Please Make it Home Safe
Listeners of my Focused Radio Show, Modern Renaissance, know I often speak of current events within our culture. As a young African American male, I identify with the rebellious spirit of my peers. The same spirit that revolted in Missouri after Mike Brown, Baltimore in reemergence of Freddie Gray, and other movements that express the frustrations of oppression. Tension between law enforcement and racial minority groups are at an all time high. After a decade of highly publicized abuse, murder, and mistreatment, many ethnic millennials share a sentiment of opposition toward jurisdictions of law enforcement. A collective voice reminiscent of the late 80’s, early 90’s, following NWA’s infamous “F The Police” in 1988 and The Rodney King verdict in 1992. Undoubtedly, law enforcement officers around the country feel the temperature rising as well. The elephant in the room is roaring loud, resulting in more volatile encounters during routine traffic stops. Lives are being lost on both sides, while more families mourn weekly.
In early August, I performed a broadcast of the Modern Renaissance Show where I apologized to listeners for being late after being pulled over by a police officer for an outdated inspection, which I was unaware, and failure to wear a seatbelt. I testified to feeling anxious as the red lights flashed behind. A feeling that listeners responded they too feel during traffic stops. However, my encounter with this officer was relatively peaceful. The officer approached the car with his hand on his weapon, as they often do, but quickly told me the reason for the stop after noticing the concern and worry expressed on my face. After the officer wrote me two tickets, he expressed how I could get one dropped and we engaged in a brief conversation about police relations with the community. I spoke from a perspective of police abusing their badge and authority. The officer responded by referencing his countless encounters with unprovoked hostility from citizens who are stopped for breaking the law. One thing we could agree on was the senselessness of the violence between our two cultures.
As the conversation came to a close, I realized, the common denominator in officer related fatalities is our adulterated egos. Officers feel empowered, African Americans feel targeted, and everyone would rather be right instead of righteous. Often ignited by aggressiveness from one party, the other responds with pride, refusing to back down. As prideful as I advocate for us to be for our cul18 The Focus www.thefocusmag.com ture and community, I would love to see more of us make it home. Even when encountered by aggressive police I hope these words sound in the mind of my conscious and frustrated peers; Please make it home safe. That’s all I ask. Let us take just as much pride in making it home to our families as we do to standing up for injustices. #ImUpNow