There are thousands of McKinneys in the United States. Places where a minority population of blacks (who are mostly ignored and disrespected) are living in a community that's overwhelming populated by privileged whites. I grew up in one so I know it all too well.
I remember as a high school teen, my black girlfriends and I were denied entrance to more than one party that we were invited to in white "gated" communities. Our white classmates didn't have a problem getting in, even if they didn't live there.
You can easily see the truth of this reality we faced as youngsters by looking at what transpired in the McKinney video. In the video, the white kids are allowed to stand around unbothered (whether they were residents or not) while every black child in sight was told to leave or detained.
Here are the problems I see with the McKinney communities of the world and how black people in those communities can solve them (if they are serious about true solutions that is; marching brings awareness to an issue, but rarely does it effect real change):
1) Learn, Know and Be Ready to Quote the Law
When black people find themselves in situations like what happened in McKinney, rarely do they know their rights. For example, I don't know of any law that says a person can be arrested for "talking back." Yet this white officer still placed a young black girl under arrest for doing just that.
White people talk back to the police all the time and walk away unharmed. Why? Well, because of white privilege of course. But also because they know their constitutional rights.
One way that black lawyers and judges can help solve the problem of police misconduct in black communities is to offer free courses for parents and their kids to learn and memorize the most applicable laws of their state and town, so that they will know exactly what to say and do when in these situations.
Yelling "you can't do this to me!" is a lot less effective than calmly stating "Officer, according to section ABC of the state law, I have the right to XYZ."
2) Withhold Financial Support from Non-Black Businesses Who Do Not Stand with You
Community members held a protest and march in McKinney to bring attention to police brutality. People from all over the country came together to call for justice.
But I wonder, after the march was over, where did all those protesters eat? Where did they shop? Where did they sleep?
I wouldn't be surprised to learn that they went right to McKinney area businesses and gave them some money.
How can we be taken seriously if we continue to financially support people who say they don't want us around? Which brings me to solution #3...
3) Black People Must Start and Support Their Own Businesses in McKinney Communities
There's a saying, "the best revenge is massive success."
The best revenge is NOT to complain and show your outrage.
The best revenge is NOT to fight and argue back and forth with those who hate you (complete waste of time).
The best revenge is NOT to insult racist whites the same way that they do, coming up with creative names like "mayonnaise on wonder bread."
The best revenge is to be SUCCESSFUL on your own. To be independent.
Black people, both young and old, have to finally move out of the mentality of consuming and into the mentality of owning and operating. Communities like McKinney, as well as communities that have a large population of blacks MUST encourage and support black business ownership.
Now I realize that this is easier said than done, but it CAN be done. The pioneers who established Black Wall Streets directly after SLAVERY did it, so why can't we in 2015? With all the resources at our disposal, why is this such a challenge?
This is where black people who have a financial background and small business knowledge can assist, if they really want to help effect change.
Every community should have a black run non-profit organization that has a financial lawyer or an advocate who knows the business/zoning laws and regulations of the town, a small business educator (similar to what is offered at SBDCs), and someone with connections to financial sources, such as CDFIs.
Smart and resourceful black people in those communities should be encouraged to work in connection with this non-profit organization to start up their own convenience stores, food restaurants and other essential businesses.
Black people who own property should grow their own food on that land. That will reduce the need to shop at grocery stores. If the black people in a community don't have land, they can chip in to buy a small communal plot and split the crop or sell it at a farmer's market in their own neighborhoods. Successful black farmers and growers can help by entering communities and heading up these efforts.
If there are items you need that are sold by non-black businesses in your "McKinney community," buy them online instead. There are plenty of black-owned businesses operating online who have pristine customer service. If you're serious about change, you can wait 3-5 days for your hair product to arrive instead of buying it from a hair shop run by Asian owners who don't like, respect or support black people.
