As a white American, I may not be an expert on the intricacies of systemic racism. But there’s one thing about race that I know for sure, and that’s that being Black in this country is a tiny bit tricky, especially when it comes to how they’re treated by law enforcement. For centuries, cops have been used as a tactic for keeping Black people in line, through threats of incarceration, violence, and even death. It’s horrible, and I recognize that. That’s why when I call the cops on a Black person, it’s not because I want them dead, it’s because I know the threat of police brutality will have them afraid of dying, and that’s good enough for me.
Let me get something important out of the way: I am not a racist. There’s not a bone in my body that wants harm to come to any Black person, whether they’re existing near me or not. But if they are existing near me, and especially if they’re holding me accountable for my poor public behavior, I do reserve the right to call the police. It has nothing to do with wishing death on Black people, it’s more that I know that if they are in fear of losing their lives at the hands of a historically racist institution that has long gotten away with senseless and baseless murder, I’ll probably get what I want.
Being white in this country means acknowledging that I have certain privileges that others don’t. That’s just a basic fact. But being Black in this country means acknowledging that if you try to challenge those privileges in any capacity, I may just have to use them to make a quick phone call to our local law enforcement establishment who we all know have been known to not only participate in but also celebrate the death of Black citizens. And in that way, I wouldn’t directly have caused a Black death. Just tangentially.
Especially in the era of cameraphone videos, it would be insane for me to think that I could get away with calling the cops on a Black person for something that didn’t happen. But, of course, I definitely still could? In fact, cops get acquitted of murdering Black people with video evidence all the time. So maybe they should just let me act in whatever way I so choose without consequence. I only have their best interest at heart here.
Look, the bottom line is, I’m a liberal! I recognize that police brutality is a huge issue, and I would never call the cops on a Black person without a good reason. But if I absolutely needed to call the cops, like if a Black person asked me to put my dog on a leash, or if I wanted Black people to stop having a BBQ at a park, or if a Black person was jogging in my neighborhood, or if a Black teenager was playing music too loud, or if a Black person was selling untaxed cigarettes, or if a Black person was in their own apartment that I drunkenly stumbled into, or if a Black child was playing with a toy gun at a playground, or if a Black man looked at me lustfully, or if Black person pulled out their wallet, or if a Black person threatens my ability to live my life exactly how I want to live it regardless of social decency or legality, I would. Not that I’d want them to die or anything, but sometimes that happens!