How to deal with Respectable Racists

July 28, 2015 § Leave a comment

You’ve probably met a few at your job or on the way to work during your morning ritual donut stop. The dozen donut holes don’t make the Instagram cut but the gym workout after work will. If you live in Texas or any other “hospitable,” southern state, you definitely meet these people, probably everyday, every where you go.
I met one recently. I thought he cared about me and my well being. He repeatedly warned me, and anyone who cared to listen to his benevolent advice, to never forget to lock my cars and hide my belongings when I work “over there.” Over there on that side of town, in that nasty area filled with nasty people on that side of that filthy river that dares to run through my side of town, the West. Thank God I don’t have to work there-lemme check my schedule to confirm.  Ah, yes, my memory serves me correctly. That isn’t my burden, after all. “What is wrong with this side of town? And the people–who are they and why must I be cautious?” These thoughts I would keep in my head as I labored. This Respectable Racist, like all racist, behavior and comments were based in ignorance. Like live news, I cut straight to the chase one day for the answers.

“Why do you always have something to say? When’s the last time you’ve been to Pleasant Grove?” “Well its been like 5 years or so.” “So not at all recently. Well, I have and you should really go and visit. A lot of things happen in 5 years wouldn’t you agree?”

The Respectable Racist had no response. Privelege doesn’t require an explanation, at least not on this planet. This conversation is normal for a black “professional.” One often meets people from, say, Keller, who have never visited southern Dallas (what non-resident has a reason to?) yet has much to say about the area and those people over there. Another professional friend of mine made the mistake of partaking in a conversation at work about housing, which he thought was constructive, so he added his input. When he mentioned he and his family reside in *gasp* east Dallas, the attention turned to him. “How do you live over there? Oh, you mean Greenville area of east Dallas, right?” He made the double mistake of suggesting to the new co worker to actually live and raise his kids in the area, to #moveSouth. You don’t do that. The drive home from Frisco in tollway traffic allowed him to think about his poorly thought-out actions. This Respectable Racists and many others like him summed up an area to which he had little knowledge. Didn’t’ care for it, either. But that which is said repeatedly becomes true and there we have the perpetuating belief that southern Dallas is a wasteland of clay people who send their kids to decrepit schools. One can’t forget the public school part. The belief becomes self-perpetuating when it sees no opposition, especially from those in the best position to offer it–the residents of that area. (Oh no! Too many dark skinned people over there!) I have a knack for reading through people, particularly racists/white supremacists, and their code words and phrases. I read through all of the warnings and ultimately he expressed his feelings towards me on his last day of employment.  Alas! I was the real racist, he expressed. “You treat black co-workers better than white co-workers,” he randomly charged. Me? A racist? Perhaps. I gots to practice at being a better racist. How to deal with RRs? First, by treating every person as a suspected racist/white supremacists. With no master list or roster of these people, it’s only logical to treat everyone as such until convinced otherwise. Second, by addressing their concerns and correcting them. Don’t blow up, don’t curse or call names and definitely don’t accuse anyone of being anything so dark, dirty and old-fashioned like the dreaded “r” word. In this country, labeling someone a “r” and proving it is an uphill battle fit only for Sisyphus. You address their concerns by asking questions–what led to these beliefs–then by correcting it because, again, these beliefs are likely based off ignorance. Lastly, you continue the conversation and the ones after that under this new understanding. So instead of discussing personal safety, you discuss its lunch options or where to hang out nearby after work, like you would when discussing any area. When you find yourself in conversation with a RR, which can be any time you converse with a human being, remember they, too, are victims. The smiling and laughing during conversation mean nothing; victims aren’t always readily aware of their situation. If the south had better employment, that is, if southern Dallas was treated as the rest of Dallas proper, all of this could have been avoided. But since it doesn’t, it is best to have a code on how to best interface with RR. Solving problems collectively, through organizations or on a grand scale is worthy. Problems can be solved also through the everyday, simple interactions we have with people. If you care to know, my car was never broken into. I even left it unlocked one day.

What post – election means for police reform

June 23, 2015 § Leave a comment


Casey Thomas of District 3, Carolyn Arnold of District 4, Tiffini Young of District 7 and Erik Wilson of District 8 are the new representatives for south Dallas in city hall. Thomas and the latter two won their run offs last week. « Read the rest of this entry »

Jason Harrison’s death was justified

April 27, 2015 § 2 Comments

Lady justice and the city officials agree

Last week, the nation’s focus was on the new Attorney General nomination of Loretta Lynch, the country’s first Black woman in the position. Another event, closer to home, that occurred last week was the grand jury’s decision to not indict the two officers who killed Jason Harrison in June of last year. Prior to the grand jury decision, DPD’s internal investigation also decided the officers’ actions were warranted and within policy–the answer to my question two weeks ago.

