When a Punch in the Face Is a Punch in the Gut
The Seattle video brings back memories of black powerlessness in dealing with the police.
I hate feeling powerless, especially to a white man in a blue uniform. So I can only imagine how the black teenage girl in Seattle felt when a white police officer punched her in the face during a routine jaywalking arrest. While the teenager was evidently defiant, aggressive and out of order for pushing the officer, surely a fist to the face wasn't the only way to diffuse the situation. To quote Tupac in Poetic Justice, "She's a female. You can't handle it no f**king better than that?"
Why are police officers given so much power, anyway? Because they successfully completed two years in college, a police training program and a racial sensitivity class? These men and women are regular, flawed human beings like me and you. And the system has handed a loaded weapon to their prejudices, insecurities, fears and misconceptions. And the black community is left for dead on the side of the road, just a few miles from Foothill Freeway in Los Angeles, sodomized with a broom stick in Brooklyn, shot with 41 rounds in the Bronx, and groom-less in Queens.
As a kid, I knew the police did not like me or my neighborhood. It was an "us" vs. "them" situation and by "us" I mean middle-class, working folks, drug dealers, thieves and peddlers all lumped together as one. Officers often belittled neighborhood teens, "Walk faster. Move on, go home," and looked with disdain at even the elderly. Like Kid in House Party, I didn't think it was fair that a cop could ask me where I was going. I hated seeing black men on their knees, hands behind their heads, on the side of the street. I've never driven through a white neighborhood and seen a white man on his knees, scuffing up his khakis. Surely, white men run stop signs, too.