Home | About | Donate

10 Rules to Help Black Boys and Girls Survive


10 Rules to Help Black Boys and Girls Survive

Marian Wright Edelman

Democracy cannot breathe, and will die, if those enjoined to protect and uphold the law snuff it out unjustly and without consequence. Justice cannot breathe when Black men and boys and women and girls are routinely profiled, abused, arrested, and killed with impunity by police officers. We must stop this. We must protect the lives of our young people—all of them. God did not make two classes of people or children and America continues to do so at its peril.


This is a very good article, that succinctly and articulately points out the problems with the cop culture here in the United States. The cop culture needs a radical overhaul, but a change in our society is the only real way to get that kind of badly-needed overhaul.

Until there is a change in our cop culture, and our society, those ten rules that’re outlined in the article will have to be followed, if only for one’s own survival and safety when dealing with cops or other law enforcement people. These rules are good rules for anybody to follow when dealing with being pulled over by police, regardless of age, race, gender, socioeconomic status, ethnicity, or color.


Yes, they are good rules if one’s view of the future is "imagin[ing] a jackboot stamping on a human face—forever.”, as Orwell said.

Do you think that our racist police state is going to come to an end on its own accord??? Is ANYTHING worth fighting for to you overly comfortable liberals???


That’s kind of a nasty, condescending attitude you’ve got there, Yunzer. Nobody’s disputing that the cop who pulled Sandra Bland over acted in an egregiously unprofessional and abusive manner towards Ms. Bland. Nor is anybody disputing the fact that blacks and other non-whites are disproportionately at the receiving end of police brutality. Yet, whites on the lower end of the socioeconomic spectrum are also at risk for police brutality. It doesn’t happen as often to poor whites, but it happens, nonetheless.

Marian Wright Edelman is right, however, when she suggests that blacks be careful when they’re dealing with cops and other law enforcement people for a reason: their own survival and safety.

What’s so wrong about saying that those are good rules for anybody to follow, regardless of who they may be, what they look like, or what their walk of life is? Nothing as far as I’m concerned.


You missed my point. If everybody follows these rules of (dignity-destroying) submission, change will never happen. Only disobedience of authority creates social change toward freedom - and the police are the point-men of authority. If you have been to any kind of protest action, you realize that defiance to state oppression will mean the police will come after you - if you just submit to the cops, you might as well stay home.

The event in Cleveland yesterday, where BLM Conference goers confronted some cops and “unarrested” a 14 year old kid - some got pepper sprayed, and there was the risk of deadly force - is how civil-disobedient action is done.


You’re missing my point, Yunzer. Marian Wright Edelman, a prominent African-American leader, as well as a leading advocate for children (she heads the Children’s Legal Defense Fund.), has a strong point when she says that it’s a good idea to be polite, and not get too sassy with the police when they’re stopped, for whatever reason. I think she should’ve pointed out, however, that those are good rules for everybody to go by, especially in this post-9/11 era, where the militarization of police and “Homeland Security” exist, and people, especially law enforcement people, have become much more twitchy. The “If you see something, say something” bit has gone way, way too far, imho.

Also, if one looks at the whole history of the United States, plenty of people have engaged in Civil Disobedience, which doesn’t necessarily create freedom. The same is true in Europe, as well as the United States. After the late 1960’s, both here in the United States and in Europe, much more repressive Right-wing regimes were elected into power. One has to ask why.


Some things are more important than personal individual comfort and security. Would a single union have ever organized with your submissive attitude?


Oh, so you’re saying that anybody who doesn’t get involved in a cause and/or take the risk of being arrested, jailed, beat up, or possibly worse is too pre-occupied with their own personal comfort? That’s your opinion, Yunzer. To me, no cause has ever been worth those kinds of risks to my limb, life, overall health, and freedom for me. If you’ve got a problem with that, so be it.


Hey listen, Yunzer! I stand by what I’ve said here. One doesn’t have to defend and justify the often-unprofessional conduct and behavior of cops, especially towards poor and/or non-white people to realize that those rules are sound rules that are good rules for anybody, regardless of who s/he is, to follow when dealing with cops and other law-enforcement people. The fact that they were put out by a prominent African-American woman (Marian Wright Edelman, who heads the Children’s Legal Defense Fund.) speaks volumes right there, imho. Regardless of who one is or what they look like, it is never a good idea to smart-mouth cops or other law-enforcement people.