I’m not a police officer. I do not know what it means to have to draw your gun in a life or death situation. I have seen random civilians take the test that assesses a police officer’s reaction time and good judgment in a life threatening situation, and most civilians fail miserably. Some have shot the little cardboard printout of a little girl holding her books. That type of drama and violence I don’t need in my life. Police officers have pledged their lives in support of protecting ours, and at times they have failed miserably. I can name those times, better yet, I can name the titles of those times like chapters in a book. I can start with chapter one which would probably be named “Rodney King” though I know the prologue of this book would be full of other potential titles of book chapters. Chapters named for Sandra Bland, Korryn Gaines, Tamir Rice, Oscar Grant are inevitable in this book. But, this isn’t a book that I wanted to talk about. No, I want to expose something else—the hypocrisy of police privilege.
In 2007, I was in a bad place in my life. I had been fired from a job that I didn’t like, but that I needed and my unemployment benefits were close to running out. Months before I filled out a job application online to work as a teacher with the Los Angeles Unified School District and had yet to hear from them. That’s when I decided to become a police officer. The only two things I was worried about were the physical exams and the background check into my credit history. Two knee surgeries made running two miles in ten minutes hard and student loans and credit debt from my younger years made my credit score as low as Usain Bolt’s one hundred-meter time. I still tried it anyway and made it through the first part which is the written exam. The day before my first batch of interviews for Los Angeles Police Department, I get a call from LAUSD for an interview. I canceled my interviews with LAPD and never looked back. I was prepared though. I had spoken with my family about what I was prepared to do. I also spoke to a good family friend who had been a police officer for over twenty years and he gave me the gist of what I needed to do to get in. I’m glad I made a decision to teach. It seems to me to be a more selfless act than what the police do, especially as of late.
The big buzz right now is Colin Kaepernick and his stance against the police brutality visited on blacks and all people of color in this country. A stance that is unpopular in the world of fanatic patriotism and racial discrimination. I’m glad he has taken this stance and wish that more high-profile athletes would stand together on this issue much like the women in the WNBA did this past summer. Their move was inspiring, and I personally like to think of this as the catalyst that motivated Colin to take such a stand. The bigger and even scarier side of this is the response of the Santa Clara Police Department. Their refusal to work 49er games as long as Colin continues his protest is absolutely absurd and should be demeaned for what it is—a selfish attempt to continue their unfettered desire to kill black people and people of color without reprisal or condemnation. This isn’t the first time this has happened. When players from the Cleveland Browns decided to wear t-shirts that supported Black Lives Matter, officers stated that they would ban the Browns games. How many police unions threatened not to work the WNBA games this summer? Who could forget Pittsburgh and Tampa Bay police refusing to work Beyonce’s concert because of her “anti-police” rhetoric? It seems to me that the police are like that kid on the basketball court that gets his shot blocked one time, and then wants to take his ball and go home because everyone else isn’t “playing fair.” Go wipe yourself, your privilege is showing.
I wasn’t prompted to write this based on the transgressions of the police; actually, quite the opposite. It was a picture. One picture. One old black and white picture of black nurses and black doctors at a hospital tending to a white supremacist still wearing his KKK attire while on a gurney bleeding. The doctors and nurses seemed to be working frantically, as most of their images were blurred from moving so fast, to help this man who would rather spit on them than to say anything cordial. I can only guess and say that the picture was probably from the 1950s when hospitals were still segregated. When white hospitals would still refuse services to Negro patients of which the NAACP ended up stepping in to file a complaint against the United States for such treatment. There are probably a thousand more stories of how black doctors and nurses have had to bite their tongue and their pride to administer aid to those individuals that on any given day, would probably take their life; or at the very least, hurl racial slurs at them if they saw them on the street. Those doctors and nurses didn’t do that though. They took an oath to do no harm, much like how police officers take the Law Enforcement Oath of Honor. So I ask, how is refusing to work games indicative of the oath of honor that is taken? More importantly, if a doctor refused to service a patient based on his stance politically, wouldn’t he lose his license to practice medicine? How are police officers able to dictate WHEN and HOW they are to live up to their oaths? Is the oath more like a guideline and not code? The world seems to tremble at the very idea of police refusing to do their jobs, and if this is NOT an indication that we live in a police-state, I don’t know what is. Officers nowadays seemed to be whiny, racist, toddlers that throw a temper tantrum whenever you point out that they were wrong. Somebody has to point out that they are wrong because it definitely seems like they can’t do it themselves.
So what is it going to be? Are you going to take your ball and go home or are you going to weather the storm and do better by the folks that pay your salaries? I’m kind of hoping you go home, maybe the basketball court will be much safer, plus, I’ve got my own ball.