JOHN MCWHORTER: Racist Police Violence Reconsidered.
Racist bias may well play a role in these statistical discrepancies in treatment. Certainly, this perception was as central to the protests in Ferguson, Missouri as the shooting of Michael Brown. If, upon close examination, that turns out to be the case, then this must obviously be addressed. The acrid relationship with police is among the main reasons that so many black people feel like aliens in their own nation. If a new generation of black people could grow up without the sense that the cops are their enemy, America would turn a corner on race and finally break its holding pattern.
Police officers are too often overarmed, undertrained, and low on empathy. Some police officers are surely racist and act like it. But it does not follow that white cops routinely kill black people in tense situations out of racist animus. This scenario may seem plausible—I believed it until only a few years ago. But there are times when facts are counterintuitive, and it is important to get the facts right and to analyze them with clear eyes and a clear mind (the enlightening work of criminologist and ex-cop Peter Moskos is helpful in this regard). Rhetoric has a way of straying from reality, and to get where we all want to go, it is reality that we must address.
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