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Stereotyping of Black Men Killed Terence Crutcher

by Todd A. Smith

 

 

What Does a Big, Bad Dude Look Like?


“Shots fired.  We have one suspect down,” said an unidentified Tulsa, Okla. police officer.


“That looks like a big, bad dude,” said an unidentified officer hovering over the scene in a helicopter.


There are at least two problems with the aforementioned statements.


Since when is having a stalled vehicle a crime, therefore how could someone with just a stalled car be a suspect?


And what does a big, bad dude look like?


Unfortunately for 40-year-old Terence Crutcher, officers must have thought a big, bad dude looked like him.


Approximately a thousand miles away in the New York-New Jersey area, Ahmad Khan Rahami was suspected of injuring 29 people by setting off pressure-cooking bombs in New York City and New Jersey.


When officers approached him asleep in Linden, N.J. a shootout ensued.


However, Rahami was not killed like Terence Crutcher.


Unlike Terrence Crutcher, Rahami was a suspect for actual crimes.


Rahami was a fairly big dude too.


Oh, he must be alive because he did not look like a bad dude.


Makes sense?  Not really.  


Nevertheless, those same stereotypes are in play often when the police stop a person of a certain color.


But for some reason people do not feel like race plays a factor in American society.


Racism, prejudice and stereotypes are just a figment of the Black community’s imagination many say.


The Black community only wants a handout and to play the race card some say.


Unfortunately, in life and in a card game, one can only play the hand that they are dealt.


And the hand that the Black community is often dealt has its hands on a gun and is wearing a police uniform.


Although it is baffling that some do not feel that racism exists, the Black community should not be surprised.


In 1968, four years after the passage of the Civil Rights Act and three years after the Voting Rights Act, 73 percent of White Americans believed Blacks were treated the same as Whites according to a Gallup poll.


That poll was taken in the same year that Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated.


That poll was taken when Black people were still being lynched because of the color of their skin.


That poll was taken in a year when America endured one of the most racist presidential elections the country had ever seen until this current election season.


In 2016, some Americans still believe Blacks are still treated the same as White Americans.


Dyalnn Roof killed nine Black church members in South Carolina because of his hatred for Blacks.


However, the police officers that arrested Roof did not kill him even though he was a suspected killer.


They arrested him peacefully and took him to a Burger King on the way to the jailhouse because he was hungry.


His treatment had nothing to do with race some will say.


He was treated like a human being despite being a very, very bad dude.


But he was rather small, so he didn’t fit the big, bad dude stereotype.


James Holmes shot and killed 12 innocent people at an Aurora, Colo. movie theater in 2012.


He was arrested peacefully, not because he was White, but because he wasn’t a big, bad dude.


Both, Roof and Holmes were suspects in multiple murders but that did not matter.


Terence Crutcher’s only “crime” that day was that his SUV broke down on his way home from community college classes.


He was a father of four trying to better his life and the lives of his children.


But, he was a big dude.


So, he must have deserved to die, right?


The problem is, people who are not suspects are down and dead.


And the real big, bad dudes are still alive to tell their story.

This article was published on Friday 23 September, 2016.
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