Black Men: ‘I’m Tired of Feeling Like Someone’s Enemy’

After a video of a man being tased by cops is released, The Root writers react and reflect on the dangers for black men in America.

Generic image Thinkstock

Editor’s note: We began this summer with a commemoration of Freedom Summer 50 years after blood was shed on Southern soil to ensure our inalienable right to vote as citizens of these United States. We end this summer with renewed cries for freedom—the freedom to walk our neighborhood streets without dying, the freedom to pick up a toy without getting shot and the freedom to wait for our children after school, as Chris Lollie was attempting to do, without getting tased by police.

Terron Moore, The Root’s Social Media Editor

What’s most telling to me in this video aren’t the moments where an innocent man is defending his own innocence for no reason, as his screams for help seemingly go unanswered while his children look on. That cuts deep, but I took note of the brief moments where this unarmed man makes what would become one of his last attempts to state his case.

“You’re gonna go to jail.”

“I’m not doing anything wrong.”

And moments later:

“Come on, brother.”

“I’m not here to argue. I’m not your brother.”

The female officer in this video—doing her job as sternly as she could—still seemed as if she didn’t want the situation escalated any further. The male officer, however, asserted his aggression from the moment he enters the picture—and in his refusal to listen lies the real problem. It’s all in the officer’s attitude—that “I’m not your brother”—which shows that regardless of the fact that Chris Lollie was a hardworking, harmless family man, he had Lollie marked as an enemy.

I’m so tired of feeling like someone’s enemy wherever I go. I’m exhausted as a young black man being perpetually confused about how to simply exist without antagonizing a cop or terrifying a white person. The man in this video did not have to be attacked, just as I believe Michael Brown or Eric Garner or Trayvon Martin did not have to die. After August, it’s never been more real to me that one day I may have to defend my life because someone sees me as the wrong shade of black. And that’s beyond terrifying.