The real problem with #blacklivesmatter:
Inherently and obviously for any non bigot, decent, loving, caring human being, black lives do in fact matter very much.
That stands. Period
My issue is purely and simply the focus on race is a distraction. And it is causing what psychologists would call splitting. It is causing splitting between races. And in a society where many families are multicultural, most social groups are multi-cultural — it is dividing families, it is dividing people from each other. Look at all the arguments on social media. They are not about the power the police should, or should not have, or whether or not they should be held to a higher standard of accountability then they currently are. Which is the real issue, they are about race. To me, it is frankly absurd that we are distracted this way. How is the true problem going to possibly be solved unless we come together, instead of being distracted by what color a victim is or what color the perp is. The real problem is that the uniform the perps are wearing gives them immunity from punishment.
Any one who has half a heart who has ever watched the beating of Reginald Denny (do you even recognize the name — if not ask yourself why) or the aftermath of the Rodney King beating — the footage of the LA Riots will see that this splitting is not creating something positive. It is not healing. It is not correcting the problem. Not at all. It is compounding it. If you haven’t seen the footage of the LA Riots — I challenge you to watch it. It is BRUTAL. The beating of Reginald Denny as at about 14:55 in the footage — the man’s skull was broken in 98 places — just to give you an idea of the brutality.. but the entire 48 minutes of footage is just BRUTAL multiple innocent people brutally beaten. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kzuWr0FYe5Y — and they were beaten for no other reason than the fact that they were the wrong color driving down the street at the wrong time. In a sense, saying the way to solve a horrible event that you believe was motivated by race is to engage in facilitating additional horrible events that are expressly motivated by race.
I have repeatedly faced others who were angry at “white people” and hence angry at me — for the crimes that have been committed against black people. Let me tell you something. As a white person:
- I have been thrown into multiple situations with black on white racism, in fact I was unknowingly brought into what was basically a hate whitey rally at one point — in what would amount to a speakeasy in northeast Philly where if I hadn’t gotten the hell out of there I probably wouldn’t be here today. That is just one instance, yes, but it is something I have dealt with repeatedly in multiple situations.
- I have been targeted by the police — and in other situations — because I was with black people. So yes, I am not denying there are racist cops. There are. And I have absolutely been guilty by association and dealt with white racism, and in no small sense either.
3. I can say completely honestly that I have never made a decision, or even considered the race of another person when doing anything. For me, race is not a factor.
I know the above notations will irritate some, but for anyone that knows me at all, they know #3 is true. I fully understand why you are angry at the way you have been treated. I know why you are angry at how your ancestors have been treated and how that affects aspects of society today. I am angry too. However, I do not deserve to suffer for the sins of other people. No one does. Yes, my skin is white. But focusing on that fact, paying attention to what people’s skin colors are as soon as you walk into a room, does not help the problem. Mistrust and contempt breeds the same.
Saying that this happened to “us” and not “you” — that compounds the problem. I consider myself part of us. Maybe that is my problem. But in my opinion that should be seen as part of the solution not as part of the problem. To see any other human being being beaten, murdered, in a brutal fashion, especially by those we are supposed to trust, the law enforcement, I feel personally offended by it. It should not be happening. The fact that this exact sentiment from me has incited anger from some, frankly, is the problem. That sentiment should be welcomed and encouraged.. The problem with any movement that highlights race is that it creates an us against them. Lets focus on civil rights. Lets focus on equality for all.
How do you get rid of racism? That is the question right. That is what everyone believes they are fighting for. Racism.. is part of a personal belief system. What do I mean by that? I mean like it or not, it has much to do with an individuals upbringing and personal experiences. It is as personally ingrained in an individual as religion. The best way to dissolve racism.. is to not be racist… and to not allow racism directed at you to affect your views on other races, including your own. There is no major movement we can create to cause our law enforcement INDIVIDUALS to include none with any unspoken racial biases.
