Samuel Jerome and Richnightder

Samuel Jerome and Richnightder
Our boys in Haiti

Friday, September 26, 2014

a life that hung on a trigger

I can't share too much detail, or maybe any at all, but Marc came home the other day with a story to tell.  Our perception of how the incident played out is tainted especially in light of the recent police officer shooting in South Carolina.

Suffice it to say, Marc was on the scene of some search warrants being executed by his agency as well as several other agencies.  He was in his work vehicle which looks like every single other GMC you see on TV shows being driven by a fed.  The next thing he knows he had a large semi automatic weapon pointed at his face.  He identified himself and showed his badge and credentials and the day proceeded as normal.  He could have been killed by friendly fire in the blink of an eye.

We both wonder, without casting any prejudicial thoughts towards the other agent, if the outcome would have been the same had Marc been a black or Hispanic man?  Would they had given Marc the nano second to identify himself and produce his badge?  I am not blaming the other agent for his actions.....I have not nor will I be able to walk in his shoes.....but I do know that I was happy at that moment that Marc knew enough to only respond verbally and not make a movement.  What if Marc had been a black man?  Would he have been given the benefit of the doubt?

I am a mother to 3 young black men.  I worry especially for my 16 year old.  I worry if he wears a hoody into a store.  No one should have that fear.  Sadly it stays in my gut where I tell him to take the hoody off when in a store or in a crowd.  I hate living with doubt that someone will treat my boys fairly.  This should not be a fear of any parent in our country today.

I said something disgusting and vile yesterday.  When Marc told me about his encounter, I said, "Thank God you're white." I meant it!  It may, or may not have been what kept the other agent's finger from pulling the trigger.  I don't know the other agent.  I can't judge him or any prejudice he may have.  All I know is that Marc was at the other end of the gun and his life hung in the balance of his reactions and those of the man with his finger on the trigger.

I hate being afraid for my black boys to be out and about in this world without me, their white mom, there to mitigate any possible problems.  How can I simultaneously teach them to be proud of being themselves while teaching them how to behave if they encounter bigotry or police questioning?  I hate, hate, being afraid for them.