Thursday, July 7, 2016

A Message to White People About Police, Justice and National Security

I defy any white person to tell me the police killings of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile make them feel more secure. These murders were an unmitigated catastrophe for the ENTIRE COUNTRY. Racial tensions, already high, are reaching a boiling point and there is no place for anyone to hide. Police and teachers will find their jobs more difficult; friendships will be strained to the breaking point and multiracial work places will become unbearably stressful. We cannot have a large portion of the country feel that the police are executioners as well as protectors. If you think that perception isn't widespread, you haven't been listening very well to your neighbors and co workers who happen to be Black.
If we want to move forward from this moment, we have to understand why there are so many police killings of this kind and make the changes needed in how police are deployed, trained, rated and promoted to reduce their occurrence in the future. And I don't mean racial sensitivity training, which I have no confidence in whatsoever. I mean demilitarizing police, and changing the way they interact with citizens on a day to day basis, placing defusing conflict and building trust over making large numbers of arrests.
It is in the interest of all of us, including police officers, to move in this direction. We can't keep doing what we are doing without making the country ungovernable.