When I was 18 years old I got pulled over by a white police officer in my hometown of Plant City, Florida. It was early in the morning, and I was on my way to high school to finish International Baccalaureate senior exams at Hillsborough High. The officer gave me a citation because of a dim headlight. At the time I didn’t think much of it except for being afraid that it was something more serious like speeding or something with the registration, but over time when I heard of similar instances from other black men in particular I wondered if there was something more. I’ve had very few run in with law enforcement thankfully, but as a black man I have to say that I live with a perpetual fear of cops.
Law enforcement appears to me to be a only lightly regulated paramilitary force in this country who would prefer to not be subject to any review at all, as any organization would I believe. This belief is most likely an exaggeration I know, however when I see videos like the one from the North Charleston last week I wonder.
America clearly has a race problem that most whites don’t want to confront. No majority enjoys having their negative behavior reviewed. However, as the nation changes – and as majorities change with it – a reckoning with the racist past of this country must eventually take place.