One of the essays I included my Minority Tech book was titled "A Code of Conduct for Black Men". I included guidelines for the areas of relationships, fatherhood, economics, and health. In light of recent killings of Black men by representatives of law enforcement, I felt the need to create a specific set of rules.
We need rules because what we've done is clearly not working. We've seen too many examples of Black people being killed by law enforcement representatives with little to no consequences. I also do not see any effective new ideas being proposed. Holding our hands/signs up and saying, "Don't shoot me!" clearly doesn't work. Pulling our pants up, wearing suits, or any other forms of respectability politics will only result in well-dressed corpses. Prayers and petitions are ignored by people with real power. Violent resistance is also ineffectual because we can't win against a militarized police force.
My rules are not meant for casual interactions with law enforcement. If they don't bother us, then we don't need to bother them. These rules are meant for the specific situations where confrontation cannot be avoided. I use the acronym G-H-O-S-T so that the rules are easy to remember and represent what we want to happen to the needless deaths of Blacks by members of law enforcement: disappear.
Here is the Black Code for Law Enforcement (aka The GHOST Rules):
Groups - Always travel in groups of two or more. We are extremely vulnerable when we travel alone. While groups do not guarantee safety, they increase the likelihood that at least one participant in a confrontation will survive to provide witness testimony. This avoids the outcome where only the only person who lives to tell the story of what happened is the law enforcement representative.
Hostility - Assume hostility from the law enforcement representative unless presented evidence to the contrary. You have to assume that the law enforcement representative thinks that you have done something wrong unless they act in a friendly way towards you. However, even when presented with friendliness, continue to keep your guard up.
Order - If confronted by law enforcement, remain orderly, calm, and do not become combative. Just because you encounter hostility does not mean that you must become hostile yourself. Refer to the law enforcement representative as "Officer". Also, everyone in the group should mentally note the name and badge number of the officer. Finally, when asked questions by the law enforcement representative, don't get emotional. Simply respond with facts. Only provide enough information to directly answer the question and nothing more.
Showtime - We travel in groups because we need at least one person to record the confrontation. Ideally, this is someone who the law enforcement representative is not directly addressing. All members of the group (other than the one being directly addressed) should use mobile devices to immediately record the event. If challenged by the officer to stop recording, repeatedly assert your right to record the actions of the police in public spaces.
Transmit - The footage recorded of the confrontation should immediately be uploaded to an online video repository after the confrontation ends. If one or more Black people are killed by law enforcement representatives during the confrontation, immediately flood social and traditional media with positive images of the victim. Also, friends and family members should print out 8x11 pictures of the deceased and bring them to rallies or show them on TV. This avoids the outcome where the only pictures of the victims are those chosen by law enforcement or the media. If approached by the media for comment about the death, repeatedly use the term "injustice". Make sure you provide the name and badge number of the law enforcement representative involved in the incident. All answers should point out that the outcome of the confrontation is indicative of the unjust system that Black people live under in America.
The GHOST Rules will provide the guidelines we need to reduce the number of Blacks who are killed by law enforcement representatives. By providing our own evidence that can be presented at trials and by controlling the story as it is presented by the media, we can let members of law enforcement know that killing Black people will result in consequences that they want to avoid.