Opinionated
February 19, 2017

Raising Blue Ivy, Michael Browns, and Mo’ne Davises

mike brown blue ivy none davis

*This post was originally posted 09/02/2015 and later restored to be republished. Read about that here. It may or may not contain original photos used.

My son

When I first read/heard about the Michael Brown story, I didn’t know whether it would make national headlines. A black male shot dead, what’s new? But the details of the case are what stood out: 18-year-old unarmed black male shot by a policeman as he was allegedly surrendered. That was the key for me. Not that there was a chase. Not that he allegedly committed a crime, but that his hands were up

When I saw Michael’s dead body, faced down lying in the middle of the street, in broad daylight, to not squirm at the blood that spilt from his head, I knew I was starting to be conditioned. The #mikebrown resulted in thousands of the same dead body in the middle of the street in broad daylight did not make me cringe. That was a problem. A problem that we need to face and one many in the Black community face everyday. A problem I see past an image on social media, but a problem that black men face every time they walk out the door.

Mike Brown made me think about Sean Bell. Sean Bell made me think about Danroy “D.J.” Henry. Danroy Henry made me think about Oscar Grant. Oscar Grant made think about Jonathan Ferrell. Jonathan Ferrell made me think about Eric Garner. Eric Garner made me think about Rodney King.

Those were just names that instantly reminded me about this case. Police brutality did not start in the 90s. Those are just a few who we know about. What about the ones lost before the internet? Before video recording? Before social media?

I would like to say some Michael Brown’s supporters gave “but” excuses when the Ferguson Police Department released its tactical surveillance footage of what appeared to be Brown “strong arming” a convenience store employee.

“He was unarmed and shot by the police BUT he robbed a store.”

Your but’s have done exactly what the police department wanted you to do: justify his killing. Let us not lose sight that an unarmed teenager was innocently walking down the street. And yes innocent because as an American citizens, we have the right to be innocent until proven guilty. Whether Michael Brown robbed a store over a pack of cigarettes or not, a fact that is not debatable is his death. Which means that his class was one seat empty when he could not attend college as a starting freshman the week following his death.

Police brutality is the issue. Not that Brown was jaywalking. Not that an officer thought Bell and his friends had a gun. Not that Grant was faced down. Not that Ferrell just survived a car accident. Not that Garner said he couldn’t breathe repeatedly. Not that King just didn’t want to go back to jail. The police concluded that these men were too dangerous to live.

“Though it is tempting to think that the need for such strategies disappeared with the Jim Crow laws, their legacy lives on in frequent and sometimes fatal harassment black men experience at the hands of white police officers.” – Beverly D. Tatum

How much more police brutality must this nation witness? Instead of addressing the problems, parents are instead having to teach their black sons how to be a black man in America. Instead of holding police accountable for their actions we are to instead accept their behavior as lawfully executed.

We already know aggressively approaching a police officer can get you killed or beaten, but what happens when you are calmed. What about Chris Lollie, who knew his rights and was met with excessive force, tased and jailed for being in a public space solely because he was waiting to pick his children up from school. Although the charges were dropped, that does not erase the memory of being arrested in front his children because someone believed him to be suspicious. Is every person that acts civil towards the police to be assaulted because the police think one would run or either fight with them?

According to former Los Angeles Police Deparment officer, Sunil Dutta, you just don’t argue with the police.

Instead of this veteran officer in one of our country’s most notorious police departments, he instead gave us a testimonial of how police abuse their power:

“An average person cannot comprehend the risks and has no true understanding of a cop’s job. Hollywood and television stereotypes of the police are cartoons in which fearless super cops singlehandedly defeat dozens of thugs, shooting guns out of their hands. Real life is different. An average cop is always concerned with his or her safety and tries to control every encounter. That is how we are trained. While most citizens are courteous and law abiding, the subset of people we generally interact with everyday are not the genteel types…Show some empathy for an officer’s safety concerns. Don’t make our job more difficult than it already is.”

(Yes, because everyone knows you can juxtapose real life cops to Reno 911.)

According to Dutta, not only is being a police officer one of the most dangerous jobs ever, but cops just do not come into the field looking to shoot people up. In his perspective, good ones turn bad and the bad just keep get badder. What stops an officer who knowingly witnesses an active duty officer acting disorderly and stays silent, you are just as wrong. You condone it. Dutta gave a list of things people need to do if they don’t want to get shot. A PRIME example of how the police are not liable for their actions:

“…just do what I tell you. Don’t argue with me, don’t call me names, don’t tell me that I can’t stop you, don’t say I’m a racist pig, don’t threaten that you’ll sue me and take away my badge. Don’t scream at me that you pay my salary, and don’t even think of aggressively walking towards me.”  

He is not the only officer who feels this way and that is what makes people fear the police: To know that an officer tells you in order for you to not be shot, tased, beaten, or peppered spray you have to do what he tells you simply because he is wearing the badge. After Dutta gives us a strident taste of his former job he offers one suggestion for the police: body cameras. Not to stop the harassment but that grown adults need the supervision of a camera to behave. He does give brazen advice on how to use our protected rights in case we do get stopped by the police.

“You can refuse consent to search your car or home if there’s no warrant (though a pat-down is still allowed if there is cause for suspicion).”

“Always ask the officer whether you are under detention or are free to leave.”

