Hillary Clinton said it best when she asked, “What do we do next?” My problem and it shouldn’t only be mine, stems from the fact that it’s Hillary Clinton asking the question; a virtual outsider and not one who knows the movements of the black communities as #BLM protesters do, or should.
It illustrates a sticking point about the whole agenda of the demonstration; this reckoning of whether or not #BlackLivesMatter should be concerned with the frequency of inner city violence, black-on-black crime, and whether or not such violence has anything to do with police shootings of unarmed African Americans. The absurdity not only comes in thinking that the two are in no way connected but also in the idea that you can ignore what’s happening.
If that be the case, that you find no correlation between these separate instances of violence, then for the sake of clarity you should change your name to #BlackLivesMatterButOnlyWhenThey’reTakenByPolicemen. It’s long and drawn out but it accurately conveys the sentiment you portray and espouse.
It’s foolish to think that people looking at such crime in the inner city will not form a judgment one way or another about the behavior of all African-Americans. It’s not fair to do and I’m not saying it is. I’m just saying that people make decisions based on behavior and those decisions can be used to paint us all with a broad and unforgiving brush. America sees the correlation whether you do or not and it’s their perception that you must change.
That it’s collectively a bed made hard by years of indifference and misdirection is as much a given as is the fact that it’ll take a lot of courage to face and ultimately correct. Ask ourselves: why blame only the police? I think we do it because, let’s face it, it’s easier to put all the behavioral culpability on them. There’s an undeniable history of wrongdoing there and the studied facts speak for themselves;
- Blacks are stopped, incarcerated or killed by police at a higher rate than any other demographic
- Black women are disproportionately stopped more times by police than their non-black counterparts and are subject to varying forms of police violence
What we fail to understand is that it’s our own tragic behavior that underwrites police attitudes towards African-Americans and the subsequent violence that they unleash.
Consider the shooting of Sam DuBose: such an attitude was curtailed by the presence of a body camera worn by ex-campus cop Ray Tensing. He’s been indicted for both murder and voluntary manslaughter in the death of the unarmed Cincinnati man. The telling thing is this: had it not been for the camera, Tensing might have gotten away with it. And it’s undeniable that it was his underlying attitude about blacks that spurred his misguided belief that he could get away with murder and that his companions would help him do it.
The bottom line teeters on whether or not we’ll have the guts to step up and institute change amongst ourselves, as we have in years past. Or, will we be still spinning our wheels protesting, complaining to government with our hat in our hands, without any component of self-control or self-improvement, as we watch another unarmed black person die at the hands of police?
The laziness exists in our affinity with those in our community-our friends, our loved ones-who we know are just outright doing wrong. It’s that indolent lack of critique, at critical times, that does the most damage at the most inopportune times. As we’re asking others to step up and take responsibility for their own action, it’s time we step up and do the same.
Cops are making their own moves towards refining how the facts about such stops are being reported. This will ultimately lead to a sea-change in their tactics as body cameras worn by officers will provide an unbiased witness. We should be initiating the same type of substantial evolution in our own behavior; not just with our interaction with law enforcement but with ourselves also. Unfortunately, it seems we’re too afraid or pre-occupied to even care. I’m just saying…