Many white folks also have trouble understanding the deep distrust of the police in other racialized communities. That's because they fail to realize how quick many police officers are to harass non-white people, and how much less they tend to value non-white lives.
White Americans should listen, with sincerity and respect, to the reported experiences of others with the entrenched racist attitudes among the police, and the rampant abuse such attitudes inspire. They should also listen to the corrosive effects on non-white communities of the relative impunity with which police repeatedly harass, and murder, non-white people.
In the following short film, Stacey Muhammad's "I AM SEAN BELL, black boys speak," black Americans effectively explain their reasoned fear, distrust, and dismay regarding the police. I think that for starters, this film is perfect discussion material for all American classrooms. And any other gatherings that include white eyes and ears.
"I AM SEAN BELL, black boys speak," by Stacey Muhammad, on Vimeo:
On November 25, 2006, undercover NYPD officers fired at least 50 rounds of bullets into a car carrying three UNARMED men of African American and Latino decent; killing one, SEAN BELL and seriously wounding two others. Bell age 23 was scheduled to be married on that fateful day.
Three of the five detectives involved in the shooting went to trial on charges ranging from manslaughter to reckless endangerment. All were found not guilty.
The incident has sparked fierce criticism of the NYPD as the city faces yet another murder of an unarmed African American man at the hands of those expected to protect and serve.
“I AM SEAN BELL, black boys speak” is a short form documentary from Wildseed Films that highlights the voices of young black boys between the ages of 11 and 13 years old growing up in New York City.
They speak openly and honestly about their reaction to the Sean Bell tragedy as well as their fears and hopes as they approach manhood in a city where the lives of young black men are often cut short, too often, and too soon.
About the filmmaker:
Stacey Muhammad is an award winning independent filmmaker and activist committed to using the power of media to educate, enlighten and empower humanity.
Her first film, “A Glimpse of Heaven, The Legacy of the Million Man March”, screened at the Reginald F. Lewis Museum in Baltimore, MD in 2005 and received rave reviews.
Since that time, the New Orleans, LA native has relocated to Brooklyn, NY and begun the work of documenting and preserving Hip Hop culture through film and digital media. Her projects include several short form documentaries including, "I AM SEAN BELL, black boys speak" as well as "Self Construction: Recording session in honor of a movement".
Stacey is currently working with other artists, filmmakers and activists whose mission it is to document our history, preserve our culture and tell our own stories.
Her latest film, "Out of Our Right Minds, The Rise of Mental Illness amongst Black Women", is slated to be released in April 2009.
[h/t: Kai @ Zuky]