We know the way that Blackness is inherently seen as a threat makes even living while Black a dangerous activity, but what does the irrational and deadly fear of Black people actually sound like when communicated in words? On a Reddit law enforcement forum called "ProtectAndServe", a verified police officer going by the name sf7was started an insightful thread called "People, please stop making my job so difficult" highlighting just that. Officers flocked to the thread to vent about white people panicking at the mere sight of people of color and calling the police.
By Hari Ziyad*, AFROPUNK Writer
Sf7was gave this example: "So I'm working last week and get dispatched to a call of 'Suspicious Activity.' Ya'll wanna know what the suspicious activity was? Someone walking around in the dark with a flashlight and crow bar? Nope. Someone walking into a bank with a full face mask on? Nope. It was two black males who were jump starting a car at 930 in the morning. That was it. Nothing else. Someone called it in. People. People. People. If you're going to be a racist, stereotypical jerk... keep it to yourself."
Other examples given by former and currently serving officers included a Black person fishing in a community pond and "someone from the Middle East looking mean."
Tellingly, the thread was centered around the problem of "making [police officers'] jobs so difficult," not the problem of how white fear is often a death sentence for Black people. Even when self-aware of its own irrationality, whiteness still finds a way to center itself at the expense of Black life.
Photo via ChameleonsEye / Shutterstock.com
*Hari Ziyad is a New York based storyteller and writer for AFROPUNK. They are also the editor-in-chief of RaceBaitR, deputy editor of Black Youth Project, and assistant editor of Vinyl Poetry & Prose. You can follow them on Twitter @hariziyad.