A week has passed since the death of M. Brown. Although new information continues to come to light, there are still many unanswered questions. We now know the name of the officer who shot the deceased. We have now seen video surveillance tape of the deceased participating in a strong armed robbery just prior to his death. We have an admission from his friend who was with him that they indeed participated in the strong armed robbery just prior to his death. We also have the words of the Ferguson Chief of Police that the strong armed robbery was unrelated to the death of M. Brown. We have numerous accounts from eye witnesses and hearsay accounts from those close to the officer. We have a sketchy recording of an unidentified bystander who witnessed the shooting which seems to corroborate the hearsay testimony of those close to the officer. What we still do not have are any conclusive investigative results which corroborates either side's version, and therefore, despite any of our rushes to judgment, in reality, we are all as we began....waiting. That being said, just as in my first post, I will not be commenting on the guilt or innocent theories in my own head, and will be addressing matters which have caused my head to spin in the past week.
In my first article on the Ferguson riots I made it clear I was posting from the view of being a white woman who is married to a black police officer. I also stated that our children are bi-racial. I am writing this article based on the same perspective, as it is the only perspective I can have. It is who I am, and it is who we are as a family.
I have read countless postings and watched countless news stories and press releases over the past week. One theme seems to resonate - sensationalized bandwagon jumping. The media is guilty of it. Citizens are guilty of it. Politicians are guilty of it and organized groups are guilty of it. I've done my best to not jump the same bias bandwagon of my choice and I will be the first to own, it's difficult for me. My husband is an officer and I do not like what I am seeing aimed at law enforcement as a WHOLE, rather than at the individual officer involved. Likewise I am having a difficult time reconciling how those who are demanding justice have already condemned this officer before the facts are conclusive, when they are taking such a devout view that is was prejudgment that led to the death of M. Brown.
In my previous post I stated that racism is alive and real in this country, and it most certainly is. Being a white woman married to black police officer with mixed race children, one of who has special needs, and living in the bible belt of America in a relatively affluent suburb, I can assure you I have experienced racism on many occasions and on many levels.
I have been approached by white women at Wal-mart who have thanked me for adopting my "poor little black boy". I have been approached by black women who have given their snide comments that I "took another black man off the market". I have been told countless times by white people "Oh, I saw your husband on his police motorcycle yesterday", and I have witnessed my husband experience racism on more levels that I could put into words. I have had people in the waiting area of hospitals and doctor's offices ask me if I am a caretaker for the special needs child with me..."you know, like foster care?", and I have been told that mixing the races "gave that boy the autism".
First of all.... I never knew the adoption agency had access to my uterus and should they have asked to deliver the little black boy via my birth canal I would have taken issue with that. I "got" that little black boy the old fashioned way, thanks very much. Secondly, although he was extremely attractive, I did not tote my Glock into the police department, place it to my husband's head and force him "off the market" and into a relationship with me, nor did I force him to procreate with me, nor am I responsible for why he's never dated or married a black woman, he seems to have a mind of his own and is in fact, a grown ass man. You will have to take up that question with him. I'm sure glad he chose me. Thirdly, you have never seen my husband on a police motors unit... he is not a motors unit officer and never has been. There IS however, a black officer in our city (one of only four out of over 100 officers) that is a motors cop.... so you actually saw a black officer on a police motorcycle... I know... easy mistake... especially in this town where there's only four black officers who look exactly alike (sarcasm intended). And as far as "mixing the races" being a cause of autism.... how about dysphagia? and seizure disorders? Our son has that as well, so I just need to know if I should check into that.... and could you explain all the white and asian and latino and "legit all black" kids with autism? How did that happen to them? Oh... and when you get pulled over by a black cop and you happen to be white, using the whole "he hates white people" really comes off as ignorant when the screen saver in his patrol unit includes the photo of his white wife and bi-racial children. But you didn't ever consider that, did you? And when you take your ass up to the high school where my husband has arrested your black child and before you've ever laid eyes on my husband have spouted off with your loud mouth to school administration that the "pig" is picking on another young black male....you might want to actually SEE the school resource officer before stating such ignorance.... I know, easy mistake to make in a yuppy town with only four black cops on the payroll, but turns out not everything is about your kid being black, sometimes it's just about his illegal drug use and theft.
Yes..... I KNOW RACISM. I know it well. As a mother to a child who no one would identify as "mixed" without seeing me with him, I too know about the fears of my child being profiled by the police. I have no doubt that if my child were a teenager, wearing a hoodie, walking the sidewalk, with a group of black teens, in our yuppy suburb, chances are someone would wonder what the hell those boys were up to. And yes... I have no doubt whatsoever that it would only take one jackass whitey to call in the police saying a "gang" of blacks were doing all kinds of "things" out in the "streets". That's a very real possibility for my son and I have genuine concerns about it. HOWEVER..... (there's the but) here's what I don't understand....
How in the world are those members of the black community who are perpetrating violence and mayhem against innocents and law enforcement in general helping?? How can anyone justify chanting death threats to the officer when they themselves are in an upheaval over the death of another young black man? How can anyone jump to the conclusion that this officer just decided to take out a man in the middle of the street, in front of multiple witnesses, in broad daylight, for absolutely no reason whatsoever. How can anyone assume he has absolutely no humanity whatsoever? How can anyone NOT even remotely ponder that he may have feared for his own life? Not saying shooting M. Brown was justified, not saying there weren't other options....because we do not know yet.... but how can we justify the assumption that this officer after a life with no police record, while working in law enforcement, while having a known history of being a well liked, fair, just and honorable officer, just decided that day was the day to become a cold, calculated murderer??
