Be Black, Comply, and Die…

Hello Friend,

It is with a heavy heart that I write this post. I am so sorry to come to you this late, but I woke up this morning with peace in my heart—which later turned into sorrow. I am sure by now you have heard, read, and watched about the recent police shootings that have occurred in the last few days.  There is no easy way to explain it-no matter how hard you try.

Although both stories are still unraveling and more details are being revealed, the outcome still remains the same—both men are dead!  They were someone’s son, brother, husband, father, and friend. When you look at the “past” shootings there is one variable that seems constant—and that is the color of their skin…BLACK.  But the question still remains why black, why us? What’s so wrong about the color black that it ignites hatred in some people? A hatred so deep—that they lose sight of the person in front of them—a human being.

I migrated to this country when I was eight years old, and today I remember one of the first conversations I had with my white elementary school principal, Ms. Rhodes. Ms. Rhodes (as she was called at that time) is one of my mom’s best friends. She grew up in the south and comes from a very loving and respectful family.  When she met my brothers and me I could see the joy and worry in her face at the same time.

She said “Evelyn you have such beautiful children. They are full of life and innocence. But there is one thing you have to teach them Evelyn, I beg of you, you have to continue to teach them to respect the law. Now I have taught my son, when the cops pull you over you say ‘yes sir, no sir’ don’t get loud with them, don’t get rude with them because right there in that instant they have all the power. You do what you have to do, follow every instruction, ask questions on what you are not clear on and just comply. Just so you can get out of there alive. But with your boys being ‘black’ excuse me to say it’s gonna be ten times harder! So please tell them over and over again.”

As harsh, simple and difficult that might have been for Ms. Rhodes to have said that to a black woman, with black children—especially two black boys, it was the painful truth. But now complying doesn’t seem to be enough.

They have a problem with the blackness of our skin, so we comply; however, with the recent wake of news it seems that may no longer be an option.

When is enough, enough? Seems no matter what you do you can still end up dead. So then what do we teach our young black women and men? What do we tell them? To comply and hope for the best? And what is “that best” anyway—being shot at but hoping not to die? When does this end and how does it end because it honestly doesn’t make sense anymore…


Lady J.


7 thoughts on “Be Black, Comply, and Die…

  1. Mosiah Garvey says:

    Its definitely a challenge for us Black Men. I could only imagine the struggle for our Black Mothers though… I could only imagine what my mom felt when her son called to say that the CO’s beat him up in his cell. I could only imagine how much it scared my mom when another young man in our neighborhood was killed by police. I could only imagine the fear my mother holds today knowing that her sons will not be swept off the porch like a dog, but will fight to hold onto our dignity.

    I say all that to say I feel the pain the Black Woman suffers when things like this continue to happen and as a Black Man will do everything in my power to , exhausting all means to find a way to counter what is happening to our people.

    • Lady J says:

      Wow, Mosiah thank you for your comment. I can feel the emotions in your words. It breaks my heart that we as a people have to experience this especially our black men. It’s not right!
      If you don’t mind me asking, can you share some of the things you plan on doing when you say “everything in your power.” It may just help another reader.

  2. Stacey says:

    Wow Jasmine, this is an great and enlightening article to many! My parents had those same conversations with my brothers growing, they would not rest or go to bed until my brothers were safe and sound in the home. Now that conversation has to be different to our children, try and stay alive when you encounter bad officers that only see and have a hatred because of your skin color.

    One city called Colonial Heights was a no no to travel through because it was known for lynches black/African Americas by cops. Ironically that town and my hometown is divided only by an bridge. My brothers were told to go around and drive down interstate 95 (which was the long way around) at night and heck even in the day. Surprisingly now (2) of my brothers own homes in that town, how shocking it that? I still feel the racism there and KKK flags flying in neighbors yards when I visit and all I can do is pray for those harden and hatred souls.

    Jasmine Thank you for this article!

    • Lady J says:

      Ms Stacey,
      This is such a sad and hurtful reality that we are forced to face. It’s very heartbreaking and discouraging. Those who have never encountered this issue or will never encounter this issue don’t realize the constant fear monitories have to live in.
      Thank you for read this. Please continue to share with others!

  3. Jessica Gold says:

    Exactly Jasmine. We can’t even comply without cops being fearful. What kind of mess is that? How are you afraid when you are the one holding the gun? It makes no sense to me. These cops are playing God and deciding someone’s destiny, when that is the Father’s job! However, all God keeps reminding me is that they will have to deal with their actions for the REST of their lives. And when they meet God, he will surely bring up what they did. My heart is broken truly for these men and women who have had their lives STOLEN!

    • Lady J says:

      Yes their lives were stolen and it’s so sad nothing been done to reassure us that the black ness of our skin will longer be death sentence.

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