Sunday, September 25, 2016

On the White Female Cop and the Black Male Cop

In the standard narrative -- the Radio Raheem narrative -- a white male cop in a moment of rage, fear, and incompetence, acts upon his racism and kills a black male who is, objectively speaking, no threat to anyone. This narrative has become iconic in the religion of (some, not all) Black Lives Matter protesters. Any detail that might complicate that narrative in any of these awful police shootings must be explained or at least its significance conveniently minimized. Even if it turns out that Michael Brown was something other than a "gentle giant" and that Darren Wilson was, as Eric Holder's Justice Department declared, acting correctly when he shot Brown, a believer must find ways to keep the story of Michael Brown "true" according to the dictates of his religion.

That is not to say that the narrative isn't often correct. The Eric Garner case strikes me as pretty clearcut and I don't really understand why the policeman in the case is still allowed to walk the streets as a free man. This is not to say that there isn't a counter-narrative of a separate religion, one that has far less credibility, one that believes in the existence of an honorable thin blue line that protects us from the violent criminal menace that would destroy all if given the chance, one that believes that almost every one of these shootings are justifiable on some level.

The two most recent shootings involve details that would complicate the narrative only for people who don't understand the fundamental problems concerning race and policing. In the shooting in Tulsa, Oklahoma, the cop was a white female. In the second, in Charlotte, the cop was a black male. Rudy Giuliani, or at least the Giuliani circa 2000, is one of the people who might find these complicating factors. When a young black man was gunned down by police that year, he didn't see how race could be a factor, as the cops in question were all Hispanic. Giuliani is a terrible human being. He has no place in public life.

Statistics have proven that black policemen suffer, more or less, from the same prejudices against black civilians as white policemen. Anyone surprised by the possibility that a black police officer may exercise his own prejudices against people who share his phenotype really don't know all that much about prejudice.

The belief that a white woman would somehow be less violent when poorly trained involves a form of sexism. I am reminded of the leftist activist I met in 2001 who blamed the coming War on Terrorism on "men who should listen to women more" and of the women who claimed that if mothers ran the world, there would be no war. I wonder what Hillary Clinton would make of that claim.

The most essential parts of the narrative are constant. Bad policing kills more black people than white people. A large presence of guns in society makes police fear people they shouldn't fear.

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