The Reason I Speak Out Against Police Violence

This isn’t about demonizing an entire profession; it’s about using my position in order to effectuate change.

Recently, a friend of mine in law enforcement called attention to the fact that I had been speaking out against police violence and made the claim that I was making his job harder by doing so — that by generalizing the police force in such a way, I was placing an unnecessary target on his back.

To that officer, I want to say that I’m sorry.

I’m sorry that I haven’t adequately explained my motives and accompanying objectives, and I’m sorry that you haven’t been made to feel safe and appreciated in this windstorm of racial tension.

For me, this isn’t about demonizing an entire profession; it’s about using my position in order to effectuate change. After all, as a person of privilege, I believe that it is my job to stand up for minorities. But I also believe that it is my job to stand up for civil servants, and in speaking out against instances of overt racism, I believe that I am doing both.

For me, this isn’t about demonizing an entire profession; it’s about using my position in order to effectuate change.

While the criminal justice system is a necessary cog in an orderly society, it is neither infallible nor immune to corruption or mistake. In fact, a cursory examination of our country’s history demonstrates that, at times, it has been used as a socially acceptable form of indentured servitude. And it has not been impartial in its conquests.

Minorities have been made to bear the brunt and bluster of racist attitudes for years, and as we continue on our path towards a more equal society, we must ensure that they are protected against our communities’ most powerful. We absolutely and unequivocally cannot turn a blind eye to disparate treatment, simply because calling attention to these acts of prejudice may serve to sully the good name of a given vocation. More simply put, we cannot prioritize the reputation of individuals who chose to pursue a particular career over the safety and well-being of those who are discriminated against on the basis of inalienable traits.

And we don’t have to. Because seeking to eradicate the bad apples actually serves the interests of the good. After all, if we don’t publicly reject and admonish these untoward courses of behavior, we run the risk of normalizing — and therefore, institutionalizing — them. And if we do that, the police force will face the danger of being stereotyped the same way that black people are often stereotyped at the hands of its rogue actors. 

... we cannot prioritize the reputation of individuals who chose to pursue a particular career over the safety and well-being of those who are discriminated against on the basis of inalienable traits.

Because ultimately, remaining silent on these acts of racism does not mean they don’t exist. And if they’re not met with the appropriate outrage and resulting ramifications, they will continue to exist. Consequently, those continuing acts of discrimination will only further fuel mistrust of the police, placing the lives of good officers in undeserved jeopardy.

Because at the end of the day, it is not my advocacy that is encouraging brutality against the police; it is the very malignant behavior that I am advocating against. Otherwise, you would expect to see a surge in officer deaths following the creation and advertisement of the Black Lives Matter movement. And yet, in the 30 years preceding the establishment of the organization, America averaged 181 officer deaths per year. In the four years since, 123. That being said, it seems rather unfair to blame deaths in the line of duty on the movement to educate our citizenry about the dangers of discrimination. These deaths were occurring long before the Internet ever created channels by which we could spread word of these ills. And they will continue to occur, so long as the bad apples are left to run roughshod over communities who often feel as though they have no means by which to fight back.

These deaths were occurring long before the Internet ever created channels by which we could spread word of these ills.

In the end, the ultimate goal is for America to be a society in which all individuals — black or blue — are made to feel safe. And in my view, the best way to accomplish that end is by ridding these agencies of individuals who abuse their government-given power. And honestly, there should be no occupation better suited to understanding the rationale. After all, when a law enforcement officer arrests a criminal, he is not condemning said criminal’s population group as a whole; he is condemning the rogue actor, out of an interest in keeping our communities safe. Similarly, when we condemn a racist policeman, we are not condemning the law enforcement community as a whole; we are condemning the rogue actor, out of an interest in keeping our minorities safe.

So please, officer, do not take my advocacy as an “us vs. them” proposition.

I don’t want division.

I just want equality.

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