LAPD Motto

Ask yourself this "should I be afraid of the world that I live in today?" After posing this question, you may wonder what exactly you should be afraid of. Gangs? Drug dealers? Criminals? Monsters? I have another question for you, "What are we suppose to do about these types of people?" You're probably reassuring yourself that we have people to take care of these criminals, like the police department. However, what we see on the news tells a different story. 

As an African American man, I deal with problems that some individuals may never experience in a lifetime. Hate crimes, gang violence, racism, discrimination, and being marginalized because of the color of my skin. We are suppose to live in a world where we feel protected by the police in the neighborhood that we live in, but unfortunately I see African Americans and other people of color as targets for the police to bring down. Do you really think people say "F*** the cops" just to be ignorant? Recent stories that have been spreading like wildfire were the deaths of Mike Brown and Eric Garner. Mike Brown, a young African American with no weapon and his hands in the air symbolizing "surrender" was gunned down by a police officer.  Eric Garner, who was approached by NYPD officers on suspicion of selling single cigarettes without tax stamps, had his life tragically cut short by cops putting him in a chokehold while his last words were "I can't breathe." Hearing these stories brought chills because I could picture myself in that situation.

"To Protect and Serve" is the LAPD motto and has been adopted by many police departments throughout the country. But do the police really protect and serve? A 2009 survey by Pew Social Demographic Trends found that blacks had far less confidence than whites in their local police in a number of areas, including their treatment of racial groups. According to another study down by Pew 81% of African Americans said "our country needs to continue making changes to give blacks equal rights with whites." African Americans also believed that news coverage of blacks is too negative. There are substantial differences in the confidence that African Americans and whites have in their local police officers. Young adults under the age of 50, and especially those under 30, are more critical of the performance of police departments nationwide than are Americans 50 and older.  

Explain to me how most cases like this the cop gets a slap on the wrist without any consequences, and it's definitely not a coincidence. People are making it seem like this is some new trend of cops killing innocent bystanders who happen to be African American. This has been going on for decades but it  has been hiding in the closet because the police department can cover it up quickly. This goes back to the time African Americans had fought for equality in America while others liked it just the way it was. We are slowly making progress but watching the news lately got me thinking "why?" Just why does this happen to us? Of course, it makes me mad. We see these people getting killed by the police as one of our own, somebody that is close to us, a member of the black community. We all want to stand tall together but it seems like we are slowly we are getting killed one by one. Of course, I'm scared for my own life living in Downtown Los Angeles because of how the police patrol every corner looking for gangs and drugs. I'm scared getting pulled over because of the color of my skin, ending up somewhere at the wrong time because of how I look, or getting shot by a police officer because of how my hands are in my pockets. Unfortunately racism still exists. If you believe that the world you live in is free of racial bias, think again because we live in a big world that you have only seen a tiny bit of it.

St. Louis Police Brutality by Latuff

Some may think that I'm exaggerating about the police, but if you were to see things through my eyes, the lens of a young black man, you would have a different perspective on things. I see the way cops look at my friends and me as they drive by when we're just playing basketball in a park. I see cops run up on kids walking down the street patting them down just to see if they are holding any weapons when they clearly just came out of school. I still don’t understand why situations like these happen, so I had a talk with my dad, who happens to be an ex-cop. I simply asked him why cases like Eric Gardner and Mike Brown happen all too frequently and he simply answered “history.” He told me that there are different reasons why a certain cop does what he does and sometimes it doesn't even have to deal with racism, but he is very disgusted on how he was a part of the police because of the things that were covered up. He points out that not all cops are bad but he doesn't see a lot of improvement happening in the world. He thinks it's too big of a problem to get solved because some people are just ignorant and in denial. My dad has been through a lot raised in Brooklyn, New York where there was a lot of crime and I'm not surprised by his answers.

I respect his opinion on his reasoning why he doesn't see a change, but I disagree because my motto in life is "It's always possible."  I respect people like my dad who know what's right and what’s wrong. It's sad that some of them are in the occupation for the wrong reasons. Change comes in time, but it depends on us if we want to do something about it. So I want you to ask yourself if it's possible to be equal with cops? Is it possible that cops can stop taking advantage of their authority? Can all cops live by the motto "Protect and serve?" There are so many questions that need answers. We all have to stand up together and fight for what is right.  I truly believe that we can achieve peace, all I need from you to help improve this world is your participation in respecting others.


 - Bernard -


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