1st off Happy New Years Everyone!!!!!!
Tony Harris decided to connect with the youth by talking to some high school students about "snitching." He mentions to them the Derrion Albert case. A sad case of a honor roll student who was beaten to death by a group of kids, and instead of someone going to get help, folks just decided to record the fight so they could put it on youtube for entertainment purposes. The sad part was, he wasn't the target of the fight, he was just walking by, and get swept up in the whole hot mess.
Thankfully the community center close to where this happened had surveillance cameras to film the whole thing, because otherwise there would be no suspects, as it appears no one wanted to snitch. I try to understand this mentality. I do understand instances of not snitching, I really do. I understand that in some instances if you snitch to the police, the police won't offer you protection and you are open to retaliation. Then there is to not snitch just to uphold some type of code and not be a rat. This is ridiculous, most people in life do not live the life of the men in "Goodfellas" or of prison folk. I also find the concept of "jumping" cowardly. Take on a person one on one if you so big and bad ass to fight someone.
These kids in the video echo the same sentiment about snitching, which to me is silly. One fool said they are part of his clique. Really you hang out with some folks bound for prison and you are ok with it? Where the hell are your parents? Then we blame hip hop for the "no snitching" mentality. The problem with that is, not all hip hop is about not snitching. I know these kids know if they get into trouble, Lil' Wayne is not going to go down with them.
Now on a more serious note, Mr. Harris asked a kids a legitimate question. How many of them trusted police officers to handle information. None of them did. That to me is where we really need to focus. If they are like me, their limited experiences with police officers probably aren't all that positive. Sometimes I think the role of the police is to harass and annoy, not protect and serve. Even my husband has been pulled over by police without cause, trying to find something on him or a reason to search his car. I should not my husband and I have never been to jail, we don't typically do illegal things (OK sometimes I speed, I will admit), but our experiences with police officers have not been to be protected by the police officers, but rather as if they are annoyed with us. He then encourages the kids to try to foster a relationship with police, but I would personally find that hard to do as a 33 year old with negative experiences, I can't expect some teens to do the same.
Case and point, when I was 19 or 20 I was rear ended by a drunk driver at a stop sign. The accident was obviously the man's fault. He tried to flee from the scene. If not for the lady behind him witnessing the accident, I would have been screwed. I was upset and the officers were getting annoyed with me because I was freaked out. They then tried to jump my father who immediately came to the scene of the accident when I called him because I guess a tall black man running towards me is scary. It took the police department weeks to even finish the report to submit to insurance, and they treated me as if I were the criminal, while the drunk driver was so incoherent and out of it. They were very rude. I didn't plan for a drunk man to rear end me, he did, and if he wasn't drunk I would have treated this as a normal accident, exchanged insurance and left the police out of it. The lady behind us called the police, and they came pretty much immediately. So the time I needed the police, they acted like they were pissed off I took time out of their day to deal with a drunk driver. My other experiences with the police were just general harassment and annoyance. It always takes about two to three police cars to pull me over for a speeding ticket, so I try my best not to get them (I haven't had one in six years, knock on wood). I've been pulled over in front of my own house for looking suspicious while driving in my own neighborhood. So in my experience the police are nothing but a waste of time and energy, they don't really give a damn about their actual role, but that is just my opinion. I am sure there are wonderful officers out there who really do care about their jobs, I just haven't met them yet.
Mr. Harris then asks if the kids trusts their school officials and teachers, which came with a mixed response. I guess it depends on the teachers. Some teachers they felt would,some wouldn't. That is to be expected, there are some great teachers out there and some really piss poor ones who are there essentially for the pay check.
Overall these kids showed apathy and essentially feel snitching causes more harm than good. I unfortunately can understand that, but where do we draw the line, shouldn't someone have come to the aid of Derrion Albert, at least tried to call the police? How do people foster better relationships with police officers, better yet, how do police officers better foster relationships with the people?