Black Men: ‘I’m tired of feeling like someone’s enemy’
The following post is from The Root. It was written by The Root Staff.
By: The Root Staff
(Editor’s note: We began this summer with a commemoration of Freedom Summer, 50 years after blood was shed on Southern soil to insure our inalienable right to vote as citizens of these United States. We end this summer with renewed cries for freedom; the freedom to walk our neighborhood streets without dying, the freedom to pick up a toy without getting shot and the freedom to wait for our children after school, as Chris Lollie was attempting to do, without getting tased by police.)
Terron Moore, The Root Social Media Editor
What’s most telling to me in this video aren’t the moments where an innocent man is defending his own innocence for no reason, as his screams for help seemingly go unanswered while his children look on. That cuts deep, but I took note of the brief moments where this unarmed man makes what would become one of his last attempts to state his case.
“You’re gonna go to jail.” “I’m not doing anything wrong.”
And moments later:
“Come on, brother.” “I’m not here to argue. I’m not your brother.”
The woman in this video—doing her job as sternly as she could—still seemed as if she didn’t want the situation escalated any further. The male officer, however, asserted his aggression from the moment he enters the picture, and in his refusal to listen lies the real problem. It’s all in the officer’s attitude—that “I’m not your brother”—which shows that regardless of the fact that this was a hardworking, harmless family man, he had Chris Lollie marked as an enemy.
I’m so tired of feeling like someone’s enemy wherever I go. I’m exhausted as a young black man being perpetually confused about how to simply exist without antagonizing a cop or terrifying a white person. The man in this video did not have to be attacked, like I believe Michael Brown or Eric Garner or Trayvon Martin did not have to die. After August, it’s never been more real to me that one day I may have to defend my life because someone sees me as the wrong shade of black. And that’s beyond terrifying.
Stephen Crockett, The Root Associate Editor of News
My dad once had a gun pulled on him by a police officer when I was 10. He had been working at the Library of Congress for years when he took me with him one weekend to do research for a school project. Something was wrong with his ID. The officer at the door told him to go down to security to find out what was going on. Minutes later my dad was being told to back up with a gun drawn on him. I was crying. I didn’t even know what was going on. We have never talked about it and my relationship with the police has always been torn.
The black man in the video goes from father who knows his rights to castrated black man within seconds and I don’t know how it feels but the Ferguson wound hasn’t healed. I am too raw to even talk about this. I could barely watch the video for work purposes because his screams are frightening and sad and I know that they will fall flat as the people that were supposed to help him are the ones who are inflicting the pain.
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