Cocktails and Conversation

In a conversation with a friend regarding Richard Sherman’s comments about the merits of the Blacklivesmatter Movement it amazed me how stark the difference can be depending on your perspective and your belief regarding Power and who has it.  I mentioned to my friend that I found nothing wrong with Richard Sherman’s comments, nor did I see where it took the focus off the issue of police brutality.  However, it did put the issue of Black on Black crime and how we as a community address it or not.

First and foremost allow me to say that I am well aware of the fact that people kill who they have proximity to therefore, not only do blacks kill blacks more often than anyone else, whites kill whites just as much.  Matter of fact according to the Department of Justice, 84% of whites who are killed in this country are killed by someone who looks just like them.  That being said the backlash Richard Sherman received was indicative of the level of sensitivity we as a community have when someone from within floats commentary that seemingly goes against the collective mindset.

I went on to suggest to him that while I am personally, emotionally and spiritually sensitive to the lives that are lost at the hands of law enforcement I am even more impacted at the lives that are lost on the blocks and in the hoods at the hands of people who look just like me.  I went on to explain that I feel this way because it is on those same blocks and in those same neighborhoods I see the greatest reflection of my own story both good and bad.

Therefore, it is my opinion that there is a greater accountability there because when you see me you should be seeing a reflection of yourself.  Yet daily many young black and brown men die on the corners and streets across this country and no one marches, no one protest and in many cases vows of not to snitch are taken and as I argued to him the pain is just as real.

A family’s pain is no less painful when their son or daughter dies at the hands of Officer Friendly or at the hands of De Bo.  My friend disagreed in terms of his belief that we have learned to live with one while the other is completely unacceptable.  One is an outcome of structural racism and the other is because of a learned behavior regarding self.

My friend’s position rested in the Power and Responsibility law enforcement has versus everyone else.  While I tend to agree I also know that Power by in large rest in Perception and having Responsibility does not automatically make you Competent to have any of the aforementioned.  I did suggest to him that what the Blacklivesmatter Movement has done through the aid of technology is galvanized people around the ghost in the machine relative to police behavior in communities of color and how that behavior can and has led to death for many people of color at the slightest provocation or lack thereof.

I further suggested to him that police behavior or lack thereof in communities of color is about Power and the ability to enforce that Power simply because of who and what they represent, sorta like the Overseer on a plantation. Matter of opinion I think we give away our God given Power way to often to our very own detriment and that act of surrender leaves communities of color vulnerable to many things including the bullet, the Bible and the ballot.  However, I personally refuse to acquiesce my own personal Power to the Power of anyone simple because they have a badge, Bible or anything else so I guess I will simply die with my Chuck Taylor’s on and a clean consciousness.

That’s my truth and I AM sticking to it…


Dr. Irvin PeDro Cohen

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