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The Rules of Engagement-Black Youth

By : Marcus Turner 

I walked outside this morning the sky still dark and looked up and seen two young black boys around the age of 9 running through yards they were obviously having fun and not realizing sort of the rules or sanctions that society has placed for them and their bodies.  

As they non chalantly ran across neighbors yards I couldn’t help to ask myself did they know the rules of engagement, did they know who they were and how society viewed them and how to exist as young black boys when confronted in emergency situations, I wondered if a police car pulled up and seen them hiding how would they as 9 year olds would react and how the police would deal with them. I’m not going lie I seen (Tamar Rice) and flashes of Trayvon Martins pictures in them as they played without a care. 


I thought how easy and effortlessly someone could take that life depending on the narrative, and by demonizing them even in their innocence. I began to think how the paperwork would process and the jurors would be assigned, what attorneys would argue and if the jury would excuse the killer and consider his actions justified. 


A million things ran through my head but either way it goes I couldn’t save the young black boys, I can’t save them from the oppression that they may see, or the profiling they may experience. I could only speak to them but the harsh reality is that even a 9 year old would have to learn through experience that being a black youth in America comes with penalty and a certain level of competence or control that even adults don’t have. 


Life hit me hard as I stood their outside thinking this is why Kaepernick kneeled; he kneeled for the kids also. I had to learn just like the black boys running outside will eventually have to 🏾like the great Tanehisi Coates implied “that being a black Man in America our spirit is housed in our bodies and the only freedom we have is learning how to live freely within our bodies. One day I will have to have that talk with my unborn son. Until then we have to continue to shed light, and gain perspective and push for action for the youth in the future and in memory of those who we have lost.

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