It is those same people who are horrified that M. Brown was gunned down for simply being black, walking down the street. We are to ignore it because he has no lengthy criminal history. We are to ignore the strong armed robbery committed just moments before his death. We are to ignore everything but his graduation photo and those with his family...... but can ANY SINGLE one of those wishing this officer dead say they would ignore the officer having multiple complaints of officer brutality? Would they ignore if he had been placed on administrative leave in the past for an altercation with a black male....or even a white male for that matter.... after all, if we're all honest wouldn't we say without a doubt if this officer had beaten the shit out of others in the past that there would be signs and chants "HOW MANY?? WHEN IS ENOUGH??" If we all own our own truth, we know better. Should this officer had any past infractions in law enforcement those with hatred for him would be using it for all they could....... just as so many are using M. Brown's history as proof of his character. It is human nature..... and so is denial of same.
I honestly believe there are a vast amount of members of all races, who are genuinely concerned with true justice for M. Brown. They want the truth. The whole truth. And I truly believe once the facts are all known, that those sensible members of the melting pots of America will accept what is revealed and the justice which will be served. If this officer was unjust in the shooting, I believe those with sense and sensibility will wholeheartedly agree he should be served justice accordingly. I also believe that there is a pocket of America who is not interested in any truth, regardless of what shall be, but simply their own agenda.
To those who refuse to acknowledge truth, they will never acknowledge the facts which are the latest full year FBI Statistic compilation. 2,648 black Americans were murdered in the 2012 calendar year and of the 2,648 black murder victims, 2,412 were murdered by a member of their OWN RACE. That leaves 193 murders of the 2,684 being carried out by a white person. Additionally, in 2012, almost 500 more whites were killed than blacks. Somehow, despite the facts, they will only see that white pigs are out to murder every black boy they see.... and no change can ever come from that.
Those who are promoting and inciting violence upon their fellow man, law enforcement in general, their communities and specifically chanting for the death of the officer, have done nothing but discredit themselves. There is no worth in savagery. There is no justifying the destruction and mayhem. Regardless of your plight, it will not work.
At the end of the day I can only speak my own truth. I am a white woman, married to a black officer and today I fear for his safety from the black community, more so than from the skinheads and sovereign citizens who preach their hatred for not only blacks, but also the police. My husband is an eighteen year veteran patrol officer. He is a suicide prevention officer, a hostage negotiator, a crisis intervention officer, he leaves the streets nine months a year to work in the high schools. He makes it his mission to mentor young black men on the importance of making their own honest way in life, a life in which many cases is faced with racism. He tells them his story of growing up in the same hood they did, with the same circumstances. He tells them his truth of being one of only four black officers on a force of over a hundred...as in, it's not necessarily going to get easy for you. He also teaches them that despite being a black man in today's society, there is no excuse for taking the wrong path. YOU and YOU alone are accountable for your actions. You can only use your neighborhood as an excuse for so long. At some point you must own yourself. And he teaches another truth..... racism will always be a part of your life. As a black man you most likely will always be looked upon by many as less. You may very well be profiled. You may very well be judged by the color of your skin, but there is no one more powerful than YOU ALONE to change that and you and you alone dictate how much power you allow racism over your life.
Despite being an officer who has done nothing but honor his badge and dedicated his life to truly desiring to make a difference to his community, he is still judged..... I'm not sure which upsets me more? That he is judged for being black or that he is judged and convicted simply because of the brass on his chest. Perhaps I'm just tired of him being judged at all, as for police officers being judged goes way past the color of their skin. There is no other occupation which is systematically grouped and judged as a whole. We never look to hold only those who are corrupt accountable....it's always "ALL" cops. My husband isn't ALL cops. No officer is ALL cops. And very few officers and families of officers have any sympathy for a bad cop. There's not a corrupt cop out there that I can trust to take a bullet for my husband... and there's no doubt my husband would take a bullet for any of his brothers or sisters in blue.... as well as any stranger. To anyone who tries to lessen my husband's character simply because of the badge he wears, your input is worthless. I know very well who that man is, and he doesn't deserve to be gunned down simply for "signing" up to be hated. "The only good cop is a dead cop".... that speaks volumes about our society. If my husband encounters those willing to slaughter him in order to avoid arrest or simply because of their hatred, I pray to God he doesn't reach for a taser, or aim for a leg. He's my world, and my children's world and if you expect me to hope "slowing down" a threat to his life is enough, then you've never spent a day in our shoes.
Despite the racism my husband encounters from his own race, and others, he refuses to compromise his character. He lives life with dignity in the face of adversity. He refuses to stoop the the level of those who judge him. If he encounters unfairness, he handles himself with dignity and abides by the laws he did not make, but agrees to follow as an American citizen. If he is wronged, he goes about righting it legally, ethically, and morally..... he stands by his own truth and refuses to engage in anything which could reduce his character. Despite the racism I encounter I choose to do the same and I choose to raise my young black son in the same manner. Do I fear for him.... in some senses, yes. I do. But I also know that the foundation I lay for him will help him remember to stand upon his own character, regardless of the lack of character of others.
In the past week I have seen such a growing misplaced hatred which is pointless with no hope for a change effecting outcome. It is truly sad that this is the world we are leaving for our children. There's not a single one of us who can honestly say we can't do better..... but there are so many who are completely unwilling to stop themselves and just do better. Own your truth....act accordingly. "Be the change you want to see in the world"..... it's not just a cliche quote we all read on the internet. It holds worth.
Founder, The Police Wife Life