Many years ago I came out of my White liberal stupor and realized what was at the heart of the separate existence of White and Black people in this country. At that time, I had a computer teacher make a big sign for me to post in my home office: ENCLAVES. I saw that many Black Americans were beginning to congregate in up-scale communities where they controlled the economy, services, and overall tenor of the places in which they lived. Many individuals were making similar decisions, to move to minority neighborhoods, to move down South where Blacks dominated in certain areas or at least there was a truce, a modus vivendi between Whites and Blacks. Many years before that my wife had traveled to Dallas where her relatives live and noticed something odd after a day or two there, but she couldn’t put her finger on it. Then one day, out shopping, she exclaimed to her relatives, “Where are all the White folk?” They looked at her and then said: They don’t let us come up there (north Dallas) and we don’t let them come down here (south Dallas).
At the time, that seemed an ugly and unamerican solution, but as I experienced more and more, I came to the conclusion that the only way we might resolve this divide was if Black Americans developed their own social areas or regions and
Whites would eventually begin to see them as competent human beings, albeit at a distance. And that is at the heart of the problem: the way Whites see Blacks.
Now after so many high-profile police murders of Black people and we only see the egregious cases; I can cite two where testimony is clear that the police could have refrained from killing my two nephews New York, Cleveland, Oakland, Ferguson…. the police have as hard a time seeing Blacks as people as most Whites do. Black policemen are not free of this bias but naturally it comes in a different context for them. When we try to deal with these situations, we get the response I got from a person who often communicates with me: she recommended a video by Chris Rock titled How To Get Your Ass Beat By the Police, clearly putting the blame on Black victims of police brutality. We aren’t talking about those cases, we’re talking about cases like New York, Cleveland, Oakland, Ferguson……
But until Black people control the police force, the schools which often serve as the first step into the “discipline” system, the health care, the taxation and funding of public institutions, and the infrastructure, we will continue to see a police force, a teacher force, a health care force filled with professional, dedicated, competent people of all ethnicities, but sprinkled with those racists who just can’t take Black people seriously as people and so will skip over the fine points of educating them, healing them, and policing them. And as few as they may be, they have a huge impact in so many ways, in New York, Cleveland, Oakland, Ferguson…… and all over the country.