A Few Bad Apples Spoil the Whole Bunch

Dispelling a Bad Faith Argument about Policing

Allison Gaines
Aug 6, 2020 · 6 min read
Photo Credit | The author Allison Gaines created and owns this photo | made via Canva

The phrase, , denies Black people’s experiences as invalid. It is a cruel way of saying, “It’s not that bad.” They claim these acts of violence are outliers. However, the force is consistent with a pattern of behavior we can trace back to the origins of this country. Furthermore, the saying goes, “A few bad apples spoil the whole bunch.” So, if the people defending police use this phrase, they should not take it out of context.

Police officers, trained as warriors, must fight against the enemy. In America, African Americans are all citizens. Thus, it seems bizarre to place warriors amongst us. This decision appears less odd when you understand the history of policing.

There is no coincidence that modern policing emphasizes control over BIPOC communities.

Those who swore an oath to protect and serve often find joy in oppressing Black people and people of color. Too many white people are in denial of this fact.

Yet, as Chauvin looked into that camera, that became America’s eye, he never looked away. No shame existed because, to him, that level of force was acceptable. And the other officers dropped their knees on his back, contributing to his inability to breathe. The onlooking officer, the alleged good apple, did not feel inclined to save George Floyd’s life. How good can an apple headed officer be if they watch a man die?

The racist system turns a color-blind eye to police officers’ violent acts, but it does not make them act this way. If there are only a few bad apples, why do those good apples remain silent?

In the case of Breonna Taylor, officers failed to complete their police report. The officers failed to report her injuries even though she died due to shots fired by those same officers who entered the home using a no-knock warrant. Because Black women are at the bottom of the totem pole, they consistently receive no justice.

Law And Order — The Dog Whistle

White supremacists often use the phrase, Law and Order to scare other white people about BIPOC communities. They want to dredge up fear of Black backlash.Since the abolition of slavery, many feared that Black people would hurt white people in some grand revenge scheme. However, this never happened and was never part of the plan for Liberation. Black people wanted freedom, not violence for the sake of violence. It is dehumanizing to make that claim.

Now, we want the same respect granted to others within our society: our Civil Rights. Black people, time and time again tell the community that officers violate their civil liberties. To deny our cries as invalid is to deny our humanity. To fear Black people is to hate Black people and that disrespect is what causes uprisings from sea to shining sea.

The racists flipped sides politically because of the crux of Nixon’s argument. They want to believe that Black people are dangerous and that strong white men must protect them. Until white people decide not to call the police on the young black children playing basketball, using the community pool, walking home with skittles and stop seeing Black people as inherently criminal, the conditions will not change. Until we can admit that increased police presence does not make us safer, officers will continue to abuse and kill Black men and women.

Chauvin choked George Floyd to death while the whole world watched. Eight minutes and forty-six seconds seemed too much to bear for our worn hearts.

Do not look away. America has a bad reputation for looking away for the gory parts. Despite America’s supposed reckoning on race, I contend that it is just a show. Even though white people saw the video, marched in the street, and opened the dialogue, it begs the question, “How committed are our allies”?

Will they continue to look as the abuses continue, or will the fad dissipate, leaving the BIPOC community holding the hot potato?

You can put on a shirt, talk to your friends about supporting BIPOC communities, or write your heart out about race. However, white Americans can look away. Black people do not have that privilege.

Recently, I watched the mini-series, . It hurt so much to see those Black young men beaten, scared and intimidated by police officers. The Central Park Five, now known as , were wrongfully convicted. I wanted to reach through time and be a kind voice for them.

My Message to My Black Brothers and Sisters:

White Silence is Violence

We cannot escape the uneasiness of it all. The support has been kind. But forgive me if I doubt the authenticity of it all. Since when did white Americans feel this deep sense of consistent solidarity?

It seems to feign credulity to say that passive onlookers care about Black people. Fighting against racism takes patience and persistence because you may never see the change you want in your lifetime. However, we must rise from the depths of our dark past.

Those who condemn the riots in the street should consider Martin Luther King Jr’s words about moderate white allies. Black people should not choke on their tears; they have every right to fight, be angry, and defend themselves when attacked.

A few bad apples spoil the bunch. Consider the bunch ruined then. American policing as an institution has failed to keep neighborhoods safe, de-escalate, respect the humanity of those they swore to protect, and be transparent with the community. It is past time for Americans to recognize the consistent disrespect towards BIPOC communities and stop it at any cost. Allies should buckle up. We are in for a long ride.


Hansen, |. (2020, June 03). Slave Patrols: An Early Form of American Policing. Retrieved August 04, 2020, from https://lawenforcementmuseum.org/2019/07/10/slave-patrols-an-early-form-of-american-policing/

King, M. L., Jr. (1963). Letter from a Birmingham Jail [King, Jr.]. Retrieved August 04, 2020, from https://www.africa.upenn.edu/Articles_Gen/Letter_Birmingham.html

Vitale, A. S. (2018). The end of policing. London, UK: Verso.


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Allison Gaines

Written by

Essayist, Poet, Activist, and Scholar, EIC of CULTURED, Founder of #WEOC, with bylines at Momentum & ZORA ♥︎ www.allisonthedailywriter.com


Outstanding stories objectively and diligently selected by 40+ senior editors on ILLUMINATION

Allison Gaines

Written by

Essayist, Poet, Activist, and Scholar, EIC of CULTURED, Founder of #WEOC, with bylines at Momentum & ZORA ♥︎ www.allisonthedailywriter.com


Outstanding stories objectively and diligently selected by 40+ senior editors on ILLUMINATION

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