The point here is self-sufficiency. As long as you continue to funnel your dollars into non-black owned businesses in neighborhoods like McKinney (where many of the business owners probably agree with that police officer's actions) they will not respect, acknowledge or listen to you. They just want your money, and then for you to leave their premises promptly!
4) Plant More Seeds of Self-Respect and 'Knowledge of Self' in Young Black Children
As a disclaimer to this point, I am not suggesting that the young teens in McKinney did not have respect for themselves and property. In fact, from what I saw, they were very well-mannered, polite and respectful.
But I do think that black children in general need to learn more about self-respect, self-love and knowledge of self, to give them a better perception of who THEY ARE as human beings.
They need to learn their history -- not just the part about how blacks were whipped as slaves, but the part about how George Washington Carver and Madame CJ Walker became well-respected entrepreneurs in their communities. When they have a better perception of themselves and each other, they will let go of notions of white supremacy. They will love and respect each other. They will be more motivated to build up their communities rather than to be apathetic about things that go on.
Truth be told, whites in towns like McKinney feel comfortable treating black children (and adults for that matter) like dirt because they don't think we even care about ourselves or our own communities. That's the prevailing narrative that is being spread about black people in this country. That police officer in McKinney and the civilian white man who was "assisting" him didn't even consider that the young black girl they were attacking might have a family, mother, father, or brother who cares a WHOLE lot about her.
5) The Black and Brown Kids in McKinney Need a Beautiful, Well Run and Managed Pool of Their Own
The first problem that I noticed when I viewed the McKinney Pool Party video was that the black kids had to enter predominately white areas like McKinney in order to have nice things.
Why can't black people have nice things in their own part of town? Why do they have to venture to potentially hostile parts of town in order to have teenaged fun?
People have suggested that someone throw these kids a big pool party, complete with their favorite musicians. That sounds like a nice idea, but then what? What about next summer? What about the summer after that? What about the generation of McKinney black children after that?
These kids need a long-term solution. A quality, well-managed pool (and other services for kids) inside of their own community. A place where their white friends will wish they could come to more. Strict rules must be enforced and it has to be kept CLEAN by community members.
But again, keep in mind, when a community pool becomes a dump, that isn't the "white man's" fault. That is a reflection of the collective mentality of the community. If black people want nice things, they have to be willing to set boundaries, guidelines and rules for kids and adults to maintain those nice things. Trusted black organizers who are natural leaders can help by organizing, maintaining and cleaning up community pools and other public services that are frequented by black kids.
6) Keep Recording
It's clear that America's "justice" department doesn't really want to convict police officers, even when they're caught on camera committing crimes, but there is still value to recording these incidents.
For one, it creates a record of these cases that will never go away. 100 years from now, this police officer will still have a recording in history of himself mistreating a 14-year-old girl in a bathing suit. And secondly, even if a criminal case isn't pursued against a particular officer, a video is still strong evidence to use in a civil trial to collect money for pain and suffering. Again, money talks and BS walks -- if enough civil monetary cases are filed and won, cities will eventually be *forced* to do something about rogue racist officers who choose to mistreat black people.
7) Encourage Unity
As disturbed as I was watching an innocent young black girl thrown around by a 200+ pound white man, one part of the video gave me some hope.
It was the part when her friends ran to her assistance and risked joining her on that ground. Both her female counterparts and a few of the black boys tried to help her. Those boys risked getting beat up or shot for their friend.
Black people must be more unified if any of these aforementioned solutions are to work. We seem to spend more time arguing and fighting with each other in recent times (often in public) than loving and supporting each other. I do see a LOT of black women putting themselves out there in the name of the black community, but they can't do it alone. Unity, understanding and action is needed ACROSS THE BOARD. Women and men, young people and seniors.
Will these solutions be implemented tomorrow? Probably not, but you can't begin to take action without a plan. Hopefully these ideas will inspire more black community leaders and members to explore and implement real solutions. Real solutions that will make the black children of this and future generations feel more empowered, valued and safe.