we cry. We rightfully read The New York Times for calling Michael Brown “no angel.” We do this because this kind of language is an attempt to create innocence around a black body that is always already guilty and thus worthy of death in the eyes of the white supremacist law. But we need to extend that critique, we need to challenge these recollections of interactions with police where black folks proclaim their esteemed standing during and/or after these incidents. Why does is matter that Charles Belk has an MBA and an Emmy? It doesn’t. It didn’t matter to the police, and it shouldn’t matter to us. What should matter is that Belk’s rights were violated. And if we care anything about his accomplishments, we should think about how his access expedited his release, not how they made his arrest even more unjust. If anything, perhaps Belk now knows that, in the eyes of the law at least, his blackness isn’t as special as he thought it was.

Again, these violent encounters with the police are wrong and unlawful. But I have grown weary with the increasing examples of black folks delineating their accomplishments within this context. Such talk does nothing but implicitly criminalize black folks who don’t have such extensive resumes. And I’m not here for that. And if we are here for justice, then we need to critique these narratives and stringently as we did John Eligon and others like him.

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