Minority Popo. Black Cop. Our antihero has heard all the slurs related to his job and to the color of his skin. With these two traits combined, he angers #blacklivesmatters protestors and white policemen alike. After being harassed and mis-identified as a random street thug, the officer decides to take vigilante action against the continuous abuse of power toward black people of all stripes. Cory Bowles (best known for his participation in the Canadian TV series, Trailer Park Boys, also formerly part of hip-hop trio Hip Club Groove) has fleshed out a 2016 short, to offer his first feature length film, Black Cop.
The presumption that every black youth is up to no good causes the black community at large to feel afraid. They might get defensive when under unnecessary fire, which leads police to think they are then guilty of some crime. Both sides provoke each other, and the debacle ends in police brutality. Racism causes violence, and usually not the other way around. As much as US government or nightly TV news may have us believe, not every black person is uneducated, troublesome, or trying to provoke a fight. More often than not, a white criminal gets waved away with a gentle gesture while an innocent black fellow tries to buy late night snacks at a convenience store, and gets accused of an unnamed crime. If he’s lucky, he might only have his values and ego destroyed. In more extreme cases, he would face being cuffed and booked. When proven innocent, a mere Well why didn’t you just speak up? is supposed to replace an apology for being character assassinated and tokenized perhaps for one cop’s arrest quota for the day.
Racism provokes hatred, which provokes violence, and results in violence and hatred from the targeted racial group. A cycle that never seems to end. Then some marginalized individuals do take things into their own hands, at the risk of jobs and livelihood. It’s hard to blame Bowles’ main character for some of his actions. There is a morality debate throughout, however. As someone tells Black Cop, if you don’t support something, challenge it. With the state of affairs these days, the film is thought provoking and current.
Screening: Cinema du Parc at 8pm, October 11th, 2017.