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  • Ne'Miya McKnight

An Inescapable Fear

Updated: Nov 22, 2020

Growing up as an African-American woman and raised in one of the many impoverished neighborhoods of Washington, D.C., I have developed an inescapable fear. This fear restricts my right to live freely. This fear makes me concerned for the safety of both myself and my black family members. This fear is the police.

African-Americans walk through this cruel and wicked world with a blaring target on their back that is attached to the black community at birth. This target labels African-Americans as violent and vicious animals.

This target and the horrific and false labels attached to it enables many police officers to view us as the enemy. In addition, it justifies the intense prejudice that resides within the souls and minds of benighted police officers.

As a matter of fact, the original structure of the American police force had the sole purpose of enforcing the oppression of black people during the era of slavery. The badge that modern cops wear with pride and dignity stems from a badge designed to strip black people of theirs.

So to those whose wonder why many black people fear the police and subconsciously believe that all cops have biased intentions, this is why. Although the American policing system has attempted to shift its purpose from enforcing the oppression of black people to enforcing the safety of all people, society must not deny the fact that there exists modern cops who wear their badge with the intention of continuing the extremely unjust purpose of the original criminal justice system.

Furthermore, being that both good and bad cops wear the same badge, African-Americans have to be extra careful in their encounters with the police. We are not mind-readers. Therefore, we cannot tell the true intentions of police officers.

The great uncertainty of whether or not a police officer cares for your safety just as much as he or she does for your white counterparts, lives within the frightened minds of black people every minute of the day.

Until African-Americans can live without the burden of knowing that such a great uncertainty of life or death exists as their reality, our fear of the police will continue to grow generation by generation.

However, I hope and dream for a time when bearing the responsibility of having to restrict your individual freedom just to ensure that you breathe to live and to see another day will no longer remain a reality for black people in America. Until then, I will continue to live with this overwhelming fear inside of me, as will the rest of the black community.

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