Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Past Demons Part I

I have encountered many personal situations that reflect on my own life involving a continuous fight for Civil Rights. Stereotypes are something that plagues our society in the decisions we make regarding another race. In my life, stereotypes created controversy, adversities, and hate. When I was eleven years old, my friends and I decided to into the park that surrounded our neighborhood of houses and play on the monkey bars. At the same time, a few cop cars were prowling the neighborhood in search for three children that were believed to be carrying weapons on them. My two friends and I, all black, became victims to the stereotypes of our culture. While the majority of the people who lived in our neighborhood were black, there was also a multitude of other races that occupied the homes. Nevertheless, one of the cop cars stopped in front of the houses that were in front of the monkey bars and on the opposite side of my house. A group of children, multi-racial group, was on the other side of us standing in front of a tree. However, the cops decided to grab my friend as he started to climb the bars and pull him over to the side in order to check him for weapons. I stood there watching, curious and confused as to what was happening during this moment in time. Then, the other cop told my other friend and me to climb down and get on our knees. My mother, who at the time was outside, saw this hellacious act occurring and rushed to our aid. Apparently, the cops were just recently informed that one of the kids had a green shirt on. I, at the time, was wearing a green shirt. However, in the crowd of children by the tree, there stood two kids that were wearing green shirts. The cops checked my friends and I, looked at the other children, and left. My mom, already outraged by this event, questioned the cops as to why they are not checking the other children in the park. One cop responds, “Because all of those kids don’t look suspicious like these three.” One might wonder how I had not forgotten this event, but this was the start of a rude awaking that I began to know as reality. I looked suspicious, is what I thought, but at my current age, I couldn’t understand why? Now, upon reflecting on this occurrence in the past, I tend to question, could this act be racial stereotyping? Meaning, there were three black kids playing in the park, wearing big, baggy clothing.

Thus, while I now understand more about the racism in the United States, particularly in the South and "ghetto" parts of states, such as where I lived in the inner city of Baltimore, Maryland, I always tend to lean forward towards racism. Both cops were white and I black. However, I never forget the fact that sometimes cops look for those who look suspicious and instantly react to situations. Thoughts? Is this situation racist or was this just a natural reaction?


  1. PS, there is another story that happens the following year that is relevant to my case. It involves one of the same cops. Incidentally, he and I cross paths again.

  2. I think that there are definite racial stereotypes involved in this situation. Unfortunately, to change peoeple's mindsets is a challenge that is ongoing today and will continue to be an issue when it comes to race relations as well as general equality. Even if the cops were not intentionally following a stereotype, it may have been so deeply grained into their mentalities that it was almost instinctual or natural to single you and your friends out. This is unfortunate, and it is up to our generation to change these mentalities.