I am a white male who grew up in the mostly white suburbs of New Orleans attending all white parochial schools until 1977 when I graduated from high school. My only run-ins with law enforcement were due to a lead foot and I never had reason to fear police. In my 20s, I didn’t really give much thought to how people of color might view police, although I was aware that, historically, law enforcement had supported segregation, often violently, like at the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma.
As I have gotten older, seen the wider world, and made friends of other ethnicities, I’ve become a little more sensitive to how black members of my community can have different experiences with the same law enforcement officers that I have never had reason to worry about. Over the last couple of years, that awareness has expanded further as we have seen horrific videos of black men and sometimes boys beaten after being subdued or shot by police officers while running away. I still had hopes that at least the police in my city and the cities around it weren’t the sort to do that.