An incident between the police and kids at a pool party in Texas recently is going to spark another debate about authorities and the Black community. As part of the ongoing Best Interest Initiative of this blog, I write this post with the freedom and law section in mind.
At first glance, it appears that kids were having a pool party and likely over-invited too many friends. The police might have been called after a fight. To me, the neighbors called the police when so many dark faces showed up in their enclave. Those who grew up Black in the American South were constantly mindful of risk from being us down here. Kids today seem to think racism and bigotry are over in part because we reach the point of having a Black president. But, if you asked President Obama if racism was over, he would smile that smile that really says “Negro, please…if you knew half of the ugliness I face for having a brown face.”
So, there might have been too many kids in the area at the pool party and the police decided to take control of the situation. Of course, I think they would have been smoother if all the kids were White and to be fair I think kids (Black and White) in groups can have smart mouths around their friends….we were the same way at times back in the day.
If I had a son at that party and the police said go home, he needs to start home and call me if he feels his rights were being violated. I have respect for parents who would say their child doesn’t need to follow a police command that seems unfair or unlawful. I wanted my Black child to come home every night. I don’t want him or her in the morgue, the jail or the hospital. If that requires flexing your rights on some level, we will take that up with our attorney. The ensuing lawsuit might pay for your college education.
As a side note, I am watching a long interview with Minister Louis Farrakhan in which he said that former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani wasn’t wrong in stating that 93% of Blacks are killing by other Blacks and that 75% of crime in New York City takes place in Black areas. Of course, the minister and mayor disagree on the root causes of those problems but there are Black people who wonder why there is such uproar when the police kill someone while we kill each other in the same area all the time for silly reasons. Yea, but the police still should know better.
At the Texas pool party, a policeman was using really inappropriate language when the confused kids didn’t move fast enough for him. He later put a girl in a swimsuit on the ground in such a violent manner that most fathers would have pulled up swinging on him. The police ended up pulling this firearm on the upset crowd.
Both sides of the incident will come out this week but kids need to know when to dial down or defuse situation when dealing with authority. When I was in junior high school, our band director was Mr. Jesse Walker, a brilliant man of music. At the time I didn’t know that Mr. Walker was teaching life lessons as well as music. He was a Black man preparing the Black kids for life in a White world and preparing White students to acknowledge a cool relationship with someone from a different part of time.
Well, I got too much of that life stuff at home and I was simply there to play trumpet. But, Mr. Walker, a military veteran, knew it wasn’t about the destination as much as the journey. We were taking yearbook photos in uniform after school one day and all the Black guys changed gear in one classroom. At band practice the next day, Eric informed Mr. Walker that his watch was misplaced and asked that the band keep an eye out for it—he never said anything about stealing. Mr. Walker said something about stealing being wrong and said he wanted everyone who was in that room to stand up. I will never forget that he then said “Band, you are looking at thieves.” Say, what? He was talking about future advance degree holders, military leaders and a couple millionaires (I wish I was one of those.)
At the second he said thieves, I sat down because I was certainly wasn’t a thief and knew those other fellows weren’t. Eric had a look of disbelief because he never wanted to put us in that situation. The real issue here was authority and Mr. Walker needed us to respect authority but I wasn’t hearing that. Today, I know that authority needs to be respect at the point of conflict and the incident can be taken up with a higher authority later—when cooler heads prevail.
Of course, my school teacher daddy was doing the same kinds of things in the agriculture building than Mr. Walker was doing at the band building. To me, both of them were wrong. Mr. Walker told me to stand up and I said I wasn’t standing up if those standing were thieves. He took me into a back room and paddled but I refused to stand. I got my stuff and walked out of that place crying but my dignity was intact.
I had to hear at home that Mr. Walker knew what he was doing and that countless kids had learned so much from being in his band but what he was teaching I didn’t want to know. There is a fine line between tough love and humiliation. Machiavelli and Malcolm X would say that the end justifies the means but no. Eric discovered a hole in his band blazer a few days later; the watch was in the lining of the jacket the whole time. I would return to the band if Mr. Walker apologized to me and the fellows in front of the whole band but that wasn’t happening.
Check this, guys who join the Army Rangers, Navy Seals, attend a service academy like West Point or who pledge a Black frat old school style learn about their personal steel and fortitude. Anything that comes up after that in life is a piece of cake. I would have been a better person if I learned to submit and trust the brethren. I should have gone straight to a black college and join one of the elite Black fraternities as a sophomore. My attempt to join one as a senior didn’t work because I don’t like people barking in my face. I never married for the same reason.
1,000 words later, I end this post by referring to the Best Interest Initiative section on Faith. I wrote there about Romans 13:1 in which Paul wrote about governing authorities. Kids should develop the ability to determine when to confront and when to go home. Senator Robert Kennedy said life isn’t worth living if you don’t have something worth dying for and Farrakhan likes to point out that the Boston Tea Party was a criminal act that led to the founding of this great nation. In the end, pick your battles. Telling the police that they are wrong might get you ended. As we said in the 80s, they will put your head out.
Romans 13, 1-5.
1Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God.2Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. 3For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and you will be commended. 4For the one in authority is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for rulers do not bear the sword for no reason. They are God’s servants, agents of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer. 5Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also as a matter of conscience.