The False Narrative Being Sold by the Media Regarding Racist Cops and Fatal Shootings is Explored, Clarified, and Debunked in this Excellent Read.
In light of the recent attacks on police in Dallas, Baton Rouge, and elsewhere in the country, we want to express our solidarity with those who perform an increasingly dangerous and thankless job.
Our recommendation this week seeks to inform readers about the dangers of a false narrative and disabuse you of the notion that police are inherently racist.
In The War on Cops author Heather Mac Donald expertly chronicles the events that gave rise to a movement where citizens would openly call for the death of police offers. Mac Donald uses statistics most criminologists shy away from, though the numbers are entirely relevant and important if we as a society are going to find real solutions to the very real problems of race and violence in America.
In recent high profile cases resulting in the death of a black man in an altercation with police, Mac Donald considers the evidence and eye witness testimony—which is typically not the version reported in the news. It seems racist cops gunning down innocent young black men in cold blood is a story the media is quick to cash in on—despite evidence presented to grand juries which refutes these statements. Mac Donald eviscerates the “Hands up, don’t shoot” claim which gave rise to the Black Lives Matter movement.
Mac Donald also highlights perilous language directed at police which furthers the divide between the police and the communities they are sworn to protect, and sows the seeds for physical violence. Comments by NYC mayor Bill de Blasio against police were so egregious that many NYPD officers signed a form requesting the mayor not attend their funeral if they were killed in the line of duty. In the Bronx, two public defenders appeared in a rap video enthusiastically praising cop-killing. While this language has been pervasive in the explicit lyrics rap genre, it has not—until now—been directed at officers by authority figures who are typically seen as pillars of the community. In all of the examples included in the book, few people in positions of authority objected to the dangerous hatred.
A recurring theme from media/activists/politicians paints an (inaccurate) picture of comparable crime rates between blacks and whites and attempts to explain the disproportionate incarceration rates as a result of racist policing and a criminal justice system biased against blacks. The poisonous effects of these lies has manifested in the tragic deaths of police officers around the country.
Police gunfire deaths are up 94% this year. Now police departments across the country are grappling with how officers can safely use their lawful authority again to stop crime before it happens. The police are well aware that the greatest threat to young black men is not law enforcement, but other young black men. And lack of support for and respect of our police, ultimately leads to more deaths in black communities.
Bottom line – read this book.
While I believe we should respect authority and public servants, I do believe that ignoring documented abuses of authority is a disservice to the police and to the country. I don’t think the majority of police officers are involved in police brutality and excessive use of force, but there is a plethora of documented cases that must be acknowledged and addressed. Failure to do so will only create more animosity between segments of the population and police forces, and increase insecurity for everybody.
Generally speaking, binary representations of complex social issues are not the best way to address systemic societal issues. We must stop the rhetoric and hate talk that only exacerbate distrust and discontent. Instead, we should address social issues by brining people together and by learning to listen to one another. That is the first step in nurturing trusting relationships and working together to improve the well-being of every member of our communities. Denying there is a problem will only alienate those that already feel disenfranchised. Nobody is at war against anybody else, please stop that inflammatory language that only fuel binary and faulty ways of explaining complex social issues; we are all in this together and together we must work to solve this regrettable state of affairs.
I am perplexed by how you can be critical of a book review when your comments clearly indicate you have not read the book. It seems you have missed the point entirely. The movement calling for the death of police officers was literally born out of the Michael Brown incident—where facts were omitted and an intentionally a false narrative was disseminated. My review doesn’t say all police are saints and that police departments (like any other profession) are entirely immune from corruption. But we have nonetheless devolved into an era where people will openly call for blanket retribution—as in the killing—of police. This is not a statement you can refute. Once you have read the book, I will be happy to engage in ‘dialogue’ though I suspect the facts may hinder your argument.