Good People of Color and Good White People – Beware
There are pinheaded bigots in all professions. There are racist lawyers, doctors and school teachers. Those with cultural bigotry should be taken to task. Police work is no different. There have been more than just a few times in a squad meeting or roll call at the PD where one of my fellow officers, white, black or blue, would make a rude and offensive comment such as;
- “I jewed the dealer down on the price.”
- “That towelhead’s place always smells like spices.”
- “I don’t know why she stays with that coal hauler.”
- “All those beaner landscapers are probably illegal.”
- “You deck shoe wearing crackers are all crazy.”
- “That was one flaming faggot.”
SAVE YOUR ASS
We, of sound mind and of minority culture, would typically tell the loudmouth to “Shut the F##* up!” And that would generally be the end of it. One could complain to the Chief, or go to the ACLU. However, these same knucklehead cops are your back-up, who you rely on to save your ass. Or they may be the first on the scene and save the life of that Jew, Arab, Black, Hispanic or Gay that they just verbally bashed. Discriminatory attitudes and moronic language does not necessarily make a poorly functioning officer.
WE’RE THE GOVERNMENT, TRUST US
However, the Ferguson DOJ report cited examples of rather egregious police officer behavior that seems to challenge that assumption. If the DOJ report is accurate, I have to wonder whether there are hundreds of Ferguson civil rights violation lawsuits and criminal cases working their way through the federal court system. After all, it’s a government report led by an Attorney General who has his own biases.
Cultural insensitivity is not the only driver of the skewed number of traffic stops or court issues in black communities. The residents in those communities often lack a family network of support, resources, employment skill sets and the money to be able to keep their vehicles legal with proper inspections, license plates and insurance. And those with little family, limited resources, few employment skill sets and scant money often have their own skewed beliefs and biases.
They may be more inclined to engage in activities society views as unacceptable such as speeding, strong arm robberies, failure to obey police officers, burning down gas stations and looting tire stores and hair salons. Little was said in the DOJ report about whether the actions of some of the people who live, work or travel through the Ferguson area share any responsibility for the issues under scrutiny.
POLICE AS FIREMAN
As the focus on police bias continues, we will see some changes. I expect the police will be much more hesitant to engage in proactive crime intervention activities. Police will become more like fireman and wait until something bad happens to respond. The group of youths walking through your neighborhood at 2am will probably proceed unchallenged, whether their intent is honorable or not. Traffic courts will come up with new avenues to assess fines and punishment.
I expect there will be less enforcement of traffic violations committed by minority drivers. That may result in more un-inspected, unregistered and uninsured vehicles on the road. The roads in those neighborhoods will probably become less safe. And to seem more fair, I expect the enforcement of traffic violations committed by white, non-minority drivers in the Ferguson area will increase. Good people of color or not, beware.