DECIDING WHAT TO WEAR IN THE MORNING MIGHT HELP YOU TO STAY ALIVE
"FOR BLACK MEN, FEAR AFTER CLIPS OF COP VIOLENCE"
When you’re standing in front of you closet or rummaging through your dresser drawers attempting to decide what to wear, you probably weigh what the weather is outside, the nature of event or outing you’re dressing for, maybe which pair of slacks or which skirt feels comfortable. I’m betting that you don’t consider whether what you’re going to wear will make you more or less vulnerable to police attention. If this is how you decide what to wear, then you are most likely not a Black man. Because if you are a Black man not only what one wears but who one is going to be associating with often enter into this otherwise prosaic choice of deciding “what to wear.”
An interesting article in this morning’s WashPo WHAT TO WEAR profiles one young Georgetown University student, Jawad Pullin, and his thought processes over not only the “what to wear” dilemma every day but even what color his daily traveling companions are going to be. This, I’m betting, is not a consideration many White folks contemplate as they brush their teeth every morning. The article is a revealing glimpse into the realities that Black men (and women) face and to whom the phrase “arrested while being Black” isn’t some catchy cultural cliché but part of their lives. The recent spate of videotaped shootings of Tamir Rice, Michael Brown, Laquan McDonald and the death in police custody of Sandra Bland have reminded the Black Community that although we have made great strides in race relations we aren’t there yet. The Washington Post’s research last year, yielded the result that an unarmed Black man was fatally shot once every nine days.
Perhaps after the passage of the Civil Rights Act, the 1968 Riots, the Assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. we entered a period of collective amnesia over race relations. Maybe we thought that things were settled, that we’d put in place corrective mechanisms that would end discrimination because nothing much was done when we wound up with Black men in record numbers. When crack cocaine use was simply considered a Black crime while today heroin, as a White phenomenon, is considered a public health issue worthy of treatment in a rehab clinic. It was, perhaps, the election of Barack Obama that ripped the lid off society’s complacency. The explosive impact of his election on Whites – conservative and illiberal – has resulted in the continuation of a conversation that stalled out a couple of decades ago. And as this Post article vividly illustrates, it’s one that we desperately need to have.
There is nothing to say here.