WHY BLACK NEIGHBORHOODS DON'T NEED POLICE
Author: Gregory Clay
Photo By: Mark Edelson, Palm Beach Post
And we’re not talking about Hillary Clinton's political aspirations here.
These choices relate to Ferguson, Mo., a town of 21,000 that has become a case study in Third World anarchy in a western civilization following the shooting death of 18-year-old Michael Brown by police officer Darren Wilson. Their confrontation supposedly began when Wilson ordered Brown and his friend to walk on the sidewalk instead of the middle of the street.
Still, the bottom line is this: If Wilson killed Brown in cold blood despite a surrender sign, then he should be imprisoned.
Otherwise, let the legal process in this tragedy work to completion because there is so much that's unexplained.
Yet, this hyper-thorny issue of black males and white police departments can be solved at the voting booth. Just add three choices to the ballot sheet.
Every city in the United States with at least a 65 percent black population should consider these hard choices:
1.) Citizens can vote to not have any police force at all in predominantly black neighborhoods. Voting yes here would eradicate any shootings by police of unarmed black men. It also would eliminate the "usefulness" of Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson because citizens would be on their own.
2.) Citizens would gain the right to hire only black police officers --- from the chief to the rank and file. Voting yes to this proposal would eliminate any accusations of racism by the population. Under this plan, it would be curious to see if black looters would perform their lawless acts against an all-black police force.
3.) Citizens would be policed only by the federal government. Instead of the usual layered police force featuring city, county and state offices, black neighborhoods would be policed only by federal authorities. It's a matter of federalizing certain cities. That means U.S. marshals, DEA and ATF agents and the FBI would be the de facto acting police on a local basis. Black folk in the United States appear to trust federal agencies over local organizations, so why not enact a full-time federal force.
So, let the polls determine the process.
By voting, citizens would be held accountable for their own decisions. And the Roving Reverends of Recompense, the Duo of Duplicity, the Clown Crew and the Disciples of Demagoguery---- also known as Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson ---- would be rendered irrelevant. All they try to do in life anyway is stay relevant amidst racial tension --- and on television. Therefore, Ferguson, Mo., has provided the perfect repository for their escapades.
Remember this: If there is no racial animus or discord in this country, then Sharpton and Jackson are rendered totally irrelevant. And they are out of a job.
Bob Beckel of Fox News Channel’s “The Five” show was right on target when he said Sharpton is the only person in the country who can call for calm while simultaneously whipping listeners into an emotional frenzy of destruction. In fact, MSNBC should be ashamed of itself for granting Sharpton his own prime-time national television talk show.
As the unrest raged in Ferguson, three observations come to mind, mainly because this case seemingly has become about everything but Michael Brown. The turmoil in Ferguson easily could have far-reaching ramifications, such as:
1.) This incident reminds me of Aug. 4, 1968. That Thursday night, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated in Memphis, Tenn., at 6:01 p.m. Central time. Almost immediately, more than 100 U.S. cities went up in flames. Tanks were in the streets. So was the National Guard with armored vehicles. Machine guns were mounted. Turrets were aimed. Looters did what they do best as chaos rocked the United States to its core for days 46 years ago. Those scenes played out again in Ferguson. Furthermore, I remember military HumVees parked in the middle of the street downtown Washington D.C. on Sept. 11, 2001, the day of the terrorist attacks. So, historically, this is nothing new. And it will happen again.
2.) Gun sales in the United States will skyrocket because of the looters, who are mostly young, black males. All of this is so paradoxical because as many demontrators and protesters are valiantly trying to de-mystify negative stereotypes of black males, the looters capture the major headlines on a daily basis. So what is the most common image of black males in this national maelstrom: looters, thieves, intimidators and anti-social perpetrators.
3.) Video from Ferguson will be a powerful recruiting tool for an emboldened National Rifle Association. All the NRA brass has to say to potential members is watch the video of the looters. Now you know why you need guns, they can say. The NRA’s work is already done --- packaged and delivered. NRA officials won’t have to twist any arms in this endeavor. Just say, "Let's go to the videotape."
4.) Cable news television is flourishing in this environment of unrest in Ferguson. As they say, this story has legs --- meaning correspondents can report on it with juicy nuggets day after day after day, 24 hours a day. CNN, MSNBC and Fox News Channel are always looking for their next O.J. Simpson story of transcendence. The nation was riveted by the Simpson double-murder case in 1994 and '95. It probably was America's first reality TV show. Now, history --- and reality --- repeats itself as the nation is glued to the gripping events of Ferguson, Mo.
