It starts for us when we are young. The constant sense of apprehension, unease, and trepidation some in the majority community feel when they are in our presence. It is that (some would argue justified) fear of the black male that makes us all uncomfortable while we try to navigate our way through our daily interactions. We can't escape it.
I personally get it all the time, especially on weekends when I am not in my work uniform: wingtips, suit, tie, and a dress shirt. But I have learned to deal with that.
It is annoying, though, when I am wearing a suit that costs more than what the starer pays for her mortgage every month, and she has the audacity to think that I am going to rob her. But I digress.
Anyway, some poor lad in Ohio caught the business from the authorities in that state for……well... staring.
The boy was suspended several days after participating in a staring contest with a white female classmate at St. Gabriel Consolidated School, and allegedly made her feel “fearful.” School officials were notified by the girl’s parents the day after the contest, claiming she felt intimidated by the boy. But the boy, who was forced to write an apology letter and subsequently suspended for a day, maintained he was unaware that his classmate was feeling uncomfortable.
“I never knew she was scared because she was laughing,” he wrote. “I understand I done the wrong thing that will never happen again. I will start to think before I do so I am not in this situation.”
The 12-year-old’s mother, Candice Tolbert, said her son was suspended because of a “perception [that] he intimidated her.” The family filed a lawsuit to have the punishment dismissed from his record, but Judge Patrick Dinkelacker declined the request. The ruling could be appealed in the future." [Source]
One of the sad things about this story is how clearly beaten down and belittled this child was after the accusations were made against him. He actually had to apologize for playing a game that most kids play all the time without repercussion or negative consequences.
But if you read the study talked about in the story I provided the link to, you will get a clue as to why this is the case. And you will also realize that this is not an isolated incident. This seems to be par for the course in how many schools treat young men of color in modern day America.
Oh, and by the way, I believe in having strict discipline in schools to create a good learning environment, and I believe that persistent trouble makers should be thrown out of the classroom if they disrupt others and prevent them from learning.
This was clearly not the case in this story. There is no indication that this 12 year old was constantly disruptive in class. The poor child was suspended for "several days" for being scary looking to his classmate when he stared. That's it. Just imagine if the poor kid had said BOO, he probably would have been thrown in jail.
*Pic from theroot.com