Monday, April 13, 2009


by Nadra Enzi

Black men and the police comprise two of public safety's most contentious elements. Historic antagonisms have not abated, even in the wake of increased numbers of Black men and women in law enforcement. Unlike other segments of society where positive interaction is a given, these groups exist in a state of mutually assured disdain identical to the mutually assured destruction ( MAD ) doctrine of the old Cold War.

Borrowing the phrase " constructive engagement " from the Reagan Administration's relationship with the failed Apartheid regime in South Africa, I have begun a one-man brothers and badges campaign to bridge this gap.

Some sample exercises I've tried include:

* Waving at officers as they drive by. I can report that the overwhelming majority wave back. Just to show how entrenched hostility is, I have yet to convince a brilliant grad student/activist I know that this simple act isn't tantamount to betrayal of the Black community. There are also some officers I sure who would look me dead in the eye while waving and pretend they say nothing. Diehards exist on both sides of this sad divide.

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