Prison made me fear black people


I grew up poor, not terribly poor – I was able to receive a number of things that many people much worse off than me would never be able to have. Based on where I lived, I was surrounded by many black families, I never had any reason to dislike black people. I had many black friends growing up and therefore had no issue with black people. Years later, I had a desire to join law enforcement and make a change, figured joining Corrections was a foot-in-the-door. After three years as a C.O. and witnessing more violence than I can remember, my heart races around black men walking in a group with other black men. Talking to any black man who talks like a rapper, dresses like one or whatever else sets me on edge to the highest degree. I understand we’re all people. I understand the bias I have but I can’t shake it. The sick part is that part of me doesn’t see the sense in doing so. It makes me feel safe and I feel no desire to change how I think in this regard. I work down in a city and I think that every time a black man passes me I run the possibility of being jumped. I know this is probably some level of PTSD but at the same time it still feels rational.


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