Mrs. X Speaks Part 2

How do you see the police interacting with kids at school?                                                       I’ve seen the police harass the young boys at the high school. Line them up like cattle, for lack of a better word, along the fence after school. I don’t know why they were doing this, but I didn’t like it. I think that there are rules that need to be followed in the school. Students must dress appropriately and act respectful, but I also think there should at least be a rule that police should have Tasers and not guns in school. Getting guns out of schools, no matter who carries them, is the most basic thing we can do to ensure safety of our kids and improve student-police relationships. We are supposed to be so evolved, but we can’t figure out how not to kill one another? I don’t see the point of a cop being at the school if they’d don’t develop a relationship with the students. They are supposed to be there to protect. If a police officer is standing there giving the impression that they don’t give a damn, the kids are not going to give a damn either.   The cops see the some of the kids as the enemy.   And that’s what they want, because if they wanted it any differently than they would say “hello” to the students as they passed, and treat them as human beings not that “you don’t matter and I’m superior” attitude. The police in schools need the mindset that “I am here. I care about you. I am here to protect you, because I have kids and they are just like you.”

What do you think the relationship between your neighborhood, and the Police?                                                                                                                                                      I don’t think they really don’t give a damn. There isn’t much to say. My block is like a trip to the pizza place: “Let’s go down and pick a couple of them up (or not)! Let’s see how many black men we find talking to a white women. Pluck them up and arrest them because our numbers are down! Or let’s go harass some guys.” I don’t know what 20 cops are needed for 1 person! I can’t figure it out, but I see it all the time.

What needs to change?                                                                                                                         I think that we are between a rock and a hard place with the police department. They need to stop things like Bar Crawls for sure.   If this is going to be a college town kids need to be taught how to be citizens and that doesn’t mean walking around and yelling at all hours. Just because letting the college kids run wild brings more students here and it makes some pockets fatter, doesn’t make it right. The city tries to advertise itself by saying “This is a college town; this is a fun place to be! Go out drink and make all the noise you want! It’s all ok…” as long as you are the right color.

What kinds of disparities have you seen in how the police handle different people?                 I saw a black guy get arrested for public intoxication, where just across the street some white kids were yelling and carrying on. The young college guys were doing the same thing the black guy was doing, but they had five cops on that one black guy and none on the other side of the street. Why pick the black guy up and leave the white and Asian college students alone? They were doing the same thing! I know that police have a hard job. But it’s not right when police officers put their humanity on a shelf when they pick up that gun, because if we keep going this way we are going to destroy this community. As a woman I am just as scared of the young black man walking down the street acting crazy, as a white guy doing the same thing. But here it seems like the white guy is not punished the same way the black person is. It’s scary and sad. The black guy gets stopped every time, the white guy, not so much.

How have you dealt with racism in the community?                                                                          First of all, many people don’t know that they are racist or acting racist. A friend of mine said to me “You are such a cool black person” and I said to her “Do you know how prejudice that sounds? You’re a great honky too!” And then she realized: “Oh, you are right that was ugly.” But she didn’t understand. You can’t be mad at someone for not knowing, but after they do know people need to recognize that black people are just people. I don’t think Barack Obama does everything right just because he’s black. I have to live in this world just like you. I think there should be some fairness. Yeah, I think affirmative action was and is necessary. Black people couldn’t go to school for a few hundred years! Does that make me prejudiced? I don’t think so. I got spit on going to school, because I grew up in a white town.   Every other day I was called racist names. We need to start taking care of each other. If there are kids in trouble it doesn’t matter what color they are, we must take care of them.

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