Willful Ignorance About Racism Will Get Us Nowhere

Two police officers were shot this weekend in New York. Another was shot in Florida. These are heinous crimes, and one cannot but feel anger and sadness at this senseless loss of life. No matter what anyone says, this is just wrong. I cannot describe just how badly I feel for the families of these three police officers, the emptiness and rage they must feel for the loss of a loved one through a senseless and ultimately useless act of violence. Every parent who has a child that is either in the military, the police, or a firefighter wakes up everyday hoping that their child will not be just another of the official statistics that most people only care about for the short time that the evening news covers it.

Which makes the reactions from the reactionaries and so-called law and order types all the more disgusting.  The fact that Rudy Guiliani can get on national television and essentially accuse the President of the United States, the present Mayor of New York, the protesters against police brutality for the act of one man is the most spiteful, hate-filled display of political pandering in recent memory. The fact that the mainstream media has put forth this narrative as a viable position shows just how little we value truth or facts in the mainstream media anymore. There is simply no other way to say it: If you believe that people exercising their First Amendment right to protest are responsible for the death of these policemen, you are a foul piece of work.

Rafael Ramos did not deserve to die. Wenjian Liu did not deserve to die. Charles Kondek did not deserve to die. Eric Garner did not deserve to die. Michael Brown did not deserve to die. Tamir Rice did not deserve to die. John Crawford did not deserve to die. The list could continue here for days.

There are many who say if you just follow what the police tell you to do, you will be fine. Tell that to Levar Jones, who was shot reaching for his driver’s license when the officer asked him to get it. If you just follow the law, don’t do anything wrong, you will be fine. Tell that to Chris Lollie, who was tazed while waiting to pick his children up from school. Can you guess what these two had in common?

Study after study after study shows that there are inherent biases that WE ALL HAVE. Yet, quite a few people would have you believe that there is no racism issue in America; that blacks, Hispanics, Asians, Semitic people get treated the same as Caucasians. This is clearly not so. There is ample evidence that this is not so. A recent AP poll shows racism has actually increased with 56% of Americans holding implicit racist attitudes about Blacks and 57% of Americans holding implicit racist attitudes about Hispanics.

I could show you the piles and piles of evidence that show racism is alive and well in the US. Yet there will be those who deny it and call it Identity Politics. They will say the police are within their rights to forcibly deter citizens from doing what the police do not want them to do, whether that is to play with a toy gun, pick up their children from school, sit on the sidewalk, give their spouse a kiss in public, or keep their hands in their pockets. They will deny white privilege; they will, in fact, deny the very foundations this country was founded upon, as those of us who have read The Constitution and understand it, remember that the Founding Fathers, who claimed all men are created equal, believed that Blacks were only three-quarters of a man. Cows were treated better, as no one considered different types of cows only three-quarters of one.

As long as a majority of Americans continue to deny there is a problem, we will never come to terms with this problem. We will never be a post-racial society as long as we choose to ignore reality, as long as we choose to NOT do some serious soul-searching. The challenge, then, is how do we get those who see no problem to actually question their attitudes and behaviors. Any ideas?


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