5.) Rioters and looters ultimately could cost the Democrats key congressional seats in the November midterm elections. Think about it. Suppose you have been a moderate Democrat for years, especially white folk in rural and suburban America. You have seen the incessant video of Michael Brown allegedly committing a strong-arm robbery in a convenience store. You have seen him push away the storekeeper and then intimidating him with a 6-foot-4 staredown as he cradles his stolen cigars. Jackson called Brown a "gentle giant." But, apparently, the giant wasn't so gentle. Because Brown's alleged strong-arm robbery at the store exhibits his aggressiveness, one has to wonder about his state of mind when he encountered the police officer.
You have seen looters run unabated with arms full of liquor bottles, tires, clothing, iPhones. etc. All the while police just watched helplessly.
Add the fact that Republicans tend to be advocates of the pro gun lobby, then you ask yourself: Who makes me feel safer, especially if Ferguson spreads to other corners of the United States? I can see many traditional Democrats siding with the Republicans in the fall because of those national safety issues. And who can blame them?
Outside businesses would be foolish to settle in Ferguson. And owners of stores that were burned out by looters, such as the local QuikTrip, would be insane to rebuild in Ferguson.
There is a reason why tony stores, such as Nordstrom, Saks Fifth Avenue and Bloomingdales, don't set up shop in predominantly black neighborhoods. The same can be said for the banking and financial industry.
Furthermore, if Sharpton and Jackson are so concerned about black folk in Missouri, then why don't they help rebuild the city by investing in it monetarily. Do they really, really invest in black neighborhoods or are they just all fire-and-brimstone talk?
The overmatched Ferguson police force isn't without fault either. Its police chief, Thomas Jackson, appears shell-shocked before the phalanx of national cameras. Stumbling, bumbling . . . making contradictory public statements . . . no meda savvy, at all. A Three Stooges act, indeed. That's not good.
They allowed this ugly mess to fester for days by not showing the video of Michael Brown allegedly robbing the store the day of the shooting. Anyone desperately seeking to indict the city's police force easily can say the timing (six days after his death) was contrived, a clumsy smear campaign at its absolute worst. And the police do it the same day the name of the officer implicated in the killing is released to the nation.
This slow drip of incremental information to the public in dribs and drabs results in an unseemly scenario of cause and effect: the investigation is incomplete so therefore onlookers will fill in the blanks with uninformed speculation. The police department has exercised too much obfuscation and not enough transparency.
I remember witnessing in July how the Washington D.C. police defused what appeared to be a flash mob of approximately 30 young black teenagers.
The teenagers congregated on 12th Street downtown and appeared to be dead set on a quick, lightning strike of robbing a huge Macy's store on the corner. As the teens slowly walked down the sidewalk, police officers, all of whom were black, followed their every move by vehicle and on foot. As the teens walked slowly, two police cars hugged the curb and proceeded just as slowly as the teens, shadowing their every move. Police on foot followed the black teens. It was fascinating how none of the officers said a word to the teens. None of them touched the teens. They simply traced the teens' every step in close proximity. If the teens turned left, the officers turned left. If the teens turned right, the officers turned right. They eventually left the Macy's area, as the officers followed.
Remember, these were all black teens being policed by all black officers. Perhaps, Ferguson police should fly to the nation's capital for a quick seminar on Washington tactics.
However, the Ferguson police force also has been in a non-win situation. If they used too much force, civil liberties advocates say they are over-militarized. If they used too little force, store owners say the police did nothing to stop looters and arsonists from ravaging their businesses, and, thus, their livelihoods.
All of this brings us to a silly and superficial story written by Greg Howard for www.deadspin.com. His first sentence is this: "The United States of America is not for black people." So is this individual planning on exiting the U.S. shores for Europe or Asia or Antartica instead?
A white police officer shoots and kills an unarmed black guy, and, suddenly, all of America is against black people.
Only a fool like this guy whould conflate the two situations.
Now, it's time for basic logic: Black males comprise 13 percent of the population, 50 percent of the homicide victims and 90 percent of the perpetrators of murder against other black males. Utilizing Howard's logic, then black males who overwhelmingly commit crimes against other black males should make the United States uninhabitable for black folk.
However, Howard doesn't write that for the POC community ---- or People of Color demographic.
Apparently the same rules don't apply.
