F*** the Police

As I wrote today’s poem, fragments of previous discussions floated through my mind:

“…be still or they’ll beat your ass…”

“sit down and shut up…”

“…shot an unarmed teen…”

“POP”

“…only going to laugh at you…”

“…you can’t win against the police; they protect each other…”

“…was just walking down the street…”

“…driving while black…”

“…walking while black…”

“…breathing while black…”

Memories of these previous conversations that reflect feelings about policing in the black community stirred up softball sized memories of songs I’ve heard before, songs with the message “f*** the police” at their central core.

The first time I heard the line, “f*** the police,” I was a teenager and had not had any encounters with the police. It was just a catchy tune and nice beat, so I danced to it and sang along with the rappers.

Sadly, since then, I’ve had many interactions with the police. I have three memories, in particular, that threaten to color the way I will view the police forever.

No, I haven’t experienced anything on the level with what many believed happened to Mike Brown in Ferguson, MO. Or Eric Garner. Or John Crawford. Or Ezell Ford.

But I do know what it feels like to be stripped of my dignity & humanity by a police officer who deems me something other than who or what I am.

Here are my three incidents:

1. Four white officers pull me over late one night as I’m leaving work. They threaten to whip my ass because I started crying. I was afraid. And that fear was fed with their threats to beat me with their night sticks.

2. Mother’s Day a few years ago, I call the police because my then-husband was fighting me. They told me I was wasting their time and had ruined their Mother’s Day. They were all male officers. And black.

3. A couple of black officers stop me near the University of Memphis, a school where I received two degrees and where my three children currently attend. The officer had no reason to stop me, spent more than 30 minutes trying to come up with a reason to give me a citation (even was down in the back of my car studying my tags). Pissing off the police. I wanted to know what was going on. I foolishly believed I had rights, but they taught me that night, that I have none. And the next day when I spoke with the officers’ superiors and was brushed off, I learned a lesson more valuable than any that I could have learned as a student at the University of Memphis.

I learned that the lesson we teach our children: that they have to be better than people of other races to even be seen as human, that they will automatically be seen as criminals and thugs until they can prove otherwise…well,those lessons amount to nothing. The officers I have come in contact with have taught me that I will never be anything that a low-class nigger with a couple of degrees and that my voice will never carry further than my own house or social circles where we sit around and collectively release a sigh of frustration that we can never be enough or do enough.

Does my black skin

offend you?

Does my nonchalance

incite you &

allow you to draw from

the lies told to you

that black people are

beneath you, even though

you, sir, are black too.

And while I’m here sir

allow me to disabuse you of the

mentality that my black skin

automatically gives you just

cause to harass & abuse me.

 

I’m tired of having to fly

under the radar of your misconceptions

cause you mistakenly believe

I’m guilty…

guilty of living while black,

breathing in my mortality

like carbon monoxide, so yeah

I’m thinking I want to say

“F*** the police.”

This is not a scarlet F

I wear on my chest, I

have no desire to bear responsibility

of the handful of colored people who

know they are free to f*** up daily.

 

I’m tired of accepting

the futility of

struggling to be free

when the overseer has been

replaced by the gun-toting police.

Police who find me guilty

constantly, of driving, living

dreaming, and breathing while black.

That’s why you stopped me

because you were unable to

wrap your mind around the possibility

that I was guilty of …. NOTHING.

Your supervisor gave you a badge &

the responsibility of stripping away

my dignity, layer after layer, until

I’m small enough to cower beneath you.

So, yeah, I think I’m ready to say

“F*** the police.”

But I’ll say it quietly

because next time it could be

me lying dead in the street,

guilty of pissing off the police.

 

Peace & Love,

Rosalind

 

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About Rosalind Guy

I'm broken & my soul is weary/ my weary soul rebels, fights/ anything & anyone who tries to heal me/I beat my head against a wall of memories/ trying hard to break free from the chain of memories/ I can only be free by saying it so/ i weave a necklace from words and finally/ I find freedom/ free free free. As you can see, words are powerful to me. As Maya Angelou said, words are wallpaper of the soul. I have lots of nightmarish memories that threaten to break me, but I learned a long time ago about the power of words. They can be used to heal and destroy anything that threatens to destroy the person. Words coupled with love have the power to save and heal. I am author of three books: Skinny Dipping in the Pool of Womanhood, Tattered Butterfly Wings, and Blues of a Love Junkie. I am a high school English teacher. I am a former reporter. I am a mother. I am a woman. I am a fierce advocate for those who cannot speak for themselves, those who's voices go unheard. Check out my Amazon author page at the following link: http://www.amazon.com/Rosalind-Guy/e/B00BGH5F88/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1432491754&sr=8-1.
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