Commentary: Police brutality, racism and politics

Commentary: Police brutality, racism and politics
July 21
00:08 2016

Police have a civic duty to protect and serve individuals, but like most people who hold a great deal of authority, their powers are sometimes abused. Unfortunately, police brutality is a common occurrence in America and especially when interacting with African-American men. It’s often accompanied by several other examples of police misconduct.

Police officers have an implicit bias linking blacks to crime. So the black crime implicit bias might be implicated in some of the use of deadly force against African-Americans.

Rudy Giuliani quotes crime statistics in Chicago among black males as if Al Capone and the Chicago mob never existed. In 1929 it was bootlegging and prohibition that precipitated a dispute between North and South Side mob gangs. In 2016 its drugs, black street gangs and territorial invasion. In the wake of two tragic incidents involving the death of two African-American men at the hands of police, a cross section of US citizens organized by members of “Black Lives Matter” took to the streets in various cities across the US to protest the senseless murders. At the end of the peaceful demonstration and protest in Dallas, Texas, shots rang out and 12 police officers were shot and five of them fatally.

Micah Xavier Johnson, the shooter, was a sole dissenter who decided to express his opposition to the killing of the two men by sacrificing his life while taking the lives of white police officers. Critics of the demonstrations are blaming “Black Lives Matter” founders for the attack and assuming the demonstrations is a “black” activity. They are now focusing their attention on demonizing and criminalizing the group’s founders and activities.

Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani is standing by his recent comments that the Black Lives Matter movement is “inherently racist.” “It’s inherently racist because, number one, it divides us,” he said. Nothing divides Americans like the labels “Black” and “White.” No one has white skin color, its light pink at best. No one has black skin color, it’s deep dark chocolate at best.

However, these labels have meaning and are indelibly etched in our minds. White falsely represents purity, privileged, intelligent, ambitious, and authority. Black falsely represents the opposite. Too many Americans take these labels as facts of life. In opposition to the activities of “Black Lives Matter” Trump has reverted to the days of the ’60s with his announcement of being the “Law and Order” candidate, effectively declaring war on “Black Lives Matter” as Nixon and Hoover did on civil rights activists in the 1968 presidential elections. By declaring himself the “law and order” candidate, Trump has ripped a page from the campaign playbook of Richard Nixon, who successfully ran for the presidency in 1968 as the “law and
order” candidate.

Trump has also cribbed the Nixonian phrase “silent majority” to describe his supporters who, like Nixon’s, are largely white and middle class. Unlike the sixties, when the civil rights movement was in full swing, today’s voters are not as “Black” and “White” committed as they were then. The nation is browning and racial identities are becoming less important. In 1968 the black population in the US was about 23 million. Today that number has grown to 44 million.
The racial and ethnic makeup of the American people is in flux. New immigrants from Asia and Latin America have added a large measure of cultural and phenotypic diversity to the American population, just as waves of immigrants from Southern and Eastern Europe did a century ago. “Black Lives Matter” is not a Black thing. It is a sampling of the American public, protesting police brutality and racial injustice.

Trump’s adaptation of Nixon’s “Law and Order” campaign slogan may not serve him as it did Nixon. Donald Trump and Rudy Giuliani are living in the past and hoping to resurrect the racial policies of the past.
The attack on the Dallas police had absolutely nothing to do with “Black Lives Matter”. For the good of America, both Trump and Giuliani should focus on the millions of young black men who like Micah Johnson, are fed up with racial profiling, police brutality, and especially the indiscriminately killing of young black men.

They need to listen to the cries of Black America, instead of demonizing and criminalizing the protests. It’s easy to demonize and criminalize an organization of known individuals but it is impossible to do the same to the Micah Johnsons of the country who decide to sacrifice their lives while taking a host of innocent citizens with them.

The energy and resources they are expending on demonizing and criminalizing “Black Lives Matter” would be better spent eradicating the labels that separate us, “Black and White.” If they are really serious about getting rid of protesters and especially “Black Lives Matter” all they need do is correct the root causes that spawn these protester groups. Get rid of racism, racial profiling, police brutality, and allow black minds to develop to their fullest potential.

Donald Trump profits politically from his racist positions. So don’t expect him to change positions even if he changes his rhetoric. America, and especially blacks and Latinos, are facing the danger of a Trump-run country.
You are urged to register and in November make your way to the polls with a friend or a family member in tow and vote. Black lives mattered yesterday, they matter today. And will matter tomorrow and forever!

Walter Smith, Guest Columnist

Walter Smith,
Guest Columnist

Walter Smith is publisher of the New York Beacon.

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