Here are some more statistics that tell the story of Ferguson: According to CNN, in 2013, 483 black folk were arrested in Ferguson and 36 whites. Some say those statistics show a bias against black folk by the Ferguson police.
But the city is 67 percent black. So, No. 1, by the law of averages, more black folk logically should be arrested.
No. 2 --- Perhaps more black folk in Ferguson have a propensity for committing crimes than white folk. Logic says that is a possibility whether liberal Democrats like it or not. I notice most television newspeople and commentators are reluctant to go there.
Ferguson is in a state of anarchy, and, with each passing day, becoming a reincarnation of Detroit ---- burned up and bombed out. While watching television, if you mute the sound and erase the screen graphics, one would swear the visuals suggested the killing fields of Iraq or Syria or the Gaza Strip.
However, we don't have to go halfway around the world to find genocide. We have that right here in Chicago, where black-on-black crime is marching to a record rate on the city's South Side. This notion of the demonization and dehumanization of black males can be found there. The demonization of the black male has been propagated intra-racially there; it's not simply an inter-racial phenomenon. Yes, demonization and dehumanization are at the root of this state of fratricide in Chicago.
Go figure. With that, I have often wondered what would be the state of young, black males today if Dr. King had survived past his 39th birthday.
Remember Chicago on the Fourth of July weekend? The casualty report: 16 dead, 82 wounded. There is a massacre each weekend in the Windy City. However, this genocide doesn't appear to be alarming the national black community.
Because the enemy in Chicago comes from within. In Ferguson, Mo., the enemy comes from the outside, ie., the white police officer.
Many black folk plead with the larger society to not stereotype young, black males.
Young, black and male doesn't automatically equal young, stupid and dangerous. Again, don't conflate the two.
However, sometimes miscreant public behavior can get in the way of progress in the demographic effort to purify and sanitize the black male in the United States. I remember one Friday night in 2013 at an intersection three blocks from the White House.
That night, an SUV packed with young, black males pulled up behind a car at a red light at an intersection. A white woman driving a small sedan was a few seconds late to the liking of the black guys in pulling off when the light turned green.
The driver of the SUV began viciously cursing her out because she was a tad off in accelerating out of the intersection. It appeared to be a case of one-upmanship as each black dude seemed to take turns in who could out-curse the other in berating this poor woman, poking their heads out of the windows obviously for clarity and effect.
To her credit, she handled this profane act with much common sense and street savvy.
No. 1.) She didn't retaliate verbally.
No. 2) She looked straight ahead, not laterally or backward.
No. 3) She didn't roll down the car windows.
No. 4) She sped off in a fluid motion, not herky-jerky.
Now you know why so many black males are burdened with bad reputations through guilt by association.
Where did all of this aberrant behavior originate? Blame lack of parenting and don't forget the music.
The sound of music. How about the awful sound of music.
The hip-hop and gangsta rap culture glorify unabashed bravado, abundant alcohol, deadly weapons, recreational misogyny, etc. In other words, anything negative. That's what many of them are inundated with 24 hours a day.
Suspect parenting plus pathological music can be a lethal cocktail. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise.
Yet, we hear of many black parents feeling compelled to have that "special race-police talk" thing with their black sons.
It's about what to do when your black son is confronted by white police officers. I notice CNN has made a point of asking their regular black commentators, pundits and on-air contributors, especially New York Times columnist Charles Blow and CNN legal analyst Sunny Hostin, to talk about "The Talk" a black parent has with his/her 15- or 16-year-old black son. "The Talk" focuses on the proper protocol black sons should employ, such as keeping their hands in plain sight and not reaching for the car's glove compartment. I notice this happens, especially on CNN, when a black teenager is killed by an enemy from the outside.
First of all, if you are waiting for your black son to become a teenager for "The Talk," you're already too late to discuss appropriate behavior for your sons when white police officers encounter them for whatever reasons. "The Talk" should start when the child is a toddler.
Secondly, that talk shouldn't even be about "The Talk."
Look, if you teach your black sons right from wrong beginning in the pre-kindergarten years, that renders "The Talk" superfluous. Doing the right thing as a black male isn't about "The Talk." It's about, as the old folk say in the South, "acting like you have some sense." That encompasses so much more that it makes "The Talk" a moot point.
Regardless, I wonder what would have happened if Michael Brown had simply heeded the police officer's request to walk on the sidewalk.
In hindsight, that's one choice that shouldn't have been so hard.
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