ThinkNow recently conducted a nationally representative survey of 200 Black men and 100 police officers. We asked them for their assessment of the current policing crisis and suggestions for possible solutions. It was important for us to limit our focus to only Black men and police officers because Black men are most affected by racial bias in policing and police officers are in a position to shed light on contributing factors. The full report is enlightening and can be used by politicians, activists, and law enforcement to enact change. The most compelling findings, however, are the responses given by Black men to a simple question:

“What do you wish people in America understood about being a Black man?”

The 200 responses were coded and summarized in the report but no analysis or commentary on our end can do justice to the responses when read firsthand. Therefore, while we will dive deeper into the results in future blog posts, we feel it’s important for you to see what Black men have to say before we go any further.  Below are the first ten responses. To see all 200 responses, click here.

What do you wish people in America understood about being a Black man?

  • “Black men are living in fear of losing their life. Lack of opportunities economically keeping them to do better. Miseducation of the black men keeping them from moving on to the future.”
  • “Respect and like each other.”
  • “I hope people understand the continued racial separation of being black from being white.”
  • “That he is mentally strong and possess a strong sense of wisdom. That he brings a lot to the table.”
  • “That racism is institutionalized and pervasive. The American systems are all skewed against minorities. Black men and women are tired of being victimized by built-in societal racism. The perceived futility of seeking change is taking more and more black people to a dangerous tipping point.”
  • “The playing field isn’t level.”
  • “It requires patience.”
  • “Because black is not being against your culture, tradition, and belief. Being black does not mean we are different.”
  • “The discrimination and the misunderstanding of our culture.”
  •  “We can’t breathe.”