Editor: Who is the victim and who is the perpetrator? The painful reality is that it’s not an easy answer — especially if you’re an African-American male. Does every African-American mother — regardless of educational or social or economic status — have to warn her sons about walking down the street and, most especially, running down the street? Is it a crime to go outside?
Given that most police do not violate the rights of black males, why are we now, 50 years after the Selma march, finding incident after incident of police doing violence against black men who are either totally innocent or guilty of minor crimes?
Baltimore was burning last week. In the last year, we have seen what resembles a trend. Is there something about our society that gives permission to white cops to brutalize black men and boys? The escalation of the pace of these incidents feels like a trend — a very dangerous trend. It reflects the flaws in our society that could metastasize into a widespread epidemic that points to our decline as a democratic society.
The stock market is soaring. The price of higher education is soaring. Patriotism is soaring — at least when it comes to respect for our armed forces. But our patriotism must go much further. We cannot be proud of the record of the recent past when our would-be protectors are harming and even killing innocent people. If citizens don’t take a more fervent and active stand against targeted police brutality, we will have done no favor to our nation, which prides itself on its promise of liberty and justice for all. Not that we can forget our outside enemies, but we can’t turn our backs on the enemy within — the enemy that we can and must defeat.
The Times-Tribune, 5/3/2015