McKinney: Part Two

Today seems heavy and sad. I woke up to more news about McKinney.

Apparently the cops were called to respond to the physical attack against Tatiana Rose. However, when they showed up, they immediately went to work corralling and bullying the black kids who were at the pool. The pool apparently has a rule about how many guests that you can have at a given time. A rule that Tatiana’s mother says is never enforced, except, apparently, when black kids show up. The pool people are also saying now that they never approved the party in the first place. A claim that I find dubious in the extreme.

Brandon Brooks, 15, who shot the video, has since spoken out regarding events as he saw them unfold, saying:

When he pulled his gun my heart dropped. As soon as he pulled out his gun, I thought he was going to shoot that kid. That was very scary… I was one of the only white people in the area when that was happening. You can see in part of the video where he tells us to sit down, and he kinda like skips over me and tells all my African-American friends to go sit down.

I talked yesterday about the privilege of white bodies in a racially charged space. At the time I was under the mistaken impression that the person recording the video was the person speaking up about being related in some way to Adrian, the young man who was hauled into the shot toward the end of the video (and about whom I can find not a single news item or mention). Since Adrian is black, I assumed the videographer was as well. Which was, of course, a foolish assumption. Because I doubt Brooks would have been allowed to continue filming had he not been white.

People are talking about how Cpl Casebolt should have, logically, been on his best behavior since he knew he was being recorded. I don’t know which is the more terrifying conclusion of that train of thought: That Casebolt was on his best behavior during the events of Friday afternoon, or what might have happened if Brooks had not been there and shooting the entire time.

This whole horrible mess has brought up the painful history of segregation and, specifically, the role that pools have played in that segregation. As pointed out in an article in The Atlantic yesterday:

As African Americans fought for desegregation in the 1950s, public pools became frequent battlefields. In Marshall, Texas, for example, in 1957, a young man backed by the NAACP sued to force the integration of a brand-new swimming pool. When the judge made it clear the city would lose, citizens voted 1,758-89 to have the city sell all of its recreational facilities rather than integrate them. The pool was sold to a local Lions’ Club, which was able to operate it as a whites-only private facility.

People are trying to argue that what happened on Friday isn’t about race. There are even black people from McKinney making that argument, saying that their neighborhood is an integrated one and that they have never had trouble with their neighbors. Far be it for me to tell someone from a marginalized community that they are wrong about their experiences. I am glad beyond words that those people feel safe and comfortable within their communities.

That said, I want to challenge the assumption that a community that treats it’s black residents well can not suffer from the impact of racism. Just because a community is not putting on white hoods and trying to run you out of town with burning crosses does not mean that an isolated incident within that community is devoid of racism. I am so happy for residents of the Craig Ranch community that they do not experience racialized violence or aggression in their everyday life. But I do not believe that anyone could reasonably look at the reaction of those officers on Friday and say that it does not have something to do with race. Or at the actions of grown white women throwing racial slurs at a teenage girl. Or at the authorities of the pool who manage to overlook the guest rule until the population of the pool becomes too black for their comfort.

Increasingly, we live in a world of racism with no racists. Eduardo Bonilla-Silva, who’s written a book by that title, says:

“The main problem nowadays is not the folks with the hoods, but the folks dressed in suits. The more we assume that the problem of racism is limited to the Klan, the birthers, the tea party or to the Republican Party, the less we understand that racial domination is a collective process and we are all in this game.”

We tend to think of racism as having something to do with the words that people say. But many people nowadays know that it’s not acceptable to say the “n-word” or to vocally discriminate based on the color of someone’s skin. Of course, actions speak louder than words, and in the case of racism the actions that are continually taken against people of color have not gone away entirely, they have merely gotten less obvious to white people.

Racism is by no means dead, it simply hides in microagressions and in discriminatory policies enacted every day while white people protest that they can’t be racist because they “can’t see race” – thus obliterating the heritage of the people around them – or that they “have black friends” – as if their friends are a trophy or a badge of honor that put them above such things as racial profiling.

When a bunch of black children are violently suppressed at an end of year pool party, when they have guns pulled on them merely for being in a place, when they are told to “go back to their section 8 housing,” there is no word for that type of behavior other than racist.

9 thoughts on “McKinney: Part Two

  1. I completely agree. I have some people in my life who unfortunately try to argue that this isn’t about race and that these kids shouldn’t have been behaving in this way in front of cops, but clearly the cop is behaving inappropriately all throughout the video including the fact he completely ignored the person standing ten feet away and filming the entire thing because he was white. I get all riled up because of what has been going on in America lately – authority figures mistreating minorities – it’s agonizing when people don’t see it or just try to put all the blame on the victim for the escalated violence. Great, thought provoking, and well written post!

    Liked by 1 person

    • He very much was behaving inappropriately.

      I was raised by a cop. And one of the things that I have learned is that you do not draw your gun unless a) you actually intend to shoot someone and b) the lives of you or the people around you are in imminent danger. Drawing your gun on an unarmed teenager does not meet either of those criteria. A gun is not meant to be used to threaten or intimidate. It is meant to be used to kill someone. And I shudder to think what that officer might have done had the camera not been on him last week.

      I get riled up too. I actually have to go back and look for updates on this one. I have been avoiding it because work has been so crazy. I’m dreading what I’ll find.

      Thank you for the compliment. I’m glad you found my words thought provoking. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • Truth. I took some criminal justice classes in college and one of my professors was an ex-sheriff and I think he basically said ‘if you take out your gun it’s to shoot and if you shoot it’s to kill, because you don’t use your gun unless you or someone else’s life is in immediate danger.”

        Now I bet all those kids are going to be terrified of cops for the rest of their lives because they had a gun waved at them for no good reason. None of us should have to live in that world of fear.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I agree. No one should have to live like that. It’s horrible.

        The sad thing is that, from their behavior, it seemed to me that these kids were already really afraid of the cops.


  2. I am offended by people I know who somehow think the police have every right to trample on rights of others when the police are the very people inciting the discord. The rule of law does not mean we have to submit to abuse when we experience it. Those kids –and the countless other victims of police brutality — did not deserve to be treated like trash. It is abundantly obvious that race is at the core of these actions. Well-argued essay. Thanks for sharing it.


    • I totally agree. It drives me crazy that people really think that children would deserve to be treated that way. It actually boggles my mind.

      Thank you for the compliment. And you’re welcome.

      Liked by 1 person

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