What do YOU See When You See a Black Man?

By Joseph Smith



Hey EWP...

Demonstrations in uptown Charlotte on Thursday evening around 6:30pm

Demonstrations in uptown Charlotte on Thursday evening around 6:30pm

We don't live in a bubble, and by now, you have read the millions of Facebook posts, seen the videos, watched the news, and may have even used the hashtags about the incident that occurred between Alton Sterling and the Baton Rouge Police.

Then on Thursday, you wake up to hear about the incident between a police officer and Philando Castile. EWP has a diverse readership and that is something that we love! So we would be remorse if we didn't address the large elephant in the room.

So I asked the following questions on my personal Facebook page:

When you see me what do you see? College educated? Home-owner? Vice President at a Bank? Entrepreneur? A friend? A good guy? A dog owner? A classmate? A colleague? A tax-payer? For those of you that know me, you can probably list a lot of attributes of what you see when you see or think of me because you know me.... I ask you this because, once again, two more African American men were shot by the people that are supposed to protect and serve....

How am I viewed by others?

As an African American man, I have to ask myself how I am viewed by others because a walk down the street, search for help in an unknown neighborhood after an accident, or yes, even walking with a hoodie on with a soda and skittles can be a deadly altercation with those that are supposed to protect me. And for the record, do I think all cops are bad? No, I don't believe that... but as the record has shown lately, I have to be careful because I don't know them and they don't know me, and after all, they have guns and authority.

Let's lay down our differences and approach from an angle of understanding.

I wanted to share this not to create a racial divide but to provide insight to how some of your friends, co-workers, or colleagues may be feeling but may not be comfortable enough or have the platform to say it. Right now, America needs understanding, compassion, and love more so than ever. 

So, let’s start a dialogue and let us know now how you feel. What are your thoughts? Are the recent police shootings racially motivated, or within the due process of law enforcement? When you see a black man, do you automatically perceive a higher threat, or are you indifferent to race? Is there systemic racism, or is the media only showing us juicy stories? What are your experiences with law enforcement, good or bad?

Joseph Smith | @jsmithiii | smith@eatworkplayclt.com

COO of EatWorkPlay, Taco Lover, and Jeep Enthusiast.