“…lodge a complaint or contact civil rights organizations if you believe your rights were violated.”

“Feel free to sue the police!”

And the reason I called his advice “brazen” is because remember this is the same person in the same quote who said do not challenge the police by saying “don’t threaten to sue me and take away my badge.”

My Daughters

Part I

I honestly prefer not to get too vocal on certain issues that arise simply because I know how headstrong I am, but most importantly how stubborn and ignorant people can be. That is why I prefer to express how I feel in my own space so I am not interjected with opinions and perspectives that don’t provide any validity.

I will start with Miss Blue. She’s lovely. I never understood the chaos surrounding the toddler’s looks, or more importantly what is on her head. I am just going to flat out say that an adult that talks negatively about what a child looks as if they can defend themselves may have more than a few screws loose. And that is coming from a place of love. When I look at Blue Ivy, I see a healthy little girl. Nothing more nothing less. Now if the 2-year-old seemed to be malnourished, visibly bruised and dirty, then we need to get concerned. But hair? Hair? It’s comical. It is perplexing how pressed a 2-year-old can get people. Are you more so angry at Blue or her parents?

When an adult makes a petition on change.org, you know you are pressed.

When you get worked up over something as trivial as hair, you know you are pressed.

When you verbally attack a 2-year-old, you my dear are pressed.

A sense of humor? I have one, it is magnificent. It is part reason why I am filtered and valid proof of my maturity. In other words, I don’t find everything funny.

Nor did I find the joke Karrueche Tran, girlfriend to Chris Brown, funny when it aired on BET’s 106 & Park last Monday.

But then again, when was the last time I watched 106 & Park for any significance. Moving on.

I am not trying to be difficult, but was there a point in having “6 Things Blue Ivy Thought about the VMAs” segment really necessary? Why not just six special moments of the VMAs? You reached 106 & Park writers, you reached.

I am not even bothered by Karrueche saying the joke, she didn’t write it. She simply was the fall guy for the show and allowed for herself to be. Do you see the actual writer being chided publicly for the joke? No, but what you do see was the network’s pathetic attempt of an apology for something that completely was in their control. And because of it, they continue to lose the respect of their target audience.

Beyonce and Jay Z have given BET multiple performances for years before and after the birth of their daughter.

 

That time paramedics were on standby for Terrance Howard. (2005)

That time they attended the award show when their child just was just an infant. (2012)

To later be thanks by the network with a rude hair joke. If you did not know how much pull these Carters have, ask somebody. The producer was suspended and the show did not air the following day. #Power&Respect

I don’t even have children but I understand the dynamic of toddlerhood and that means kids will be kids. I understand that asking a 2-year-old to behave as if she is 10 is irrational. I have seen how a 1-year-old can have her hair put in a neat ponytail to looking unrecognizable after a couple hours of playtime. Why are we expecting Blue Ivy to dictate her appearance?

I am appalled at how the black community can disband so quickly internally, it is alarming. We support in death but make a mockery in life.

If Beyonce takes 4 hours to get ready, I would hope it would take her child 40 minutes. Children are not wearing makeup. Children are not shaving. Children do not purchase their clothes. But most importantly children do not make family requests, none of us have that option in birth.

You are mad at millionaires for taking care of their millionaire baby. I think that is what it is. You don’t like the little outfit she had on? Get the hammer. You didn’t like that hair bow? Buy the nails. You don’t like the shoes she wore? Chop the wood. Her cuteness is diverted by her sharp facial resemblance to her father? Have a seat in that chair you just built.

I just won’t be the one to judge someone’s parenting skills based on the appearance of their child’s hair appearing uncombed. Let us not rejoice in the fact that she was born healthy, but ponder as to why it seems the black community has given her the birth defect of nappy hair.

I don’t know how impressionable it may look on your resume as crusader of the Blue Ivy Comb Movement but if that’s what gets the synapses in your brain synapsing, by all means crusade.

Part II

Ever since I expressed to whoever I was having the subject of children with, it is always responded with, “Why do want girls, boys are easier?”

Who said one sex was easier to raise than the other? Somebody. People truly believe females are just too difficult to raise. Especially from my generation and a lot of this preference over male children come from women. Of all the arguments I hear as to why raising males are easier much of it is credited to the females promiscuity. Boys are just as sexually active as girls. But you are trying to tell me you don’t want to have a little girl because you cannot deal with attitudes or the idea of her conceiving a child at a young age. Well at least you are being honest. Biased, but honest.

I just don’t want a little girl to put her in adorable dresses and bows and submit her to gender identification as an infant but to raise her. Raise her to know she can be anyone she wants to be.

I see that in Mo’ne Davis.

As girls we are taught we cannot play with the boys; they’re too rough. But if you are rough and like to play boy games then you are a “tomboy.”

I believe Davis and all girls who like playing with the boys show that what a boy can do a girl can do even better. Baby boys are not born more athletically abled than girls and if we reject that way of thinking there can be a lot more Davises and Kayla Roncins on the playing fields.

I admire not just the 13-year-old but her parents. The parental support system of children’s confidence is essential to a child’s success. The pressures of not feeling as if you have to participate in cheerleading or dance because it is more feminine.

When I see Mo’ne, not only do I see a very beautiful girl but a young girl who is doing what just very well may have been put on this Earth to do. I don’t see a tomboy. I see a ball player.

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