Hello. Come on in. The daddy writes about current events, literature, music and, once in a while, drops something on you from back in the day to make you pause and ponder, stop and stare, and begin to wonder. Who knows? You may start to pace the floor, shake your head from side to side, then fall down on bended knees in a praying position and cry, "Lawd, have mercy! What is this world coming to?" Check yourself! But this blog is NOT about the daddy. It's about you: your boos, your fam, your hood, your country...our hopes and dreams of a better tomorrow. So let's make a pact: the daddy will put it on the track if you'll chase it down and hit him back. Together, we can definitely take it to another level. Shall we?"

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

"God, I Hate This Shit!"

Okay, this is going to be a rambling post about violence that probably will make no sense or hold together. Shall we?

I just got off the phone with a black male friend. He got angry. So did I. He yelled and screamed about the police, and I did something that I can't remember ever doing and may never do again-- I defended the men and women in blue. In the end, we both hated living in such a violent, racist country that caused us to have such a conversation in the first place.

My friend began the conversation by asking, "Wasn't it bad the way them cops beat up those three brothas in Philly?" "Yes, it was bad, alright," I said.

"The way they kick on us, hit us with them sticks, and shoot us even when we don't have a gun, like they did to Sean Bell?" "Yeah, it happens."

As he was asking the second question, I could hear myself breathing harder and harder until, finally, I let out a lot of air and said, "Look, I'm not defending what the cops did in Philadelphia or New York City. They should follow police procedures. But they have a tough-" He cut me off and asked in a harsh tone, raising his voice, "What you trying to say? They're justified in beating and killing us? MacDaddy, what's up with you? Man, you starting to sound like the police. You-"

And it was on. I yelled "Stop! Stop it! You don't have the right to cut me off when I'm talking. ou don't h Yave the right to continue a conversation when you want to complain but not to hear another point of view. And you don't know how hard it is for police or black folks to spend time in crime infested neighborhoods today. You live in the suburbs around white folks with full-time jobs, SUVS and health benefits, where the biggest crime is white kids breaking into a garage for kicks.

"And let's face it: It's goddamn different today than when you and I was growing up. We settled shit with fists. Maybe you and grumpy old man Bill Cosby haven't noticed. But the police have noticed. These thugs are using guns, and they'll kill anybody. The police is scared. Shit, I'm scared. And, no, I don't like what they did in Philly, but I can understand how they would be nervous as hell. You would too if you wer a police officer and you heard that a robbery had occurred and a guy was involved. Shit, they wouldn't have to say a gun was involved. You would assume it to save your life!..."

"MacDaddy. MacDaddy. I hear you," he said in a very even voice. "The thing is- they just stopped me. Okay, I was speeding. But they treated me like I was-- I don't know-- like a common criminal or something. It was two of them. One came on my side. But the other one came around the passenger way. They didn't call me nigger or hit me or anything. But the guy on the passenger side never took his hand off the gun..."

"Reggie. Reggie." I was speaking evenly now. "You know what I think? I think...that, like you, they were just trying to get home safely."

Deep breath.

After agreeing to meet for coffee on Sunday, he took another deep breath and said:

"God, I hate this shit."
"Me too."


Life Begins at a Hundred said...

MacDaddy, I know the police have a tough job, and I wouldn't want to be one.

But here's the question: Should police, to even the odds, act as bad as, or worse than, the felons?

In other words, is it okay for the police to break the law in order to preserve the law?

Just as we expect all professionals to acquit themselves in a professional manner, shouldn't we train, and continue to train, police officers to do the same?

I'm not sure what's in place now to help police officers maintain a modicum of sanity in their insane world, but, at the very least, periodic psychological evaluation should be mandatory.

I believe that our military personnel, many who operate under harsher conditions, behave themselves more honorably than a similar number of police officer.

Maybe I'm being too critical, but I would have to be under the direst of straits to call the police to my defense. You see, I'm more often afraid of them than I am the perps.

I have seen their heavy hand in what has been the mildest and least threatening of situations.

MountainLaurel said...

Me three.

SagaciousHillbilly said...

I always try and do "root cause" analysis on problems. . . yea, I know it sounds corporate and I hate "corporate," but it works.
The root problem with police forces in Amurkkka is that there is a thug culture. You've got thugs hiring thugs to do a job. The job of being a police officer should entail really good social skills and the instintual ability to analyze situations and read people. This isn't brain surgery, but it does require a certain level of intellect, skill and education. Cops are pretty much chosen by how large they are and sometimes, if they can pass a general knowledge test.
We have to get past this thug mentality. It will take a rethinking and a restructuring of the cop zone. It will take new people with the skills and intellect to come in and establish a whole new culture and mentality. It will require patience and the willingness on the part of the people to try new things and compromise.
Unfortunately, patience and willingness for change is not part of the Amurkkkan scene.

MacDaddy said...

Life: No, I don't believe the police should act as bad as felons. Then they become no better than the felons. But I do agree that more should be done to help police to deal with the stress involved in their work. For example, rotating officers so that officers don't stay in one bad neighborhood for too long a period of time. I think it skews their thinking.

And, yes, people involved on front lines in places like Afghanistan and Iraq have it tougher. And it shows not only in the increase of soldiers with PTSD, but in other areas such as divorce and even rapes in the military itself. But that doesn't take away from the fact that police need better training. Part of that training needs to involve how to work with people in high-crime communities. And, actually, many police officials know how to do this and want to do it, but low city and country budgets make it tougher for them to implement these types of programs. We'll have to keep talking about this one. Thanks.

MacDaddy said...

Mountain: Can you elaborate?

MacDaddy said...

sagacious: You say part of the solution is to get rid of the thug mentality in the police force. I agree. As you know, the old guard officers are so entrenched, so wed to the old way of doing this, that it will make it very difficult. But I think it can be done. Here in Minneapolis, we had a police chief named McManus who actually started to do this. But he started to get popular with the citizens, including citizens of color, and certain people in the mayor's office and on the city council began to see him as a threat. So he left. He's the police chief of San Antonio now; and I hear he's doing a good job.

Nuninthehood said...

Dear macDaddy,
Yesterday morning there was a man, who happened to be African American, down at the end of our block acting CRAZY...I mean really crazy....We were concerned that he might hurt himself or others, so we called 911....When the two cops arrived they got out of their car and went over and talked to the man. They treated him with the greatest respect, VERY GENTLY AND RESPECTFULLY.....They took him to a safe place where he could get the help he needed.....I fully agree that there are racist cops....just like there are abusive priests, etc....Stereoptying is dangerous though; when we treat others as non-persons we dismiss a whole group of folks....I agree that the police have earned the racisit stereoptye, but let's not condemn the whole force.....My nephew is a cop and has a special affinity for mentally ill people who are out on the streets. He's done good work with them. I pray that we can heal the inhumanity of the police to our African American Brothers and Sisters, and as a white person, I ask forgiveness of 'LIFE BEGINS...' You sound like a really special person....I hope you keep talking with Mac Daddy....sounds like he understands....

Kellybelle said...

I hear you! Thanks for pointing out how torn these incidents make us feel.

MacDaddy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
MacDaddy said...

nuninthehood: It couldn't have been stated better. I appreciate your compassion.

Kellybelle: Welcome. I read with interest your comments all the time on the field negro's blog. Do you have a blog?...Stay in touch.

May 8, 2008 2:05 PM