Cops And Robbers 3/30


My 11-year-old brother wants to know why he is not allowed to play with toy guns
Without hesitance I tell him
At 5’1 and well over a hundred pounds
You look like every other “nigga” that some trigger happy cop arrested last night
You are clumsy and react slowly when scared or startled so before you have a chance to say “It’s not real” your bullet riddled body will be losing life inside of a playground
They will not attempt to resuscitate you and will take their time calling an ambulance
Your body may lay open and exposed to the public for well over four hours while your loved ones and friends are threatened a similar future for reacting as naturally expected
Your large youthful eyes will simply seem suspicious to them
The plump of your cheeks will mean nothing to the lies they believe are coming from your mouth
And our mother is not strong enough to handle the pain of burying her only son before he has a chance to become a man
He wants to know why his white friends are allowed to play with toy guns
I tell him there is a profound difference between you and them
It is not that they are smarter or better
You best believe you are their equal and can do just as much if not more
Nothing about this conversation is meant to make you feel less than the young, black, and gifted boy that you are
They are just more often given the benefit of the doubt or at least the opportunity to speak
They are not profiled for driving black
Or guilty because of the color of their skin
You are not allowed to play with toy guns because we haven’t begun to teach you the art of dealing with police
Some form of your innocence we’ve tried to protect
Plus we’ve raised you to be inquisitive and speak your mind when something doesn’t feel right
None of which applies to a black man being accosted by police
Yes, I understand you are not a man but to them you are
There are no such things as African-American boys
At some point you will become another thug
A lookalike suspect
A person of interest resisting arrest
The latest unarmed dead body reaching for a gun
Another news headline quickly wiped into the background
Riots and protests
A name on a “Justice For” poster
Shaking heads and tear-stained cheeks
Whispers of “that wasn’t right”
You are not allowed to play with toy guns because they are a death sentence for African-American boys

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