This is not some blurb from a creepy Hulu feature film where someone calls you on the phone breathing heavily and not saying anything. Its worse than that! They talked and said a little too much!
It was one of those weird conversations that when it was over you think, "That is seriously wrong!" and "What is going through that person's head?" It feels like it must be a dream or someone is goofing on you and your not understanding the punchline.
The conversation was pitched as helping you out (i.e. informing you) but contained within it many comparisons of themselves to my family. They are better because they played sports, because they dress a certain way, because they like certain sports teams, etc... We are eccentric and different. I should change my name kind of stuff.
I guess it didn't do much good to say that I also played sports, not only in high-school but also throughout my life. Furthermore, I tried to explain that my kids are Black and we have a different education level and that might create some differences in perception.
It didn't matter what I said. That person was not willing to listen and would ask a question and cut my answers short by talking right over the top of me again. I did slip out they could accept us or not accept us but we simply can't be different for them.
There was no implied bigotry here. This was the stuff that was part of the core meaning of the language.
In many ways I already knew this group was going to cause problems. They lied about a few events by not giving me the information and then told people we didn't want to come. The level of manipulation and dishonesty is beyond anything I have ever experienced in my life.
As suspected, problems did start after that. More lies, false rumors, false police reports, ostracizing of children, community ostracizing, intimidation by a law enforcement officer, and more.... In the right light, that phone call could be taken as a warning...,"Get out of town, you and your kids are not welcome here!"
There were people who coordinated with them. It was mostly their close friends and associates that they played sports with in high school. For the life of me, I can't even imagine people acting on information without any real knowledge. Thinking back I don't believe anyone in this community could say I have ever done anything wrong to them.
While there are some bad actors in the community there have been some unsolicited words of support. A few people have come up and said things like, "You are probably the most interesting man in the county" and "Your kids are so nice and wonderful". "Keep doing what your doing!" support. It's nice to know good people are around.
Unfortunately, my kids don't come up as much anymore. After one of them was harmed, and the environment turned sour, I discouraged interaction with the group of perpetrators. They are going to college now and may be up from time to time but it won't be like before. I tell them keep a low profile. I am concerned being Black and having an aggressive officer out there isn't a good mix.
It is sad though. I don't really see race and religion the way these people do. It shouldn't be a dividing line and it shouldn't give some people the right to hate and act on that hate. Justice should also not be applied to one people and not to another. To me race and religion is just spicing and garnish the main person.
There are others that may have been hurt and so far it doesn't appear much action has been taken to follow up to help them either. Nor doesn't it appear that much action has been taken to protect the community in the future from these behaviors. I would also suspect I would be the last person to be informed.
To me accountability doesn't always mean prosecution. It does mean people come to own their behavior and take responsibility for it. In many cases getting into counseling and dealing with deeper trauma that created the distorted thinking in the first place can help the community in the long run.
In other cases, use of force and illegal behavior must be prosecuted. This becomes very important if we are dealing with a law enforcement official and any potential harm to children. Our Justice System has a responsibility to protect the public and if they can't do that then........I would be at a loss to understand their essential purpose.
Most officers I have met are excellent people but as of yet a "bad apple" has not been held to account and it appears that being a county employee creates some levels of immunity from bad behavior.
So I can't say completely I understand the reasoning and logic used by county officials. Perhaps there isn't enough evidence, maybe we are seen as the "outsiders", or maybe it wouldn't be a popular move for re-election. I can only say that this is concerning from a systems point of view and I have a moral obligation to whisper the truth in the ears of anyone who would be willing to hear it. The only thing the recipients need to do is ask themselves, "What kind of person am I?"