Or is there? Well again, we are focused on the wrong thing. Where we should be focused is in selection and training of the individuals we choose to allow to enforce our laws. Should the focus be on selecting non- racist individuals to enforce our laws? Well, partially. However, I believe there is a larger issue to focus on (additionally, I believe this national fixation on race has DIVIDED us based on race and done absolutely nothing to bring us together). We should be focused on choosing stable individuals who are guardians rather than warriors. What do I mean by that?
Well, let me say, I am coming from a position as someone who both has many friends in law enforcement, and who has dealt with power hungry cops who have exhibited very inappropriate behavior (for those who are questioning what I mean by inappropriate —while I have had multiple incidents, one example would be, I once had a cop make VERY inappropriate sexual comments during a stop that I believe was simply because I was driving alone with a black man late at night, as he didn’t give a real reason — when I became upset about his inappropriate comments, he and his partner backed of and left, I cite an example because I have had this EXACT discussion with friends in law enforcement and they often believe police officers can do no wrong.. that it is all one-sided propaganda from those that just “do not understand”, trust me law enforcement can do wrong.. just like all white people or all black people aren’t bad.. all cops aren’t bad either.. but the same is true of all cops are not good).
On the side of the cops, they are people, they go home to families and friends who love them and worry about them (I am one of them — I have friends that every time I see something insane on the news in their area I am checking on them), they have split second, difficult decisions to make. I get that. I believe a lot of people really, really, do not. It only takes a split second for someone to pull out a weapon, that you did not know they had, for you to become dead. Period.
Do I believe SOME of what has happened may be due to this factor? Absolutely. However, does this excuse the countless loss of life, due to their mistakes, and the lack of accountability? Absolutely not! Those that took on this role, signed up for the higher degree of responsibility and risk, and should be held accountable as such. Additionally, do I believe that MOST of these instances are due to the pressure the police are under that I have cited above, not a chance. I have seen with my own eyes and personally been affected by too many power hungry cops, who have behaved inappropriately. And as I said, I know quite a few police officer’s personally. In fact, I was having a conversation with a friend who works for law enforcement, about another cop, in another city, that she did not know, I mentioned a sort of disagreement and how I planned on handling it.. nothing bad.. or wrong.. but it would have been a somewhat unpleasant thing for the friend I was speaking about. The friend I was speaking to.. her response.. I don’t know if you want to do that, cops can be very unstable she might do something stupid. My point is, why are so many cops unstable people? There are cops that I know and love as friends, that the fact that they are out there enforcing the law frankly scares me.
I feel as though the real issue is we have set the bar far to low for such a lofty responsibility. In an NPR article, “Be Guardians Not Warriors: Training A New Generation of Police”, Professor John DeCarlo, who coordinates police studies states, “Right now we give cops a test called the MMPI-2, the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory. So we pretty much determine that they’re not psychopaths. I think that’s a low bar.” I would have to agree. (if you want to check out the full article, its available here http://www.npr.org/2015/05/21/408549702/be-guardians-not-warriors-training-a-new-generation-of-police and I think it is a great article, worth checking out) .
I understand then the argument comes that police are needed and if we raise the bar we limit our options, or maybe we would have to have more funding for higher pay. I am not quite sure what the consequences would be for setting the bar higher. We all know there always is some sort of trade off. I would say that currently, the police are often tasked to more focus already on crimes which generate revenue (drug related crimes, traffic related crimes, etc) than to solve robberies, rapes, thefts. Granted, the reasoning is given that solving smaller crimes we often are able to stumble onto solving bigger ones (ie a routine traffic stop can uncover an arsonist who has a warrant out of his arrest but has evaded police). But as a citizen of this country I would rather have a better police force than a bigger one, and I think the country will be better for it. Now that is a movement we can all join together and get behind that will really make a difference.
Just wanted to add an update — I was passed along the info for a great organization who I feel has a logical, step-by-step approach for systematically dealing with this issue. If you would like to be part of the solution, take a look at http://www.joincampaignzero.org/