Now that the footage from Tyre Nichols’ traffic stop has been released, we see a narrative that is rarely in the forefront of the media. The Black policeman (in this case several of them) mistreating the black man. We see Black men killing other Black men through gang activity or minor disputes so frequently that it’s almost numbing. But the Black policeman hurting the Black man? The one who vowed to protect and serve? This touches a layer of sadness I never knew I could feel.
With all of the headlines revolving around the White policeman and the black man one would think we have had enough. Now we see not one but five Black policemen mistreating and ultimately beating to death a man who looks like them. Even if there was a crime committed that required this amount of force (force meaning the amount of people), is the brutality necessary?
If not the officers who look like him…who’s going to protect the Black man? Love him? Nurture him? Care for him? For those who think…he’s a man, he can protect himself. Have you seen how the world treats him? Belittles him? Emasculates him? Hurts him? Doesn’t allow him the space to feel his emotions? I have spoken with many Black men specifically from America who have expressed feeling they don’t have a safe space in the place that they live, the places they work nor in confidence with the people they are surrounded by.
Imagine how scary it must be to feel consistently like you are in danger for simply living your life. Are you the enemy or the friend? Lover or confidante? Hater or degrader? Look closely and don’t try to disillusion yourself into thinking you’re not a part of the problem.
The Black man is a phenomenal being by design alone. His resilience, his strength, his endurance. He deserves the space to be able to grow to his full potential. Don’t kick him while he’s down. He’s dealing with enough by simply existing.
As a mother with a Black male child, I cannot conceive what this means for my son, a literal part of me, and the world he will have to endure. There are Black men in my life that I love, admire, aspire to see succeed and to think that the world historically doesn’t see them like I do hurts my heart.
I will be moving forward acting on the ways I can help the Black man feel loved and appreciated, desired and celebrated within my capability. What will you do?
To the family of Tyre Nichols, my condolences. I can not conceive all of the things you and your loved ones may be feeling right now. Stay strong. Justice will be served.
A special thank you to Janelle Thompson for inspiring me to write this.
A special thank you to the Black men in my life for allowing me to be your safe space.