We Clueless Whites

Many white Americans live in a delusional world, particularly regarding race relations. Yeah, we’ve made some improvements, but evaluations of race relations, and particularly of police relations with the black community, sound discouragingly like evaluations written over fifty years ago, and they are not good.

It is very clear that police across the country are out of control. It is beside the point that most police officers behave properly. Out-of-control police murder unarmed black men literally every week. Ferguson, MO is only one of the recent ones, and there have been several since. There is daily police brutality against black men whose non-violence and non-resistance is often not enough to save their lives. When we see videos of police in action—arresting reporters, gassing or pepper-spraying ordinary people including children, shooting people’s pet dogs, beating people up for no apparent reason, threatening violence even against women with small children—these are people who either need a long timeout with some psych help, or a different line of work. Their actions very clearly violate the law, frequently injure or kill innocent people, and suggest that they themselves are not entirely stable.

Many white Americans are deluded
regarding race relations.

Whites look at explosive situations in black communities and make excuses for police brutality, particularly after black resentment boils over into rage. But the fact is that literally every black man in the country can expect harassment at the very least, often violent, no matter who he is. Often the harassment takes the form of unnecessary violence and threats. Often people are arrested for absolutely no reason at all. This is rare (but not unknown) in the white community.

Following the tragedy in Ferguson, MO, it is clear that almost all of the military assault equipment bequeathed to police forces across the country should be returned to the Pentagon forthwith. There are a few useful items: night vision goggles, sniper rifles, helicopters, and that’s about it.

Police military equipment
should be returned to the Pentagon

There is no reason to confront citizen protesters, even those bent on causing trouble, with a phalanx of cops and tanks looking like robots from a violent video game. There is absolutely no reason for heavy armor and heavy automatic weapons aimed at an unarmed crowd. There is absolutely no reason for heavy armored vehicles, rocket launchers, assault rifles, large-caliber guns, drones with rockets or other leftovers from wars. The ubiquitous tear gas that police use, incidentally, is forbidden in war by international law.

This militarization trend must not just be stopped, it must be reversed. Better these war vehicles were recycled for scrap than used to threaten unarmed citizens, no matter what they are doing.

It has been shown several times that when police officers are required to wear and use video cameras that record their on-duty activity, brutality falls. Complaints fall. Cops who object to this requirement forget that these devices also serve the interests of the police and courts. Miscreants cannot get away with claiming police mistreatment in court if the video shows otherwise.

Every minute of every cop’s day
should be recorded on video.

For it to work, all officers and vehicles must be required to record every minute of their working day. Withholding pay for any day not recorded will quickly end some officers’ practice of turning their camera off.

The greater number of white objectors object simply because they are conservatives, who claim not to be prejudiced, but are certain that most blacks are criminals and most criminals are black. It is this bloc who raised lots of money for the cop who committed the Ferguson murder.

It is standard operating procedure for police to simply kill anyone holding a weapon capable of causing injury or death. So it is not really news when somebody with mental problems shows up on the streets waving a knife around. He is killed, even if he is nowhere close to anyone, even though the police themselves are not threatened.

“Preventive killing” of problem persons has to stop.

This does not happen everywhere. Just such a situation occurred recently in Germany and the officer disabled the man by shooting him once in the thigh. During the same few days, St. Louis cops confronted a confused man waving a knife around, and immediately shot him dead, claiming on their report that he was within a few feet of them and attacking. But a citizen video shows no such thing, and they made no attempt to bring the man under control and calm him, for example by simply talking with him. They killed him within seconds after leaving their car.

This is barbaric. “Preventive killing” of problem persons has to stop, no matter who the victim is. It is quite possible to calm such a person down and disarm him, maybe get him to talk about what his problem is. I have seen San Francisco cops do exactly that without even drawing their weapons. Someone with mental problems sees the world as confusion, and may not even hear police commands. Until he becomes a genuine threat to life, non-lethal action is enough.

But the larger issue is race. Police brutality is endemic in black communities across the country, and the white population either doesn’t know about it, or doesn’t believe it. There must be a seismic change.


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2 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. hi,
    Reading this from the UK. I’m just interested whether the “ordinary” American is concerned at this. I was horrified to see the obviously mentally ill man just shot repeatedly in st. Louis. Is nobody troubled?


    • As I see it, white Americans are divided. Many believe all blacks are criminal and all criminals are black. Over $400,000 was raised for the officer who murdered the kid in Ferguson, which is both misplaced support and evidence of racism. But many others, including far more than the African-American population, are outraged at the ongoing police violence. It all stems from the long post-slavery history of racism, which continues with economic and educational inequality and lack of opportunity for blacks today.


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