I genuinely feel bad for police officers right now. Genuinely.
My name is Chanelle. I’m the creator of Maturing Mama. I am an Afri-Carribean (A.K.A. Black). I am married to a Caucasian man and we have two little girls who are half white and half black.
My husband has expressed something not a lot of people talk about or know about. This is known as “white guilt”. My husband said that he constantly feels the need to be blatantly kind to those that are non-white. He understands that he is perceived as a priviledged white man.
One day someone said something to him that made me angry. Someone said, “there is no such thing as white racism”. As the wife of a Caucasian, I know for a fact there is racism toward white people. In fact I’ve been racist toward white people! As the primary race that is often victimized, it’s made it very easy to show acts of racism toward Caucasians.
For example, I was on my way to pick up my daughter from school. I walked by a van that looked like your average family minivan. But out came a Caucasian man in a police uniform. I grew tense. I was the only black person on the side walk. I was the only black parent on my way to pick up my daughter.
My daughter was the only student of black race. This police officer walked ahead of me and I was surprised to follow him all the way to the front doors of my daughter’s school. I was terrified. And I hated it.
I thought to myself, how do I even respond? How do I even act naturally? The parents surrounding us who also waited to pick up their kids were all Non-Blacks and I could feel them all giving side glances at this police officer and then at me.
Some even glanced at me with an awkward smile before quickly looking away. I couldn’t help but keep my eye on this guy. As if to show him, “I know what your kind have done”. Or maybe, “I’m not afraid of you!”
Truth be told if he was a police officer of any other race, I might not have been so defensive. Yet I have no idea if it is primarily Caucasian police officers unjustly hurting Blacks. There is likely some other races mixed in there.
Anyway, this guy picks up his kid from school and is on his way. And I felt guilty. Like, why am I so quick to believe the worst about this guy based on what others of his race and profession have done to those of my race?
On my way home I passed by his van as he got his kid buckled in and I had to do it. I had to say, “Don’t worry, I feel safe around you”.
And that sparked a friendly conversation with a very kind Caucasian police officer. He admitted he felt so uncomfortable picking up his kid from school in his uniform. But unfortunately his wife had an emergency and he was the only that could do it on short notice.
Truly this man and I are one in the same. I am poorly represented by those that carry the same race as me. There’s so many portrayals of us on the media and by those of black race themselves, supporting drugs, violence and gang involvement. It’s so unfortunate because I literally have to dress myself in the morning taking special care to not look like I’m involved in or support any type of crime. Currently I have a pretty awesome geek chic look going that I’m very proud of.
But I can’t tell you for sure that this friendly father has an easy time when walking by pedestrians on the street. Especially when in uniform. It’s just as unfortunate as it is for those that look like me.
Just as I’d hope to not have anyone misjudge me based on the wrong others of my skin color have done. I hope no one will judge police officers for the wrong others that share the same profession have done. It’s time to make a change on both sides of the spectrum.