A St. Louis police officer explained the complexity of being a black cop Sunday, describing it as a “slave serving two masters.”
St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department officer Cedrix Hendrix became an officer to help his community, but realized it could be a complex goal especially when working in a predominantly black neighborhood, he explained in an op-ed for the New Pittsburgh Courier.
Hendrix, a black man, is torn between enforcing the law as an officer and trying his best to help other black people who ask for more “leniency.”
“A black policeman can at times feel like a slave serving two masters, particularly when he is policing a predominantly Black community. On one hand, he is sworn to uphold and enforce the law, as expected by the department that employs him and the government agencies he represents,” Hendrix wrote. “On the other, he is asked to offer leniency to the brothers and sisters, because ‘the game is rigged’ and we don’t want to ruin the lives of young African Americans by ‘putting them into the system’ at an early age.”
Not only did he feel torn while on the job, Hendrix also felt ostracized by his own community and white conservative officers that he worked with.
“A Black policeman is shunned by conservative White officers for sympathizing with more liberal points of view offered by the Black community. That same officer is shunned by certain members of the Black community for wearing the blue uniform, as it leads to the necessity to write tickets and make arrests in said community,” Hendrix wrote. “By wanting to do no more than serve the community, I became an ‘Uncle Tom’ or a ‘sellout’ in the eyes of those I sought to help.”
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