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Posts Tagged ‘Chicago policeman’

For what shall it profit a man or a woman, if we shall gain the whole world and lose the truth (Mark 8:36, restated)?

My apologies for daring to paraphrase Jesus in the above Scripture; yet, I don’t think my Jesus would mind given that the truth is our soul’s natural domain. In fact, it has been my spiritual experience that the Truth and God are synonymous.

Sadly, at this time in our public discourse, the truth seems nearly abandoned in favor of winning the debate du jour whether political, judicial or otherwise. Thus, it seems our modern culture has become so caught up in winning the argument that we have lost sight of the truth, which should be the main objective in any key debate.

Yet, there was a time in advanced societies where a consensus, based on the truth, was valued far above winning the argument, particularly in crucial matters. Hence, there is your side, my side and then there is the truth! Of course, in seeking the truth one must first be truthful.

Walking While Black

Today, I hope and pray, along with most everyone that justice will soon be served regarding Trayvon Martin, an unarmed youth who was tragically shot in the heart while walking home from the local store, and George Zimmerman, the man who admittedly shot and killed him. As this tragic event continues to unfold, I can’t help but reflect on my own experiences as a youth walking while black, a spinoff of driving while black; an acerbic metaphor, coined by my people that aptly characterizes the insanity of racial profiling.

Two of such events come to mind. Actually, my first story is not a classic tale of racial profiling per se, yet it is relevant to our story.

First Story

I was about six then and living with our parents on the historic Southside of Chicago, a few blocks from Cottage Grove Boulevard. In those days children generally walked to school, usually with an older sibling, which, to most parents, seemed not that scary then. As for this spindly-leg kid, I was okay as long as I did not have to pass a sleeping drunk near the corner bar. Seems Chicago had a bar on every corner back then. Usually harmless yet scary nonetheless, I clearly remember my sister and me routinely crisscrossing the street to avoid the corner bar and any comatose drunk that might be there. Finally, we reach the intersection, alive with moving cars and my special friend. Though much too young to understand the blessings a true friend always brings, I am relieved nonetheless.

As soon as I clear the corner and as sure as the rising sun he would be there busy blowing his whistle, and with one sweep of his mighty hand making everything either stop or go at his command. Little did I suspect that my first love, beside my father, would be one of Chicago’s finest, a police officer committed to “protect and serve”. For some reason he truly liked me though, much to my chagrin, his way of showing it would surly embarrass me every time.

Whether I was out front or hidden behind a throng of other people waiting to cross the busy intersection, he would spot me immediately, hold up his hand, blow his whistle, stop everything it seemed, and say more than once in the loudest yet richest voice ever: “Hey, there is my girlfriend”. Then, he would beckon his hand for me to cross while smiling the warmest smile ever. Boy, was I embarrassed but happy just the same. I can still see his brilliant smile, his very handsome brown-skinned face, and remember the quality of his resonant voice. I would recall these amazing moments many times and be glad.

Second Story

My second story of walking while back is a classic example of racial profiling in my opinion. Barley a teenager, I was in Jr. High (middle school) and pretty much a well-adjusted kid. By then we had moved to a small town outside of Chicago. While ours was a middle class, multicultural neighborhood, each group generally kept to themselves. So we socialized with our own having several African American churches and small business that sustained our community. Our family was below the poverty line but we never knew it, thus we were okay.

One day, my girlfriend and I decide to visit one of our teachers. The thing is, our teacher lived in the “white folks’ neighborhood”! Though not exactly restricted to us, particularly since our school was in the same neighborhood, still we had not a clue about de facto segregation or the white folk’s unnatural fear of us. Much too young to know of the insanity of racism, we called it the white folk’s neighborhood simply because most of them lived there. Hello!

And so with the purest of intentions, we venture into a collective mindset and ultimately cause quite a stir. After all, it was a Saturday and we were not supposed to be there, at least according to their prejudiced mindset. As we went about walking and laughing while enjoying the trees and such, always a lover of nature, soon the vibration changes. Though I had no language for it then, I did have my instincts. So I look up and spot curtains being slightly pulled apart and see a woman trying to see us without being seen, as I vividly recall.

Soon, our instincts kick in and we decide to leave. But not soon enough! A police car appears and the police officer politely makes his usual inquires, though hardly warm and fuzzy like my brown-skin, Chicago police officer. We tell him we are looking for our teacher but not sure of the address. Given this being a most unpleasant memory, I am not sure of what happened next. Seems he tried calling our teacher but not sure. Eventually the police officer takes us back to our community, drops us off and leaves. Though still very young, we are very embarrassed by the entire event and try to laugh it off. So we giggled and laughed a good while, much like the silly school girls we were, and moved on.

In retrospect, the embarrassment we both shared was not so much from a sense of guilt as we did nothing wrong, but rather from an embarrassment of being so naive as to think our teacher actually liked us and would invite us for tea much like the women at our church (still remember those great tea cakes).

The Insanity of Fear

Compared to the Trayvon Martin and George Zimmerman tragedy, the similarities in the above stories are stunning while the contrasts are sublime.

Above all, my first story is one of respect and love for humanity which illustrates the way in which we are to care for our fellow human beings from the smallest to the greatest.

While the second story is one of fear, which engenders hate not love. Sadly, most hate driven-people live in fear and are haunted by it, which can drive one mad if left untreated. Thus such victims of their own insanity seek to target and blame others often ending in tragedy.

The woman behind the curtain in my second story had a choice, either to choose love or fear. Had she chosen love she would have approached us and started the right conversation, which would have alleviated her uneasiness and the need for calling the police.

But she didn’t. Having chosen fear instead she wanted her targets of hate and resentfulness out of her community.

Thus, the real issue is one of fear and resentment not suspicion which, of course, is no defense for stalking and ultimate murder.

As the George Zimmerman trial is still ongoing, we watch and listen. Meanwhile, Justice is waiting in the wings.

© 2012-2013 by Delores L Adams and The Aunt Jemimah Post. All rights reserved.

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