May 012015
 
Ken Sullivan

Ken Sullivan

by Kenneth Sullivan…

In this age of tweet, Instagram and sound bites, we have learned to shorten our opinions to a limited number of characters. This means we do not give complete thoughts in our public opinions. I read in the Citizen a comment that inferred that Black Folks are inherently bad people. This is not true. The fact is the police in Key West, and nationwide, target Black Folks; particularly young Black males. That’s why there appears to be more crime in the black community, making it seem that crime is rampant and the folks are just criminal minded and bad. Again, not true. There are criminals everywhere, but every time a white man does something wrong, he is not held up as a representative of his entire race.

Obviously, the author of the opinion is not Black, and does not live in or frequent the neighborhood, or he/she would have a different life experience and would not make the assumptions they wrote about. They would know what it is like to have your family and friends stopped, searched and questioned for no reason other than being Black, or being in the wrong place at the right time to be accosted by the law. When you are the target of law enforcement you are more likely to have encounters. More encounters means more opportunity for you to become a victim of violence at the hands of the police who, in my experience, do not ask you nicely to do anything when they decide to arrest. The police approach folks in certain areas with a “them against us” posture from the outset. I have never heard of a sting operation being conducted at the downtown bars and restaurants, only Bahama Village & Stock Island are targeted for these types of operations.

Ken and Priscilla Sullivan

Ken and Priscilla Sullivan

In my experience being a “Black Man in America”, I have been stopped many times and many of the encounters were unnecessary and clearly racial profiling. (When was the last time you were stopped and searched by the cops in your own neighborhood when you have already shown the cop your ID that clearly has your address on it?) When a cop pulls me over, in my mind I think this could be it. I could end up beat down, locked up or dead (unprovoked). The officer may take my standing up for my rights as aggression or he may take his frustrations out on me because he is having a bad day. I have to give instructions to our kids, friends and family on how to act and what to say if they are approached by law enforcement just to visit the neighborhood. If you are not Black you will never know the feeling that dealing with the police can get you hurt.

Understand, the problem in Key West is the same problem nationwide. That problem is we do not know each other. This can be fixed. All we need to do is: 1st take the cops out of the cars, partner them up and have them walk the beat. Make sure they interact with the people who live in the neighborhood and we all must live by the golden rule: to do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

Just a note for the record: The neighborhood commonly called Bahama Village is no longer a majority minority community. It is 50/50 at best but this does not change the way the cops act towards the residents.

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Ken Sullivan

  4 Responses to “GUEST COLUMN: Black in Key West (or anywhere in America)”

  1. Thank you Mr. Sullivan I am educated by your words and experience. Martha Huggins

  2. I second what Ms Huggins said. It seems to me that the minute a black person points out injustice and or mistreatment by mostly white authority the white knee jerk reaction is invariably defensive or outright denial. It is automatic. It never seems to cross their minds that black folks have legitimate grievances and aren’t making it up!

    White Americans tend to be either in denial and truly believe there is no such thing as racism or are racist and fine with it because everyone they know and associate with is also racist or they actually really are not racist and have lots of black friends and mixed families. Which one are you?

    • Alex, as usual, you are dead-on (and you already know which one I am)! If you still have my number, give me a call. Got some questions for you on the CRB that we all worked to get instituted. I’m living in North Charleston, SC now (sure you’ve seen the Walter Scott video) and you know I HAD to get involved! Thought I had your number, but when I got my new phone, all the contacts didn’t transfer. If you don’t, leave me a message on my blog how to reach you. Say hey to Anna for me!

  3. Why do the police need to patrol the streets at all? Do they actually prevent any real crime from happening? Don’t you think if the black POTUS and the black AG were to put out a call that they would no longer tolerate the racial profiling exhibited by the police departments across the US and stated that there would be prosecution to the fullest extent of the law for any officer or team suspected of such acts, that this behavior would stop? Don’t you think they allow this behavior and actually instigate it to perpetuate the divide and conquer strategy they so love, to keep everyone from examining the real problems we face because of these criminals? Just look how Alex falls for this strategy at every opportunity…once again mixing up police brutality with white privilege bs. What’s your solution Alex? Should every able bodied white woman give birth to black babies to prove that she is not a racist? Wake up…I’m tired of this stupidity.