Political correctness, race, and policing

PJ Media has an interesting analysis of a report by the Police Accountability Task Force in Chicago, and its efforts to blame institutionalized racism for friction between that city’s police department and its black residents.  Here’s an excerpt.

The history of race relations in Chicago is long and complex, and no serious discussion of the city and its Police Department would be complete without addressing that history.  But the Task Force surrenders much of its credibility on the matter in its nakedly dishonest effort to blame the city’s ills on racism in the Chicago P.D. … The city’s population, the report points out, is almost evenly split among whites, blacks, and Hispanics.  Thus the uninformed reader is led to believe that the disproportionate number of shootings and Tasings involving blacks and Hispanics can only be ascribed to racial animus among police officers.

In this the Task Force has engaged in a common subterfuge among those who turn a blind eye to the reality of crime, to wit, comparing the number of people shot or Tased (or arrested, or stopped and questioned, or what have you) to the overall population rather than to the pool of criminal offenders.  As the Chicago Tribune’s map of shooting incidents demonstrates, the incidence of shootings across the city corresponds quite neatly with each neighborhood’s demographics.  The uncomfortable truth is that in Chicago, as in any other American city you could name, those neighborhoods with the highest concentrations of blacks and Hispanics see the highest levels of violent crime.  One may argue why this is so, but not whether it is.  If the police are asked to address this crime, officers will of necessity be deployed where it occurs and come into contact with those responsible for it.  Some small percentage of those contacts will be acrimonious; some still smaller percentage will be violent.

In Nashville last month, a white police officer attempted to arrest a black man for assaulting a black woman, an effort that might have been applauded in many places.  But this incident took place in a housing project, and as this video (warning: coarse language) makes clear, the prevailing sentiment among the many witnesses was clearly on the side of the alleged lawbreaker as they cheered his escape.  Some in the crowd went so far as to attack the officer and assist in that escape.  Taking race completely out of the discussion, what conclusions should a police officer – or anyone – draw about a place where such appalling behavior seems to be so common?  Yes, this was Nashville, but cops in Chicago and many other cities know the same thing could happen to them in some neighborhoods.

But, as we’ve discussed previously here on PJ Media (here, here, and here) in Chicago, as in many other cities, officers are coming to the conclusion that the risks of these violent contacts are prohibitive and that a prudent regard for one’s livelihood demands a less zealous approach to combatting crime.  No, the cops aren’t afraid of getting shot or stabbed or otherwise injured in an altercation, they’re afraid of becoming the next YouTube sensation when an arrest goes wrong and fails to unfold in a manner approved by cowardly department brass, unprincipled politicians, and ignorant “community leaders,” all of whom exhort the cops to go out in the streets and stop the madness, but to do so without hurting anyone.

There’s more at the link.  Highly recommended reading.

Here’s the video referred to above, of a Nashville police officer trying (and failing) to arrest a suspect, thanks to mob intervention.  The language is not polite.  (Euphemism.)

That’s not the behavior of civilized, law-abiding people.  That’s the behavior of thugs and animals.  That’s the sort of behavior that the Chicago task force is trying to blame on police racism.  Yeah, right!

I’ve said often in these pages that too many law enforcement departments and individuals have forfeited the trust of the public through their overbearing, arrogant, uncaring behavior.  However, there’s also the other side to the coin, as the article and video above bear out.  To quote an old law of physics, ‘To every action there is an equal and opposite reaction‘.  That’s pretty much valid in social dynamics as well.

  • If cops treat citizens like dirt, citizens will treat cops like dirt.
  • If citizens treat cops like dirt, cops will treat citizens like dirt.
  • In neither case is racism the problem.  It’s attitude and behavior.

The Good Book has an answer for both sides. ‘Behave towards others as you want them to behave towards you.‘  That’s as valid today as it’s ever been.  Perhaps those protesting the loudest might wish to consider it.


1 comment

  1. Until there are REAL consequences for the current behaviour on BOTH sides, nothing will change…

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