Their Eyes Were Watching Perps

by Sanctified Brother

Brothers have always been looked at suspiciously, Christian or not. Just think about the recent avalanche of brothers who’ve fallen from grace in some kind of church scandal. Or the brothers who forget to pull their pants up when they come from the bathroom (poor souls, they need help, Lord).

There’s more to worry about now because BRS Labs has an “ear to the street,” or at least an eye. Many beady, suspicious eyes and a brain full of what I think is prejudice. That’s right—prejudice. BRS Labs has deployed a series of cameras into the public that are supposed to spot “Pre-crimes” and quickly rat them to the Man. Sure, they claim the cameras are an effort to thwart the bad guys and terrorists by using fancy algorithms to detect suspicious movements that could be a tell-tale sign of a pending attack. I have a serious concern with the available library of information that has been accumulated and will be refined over time: what is it based on?

Does it have an entry on slap boxing in the street? Standing in a group of four or more brothers on a corner under a street light? Would that trigger the artificial intelligence to call for help? What about innocent “coming of age” games little boys of color engage in during steamy, hot Augusts in the big cities where they test each others’ masculinity to determine who will be the alpha male, the big man on the block? God forbid the camera observe a prepubescent pair of sweaty bodies “playing house”. Will that first kiss will be translated as attempted rape?

Prejudging behavior has been a flawed strategy throughout antiquity and is still foolishly implemented today. Brothers and sisters have been victims of misunderstanding and racial profiling and I see it as all-too-easy to connect the dots of racial profiling with pre-conceived ideas of what suspicious behavior is. That’s a dangerous mix of prejudice that is heavily weighted against communities of color.

I come from the school of don’t walk around in the store with your hands in your pockets. And don’t stand too close to a lady’s purse. That’s how I was taught and it saved me from the humiliation of being stopped and questioned. Brothers, take my suggestion. Keep your attitudes, appearance, and intentions transparent to avoid any “reasonable suspicion.” You’ll remove any triggers that condemn you and make a better case for yourself.

Read this: Proverbs 3:1-4