Black Cop’s Kid: An Essay by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

Black Cop's Kid cover imageSummary: An essay about racial conflict, the police, and the two worlds that Black police have to confront. 

I do not remember ever having read anything by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. I knew that he was an author and had written a middle-grade series and a mystery series, but I have not previously read those. I picked this up because Alan Jacobs, one of my favorite essayists, recommended it. And because it was available to borrow for kindle and audiobook in the Kindle Unlimited library.

I know broadly who Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is, but I am not a sports fan. I know he was retired. But I had to look him up on Wikipedia to know he is 74 and played in the NBA from 1969 until 1989. I knew he played for the Lakers but didn’t know he was a coach for over a decade after retiring as a player. I didn’t know he grew up in NYC. I didn’t know his father was a cop. I also didn’t know that he has a number of non-fiction books primarily on Black history or memoir.

This essay is enough to convince me that I need to read more of his writing. One of the reasons that I think I have not picked his books up previously is that he frequently collaborates in his writing. Most books have coauthors. This essay does not.

The essay is roughly forty pages and 64 minutes in audio. He grapples with the problems of racism within policing and the difficult but important position that Black cops play. The pressure that Black cops have to not push back against racism or corruption in policing and the distrust that Black cops often have from the broader Black community. His relationship with his father was one where his father did not speak a lot. And so he explores that, as well as his attempts to honor his father’s memory through his own work for justice and in his writing. This type of long-form, somewhat meandering essay, is a style I really like. If you have a kindle or listen to audiobooks, it is cheap or free and worth reading/listening to.

Black Cop’s Kid: An Essay by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Kindle Edition, Audiobook

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