Some police officers are awful at their jobs, but my boyfriend, who is a cop, isn't one of them.
I see many people posting on Twitter and Facebook expressing sheer outrage about these sad incidents. I agree it's truly terrible that both of these black men were fatally shot by police officers. Watching the footage of each altercation pains me. I feel for their families.
I agree with most of the social media posts I see, but I skip over the ones that stereotype police officers and bash them. Not all cops are racist. Not all cops act on fear, and not all of them are afraid.
Most of my family members have met my boyfriend, who graduated from America's most prestigious police academy this year. But some of my family, including my aunt, haven't met him.
My aunt is African-American, and I have two adorable 4-year-old cousins that she and my uncle adopted from Ghana. When I told my aunt that my boyfriend is a cop, she was quick to judge him. She has already drawn several conclusions about him based on recent events.
I don't blame her. Police brutality is real. According to a Washington Post count, 122 black Americans were shot and killed by the police in 2016 so far, and it's only July. I don't know how many deaths in that number were warranted and how many weren't. Either way, it's heartbreaking.
But underneath her judgements was stereotyping. And that's upsetting. If my aunt tells me police officers don't know how to deal with black communities, like the one where my white boyfriend works, isn't she also stereotyping him?
These are just things I think about while I'm listening to people talk about me dating a police officer. I try not to defend him too much. Because I can't open my mouth about it.
Sometimes I'll hug my boyfriend and think it could be the last time I ever hug him. Cops die, too. His job is dangerous. He's putting himself in danger every day to protect and help people. Most people run away from danger; he has to run towards it.
All my aunt knows about my boyfriend is that he's a police officer from out of state. But I know why he's on the police force, and it's for all the right reasons. Yes, some cops might be motivated by systematic racism to act against a black victim for the wrong reasons. Not my boyfriend.
My boyfriend is one of the good ones, and guess what? The good ones rarely make the news.