Now that the proceedings and investigations are complete, public officials like Chief Brown, who earlier said the officer’s statement corroborated with the video, Mayor Rawlings, who also said he’ll remain silent until the grand jury concludes, and the newly-elected DA Hawk, can comment on the case. This incident is the state’s first officer involved shooting caught on body camera and the city is quiet.

Mute politicians, an odd occurrence indeed.

Upon second thought, perhaps it isn’t odd at all. All three could be silent because they see no issue with the officers’ handling of the case. Or they are in cahoots, something not abnormal for a District Attorney, Police Chief and Mayor. Politics–the art of quid pro quo–is a team sport, people.

Harrison’s case is a good study to improve policy when responding to a mental disturbance case, the Use of Deadly Force Policy, officer’s guide of when to use deadly force (believe or not, a guide exists, and the internal affairs investigation. If the reader can recall, Bobby Bennett was another mentally ill man killed by DPD last year. Fortunately, the neighbor’s camera caught that encounter. That officer, Cardan Spencer, was terminated and indicted for aggravated assault.

Dallas, the southern city it is, has a way of being slow–or controlled. Real slow. Slower than we walk and talk. That’s the stereotype anyway. While Baltimore displayed and expressed their emotions that same Friday over Freddie Gray, and still are currently at this moment, Dallas had no reaction to another mentally ill man killed on camera and the grand jury’s no bill decision. Friday, the 24th, that stereotype was nowhere to be found when a group of about 15 people crowded outside of Hawk’s former home Friday evening. A CBS 11 reporter was present and the neighbors stood outside, also, anticipating what would happen next. We were pissed. Anything could have happened. Another station was there too.

Sean Harrison, brother of Jason, was there and said he felt deceived by the city and jury’s decision. Such behavior, he said, wasn’t new to the country or city, and that “nothing is the new N word” for Black people. Here is the interview. It’s worth the watch.

Thursday was a beautiful day. Dallas’ weather is fickle; Friday the skies were gray, a reflection of the initial reaction to the news. A somber day, sun peaking through the clouds, like lady justice peaking around her blindfolds.

Dallas is going through Accommodation 2.0, the old-new phase of White privilege, Black public official silence, and business as usual resource shifting. Except the question here is not desegregation or where to place the Negros. Still a lot of money is at stake, the Trinity River is still the center of conversation, and Blacks are an afterthought, an issue to be dealt with, a thorn in the side to be removed by the so-called Black leaders and officials. Last Tuesday on the same day and time as “Police Brutality and Your Vote” event in East Dallas, three days before Harrison’s killers were no billed, Big D Reads hosted “Dallas’ Gritty History: A Conversation on Race” at the Palladium Ballroom featuring Jim Schutze, author of the Accommodation, and Michael Philips, author of White Metropolis.

About 14 Dallas city council candidates, almost half of the number invited, and maybe 100 people showed up to the former event centered on action concerning police reform. Other candidates, let’s say they were either pre-occupied or ignored the event and the police reform questionnaire sent out. The questionnaire asked for candidate’s stance on policies such as the DPD’s 72 hour review rule and independent investigations.

The latter event was moved to the Palladium Ballroom because of the large demand. Man has a taste to indulge in history and conversation. The only thing missing was the whiskey.

An accommodation it may be, DA Hawk can still bring the officers to trial if she feels there is a case. Too much conversation, dialogue and interfacing is going on. The time now is only for action. Come out this Thursday and let Hawk know how you feel.

UPDATE: The meeting was rescheduled to May 14th at 6:00 p.m.11164142_10206647545857496_1413611559_nDo you agree or disagree that Harrison’s death was justified? Here is the video.

Was the Jason Harrison shooting by Dallas police justified?

March 18, 2015 § 1 Comment

Was the Jason Harrison shooting by Dallas police authorized per Use of Deadly Force Policy?

For the shooting video, click here. The department criminal investigation is complete and the case is currently under the DA’s control, who will send it to a grand jury. Internal Affairs also reviews the case to determine if the officers’ actions followed policy. « Read the rest of this entry »

Dallas City Council District 3 candidates and the police

March 3, 2015 § Leave a comment

Last night the Dallas Examiner hosted another night of Monday Night Politics featuring all six candidates of District 3. Instead of every first Monday, DE will be hosting a candidate forum every Monday from the districts with an upcoming election. « Read the rest of this entry »

Paul Quinn College’s new Urban College Model

February 20, 2015 § 3 Comments

Of all the problems with higher education, Paul Quinn College President Michael Sorrell doesn’t talk much about them. President Sorrell, better known as “Prez”, is more interested in changing the status quo than talking about what can’t be done. In short, Prez is a solution-seeker. « Read the rest of this entry »

Welcome, Susan Hawk; Dallas DA’s expectations

January 28, 2015 § Leave a comment

Michael Ainsworth/DMN Staff Photographer

If you are a student of the legal/criminal justice system like myself or became a legal expert after high profile grand jury cases involving police shooting black men, then this may be of interest.

« Read the rest of this entry »

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