By just a pull of the trigger, lives have been lost. As multiple bullets leave deadly weapons, they continue to strike those of the African-American community, causing fallen tears by neighborhood leaders, family and friends. The Black community has been fighting to combat police brutality for years but as of recently, in the age of technology and social media, situations have visually heightened causing devastation for parents who hope their children aren’t the next target.
The day Alton Sterling, 37, was killed by police officers in Baton Rouge, Louisiana; parents voiced their concerns on social media with some leaving tears on their keyboards and sorrow in their hearts. One of those mothers was Crystal Black Davis who explained her reality as a Black mother on Facebook.
“I’m in tears because this could have been Anthony Davis, Evan Black or any of the countless law abiding, compliant, hard working, respectable African-American men in my life.
“As a Black mother, my reality is that although Elijah is cute and adorable at four years old, the moment he becomes a teenager and begins looking like a man, it won’t matter that his mother is the vice president of a global CPG (Consumer Packaged Goods) or that his dad graduated at the top of his MBA class. In the eyes of many, Elijah or any Black teenager/man whether inner city or suburban, affluent or poor, well spoken or a mouth full of slang automatically equates to trouble/bad/menacing/up to no good/criminal based on their existence alone.”
She went on to explain an incident that occurred at the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis just over a year ago when an older White woman took one look at her son Elijah and made an “uggh gesture,” as she called it.
“If a reaction such as that can be directed at an innocent toddler, now you understand what keeps me up at night,” she continued.
Just one day after Sterling’s death, another African-American male, Philando Castile, 32, was fatally shot by a Latino police officer just outside of Minneapolis, Minnesota. As protests broke out, hearts in the African-American community were heavy. Black Davis said these frequent microagressions are what create “an undercurrent of anger and frustration.”
“Racism isn’t only defined by cross burnings and Hitler salutes, it’s the daily occurrences that are internalized and eat away at our souls. Watching the white person in front of you in line receive a warm greeting by the cashier then get not so much as a ‘hi’ when it’s your turn to pay. It’s the doubling back to make sure their car door is locked when they see me in the parking lot. It’s when a woman runs back to her grocery cart because she assumes I’m trying to steal her purse that she walked away from while getting something from the shelf. It’s complying with officer requests but still end up getting shot…,” she wrote.
Robert Lawrence, father to a 6-year-old boy said he has constantly feared for his son’s life the moment he was born.
“As a parent, I want to raise him as normal as possible but around the age of 13 is the time to learn about the reality of the world,” Lawrence told the Recorder. “Letting him know he will be racially profiled and what he does once that happens will be one of the most important decisions of his life is what’s important. He can choose to act or not react but unfortunately either could have deadly consequences. By the time he’s 13, it will be past 2020 so who knows what the world will be like.”
Lawrence said there are several reasons why the acts of police brutality have heightened. He attributes one of those reasons to the upcoming presidential election.
“Nothing sirs up voters more than chaos and when you insert the race debate, things really get crazy. It forces presidential candidates to gather their opinion and out of all of this chaos, comes order so we as the public then run to our government for help but their system is even more chaotic and corrupt.”
He also attributes the debate on the right to bear arms as a reason why so much stress had been brought to the Black community through gun violence. He believes these actions are a plan to take away America’s rights to carry guns.
These parents used social media as a platform for their voices to be heard, but mother of three and grandmother to four, Nicole Black sat down with the Recorder to share her fears.
“My son is leaving to fly back home tomorrow and I’m sacred to death,” she said in tears. “I want so much to just keep my kids and their kids close. Full time work isn’t an option anymore because I am so paranoid. Things are not the same anymore and I’m scared for my safety, so I just stay home.”
Black said she tells her 23-year-old son to avoid the police, if at all possible, but explains he has developed a “militant” attitude due to social media.
“He complies with social drama, which makes him challenge me. I am so afraid for him…you just don’t know.”
Victoria T. Davis, The Indianapolis Recorder @Victoria08Davis