I am a white guy born and raised in South Carolina. Based on that fact alone, you might think that my racial prejudices run deep. You would be wrong. My father was the head of the Civil Rights Division of the FBI from 1948-1951 and my mother was a crusading journalist exposing Klan members for the bigoted bullies they were in south Georgia in the late 1940’s. These are the values with which I was raised in the 1960’s. As far as I am concerned, there is only one race; the human race.
I will be the first to say that there are a lot of things in this world that I don’t understand. For example, I don’t understand why the situation in many parts of this country have escalated between police and black males in our society. Is it a systemic racist thread running through police departments? Or is it truly that police feel threatened by men of color in the US. My suspicion is that these incidents have been ongoing for many years but now with the advancement of technology, communities are more acutely aware of these events. I wish I could say that the shooting of Keith Scott in Charlotte on Tuesday will be the last of these incidents but you know as well as I do that they will continue to occur.
I don’t understand why police feel the need to use deadly force when it does not seem to be justified. It is interesting to note that if you are a white suspect, the police tend to try and subdue a criminal and take him alive but if you are black, deadly force seems to be the immediate reaction. I know this is an anecdotal observation but how many seemingly innocent black men have to be shot dead before real change is implemented. I also don’t understand why anyone of any color would not comply with instructions from a police officer. If a cop is telling you to stop or put your hands on your vehicle or get on the ground, you do it. I might think that would reduce the incidences of deadly violence but that did not seem to be the case last week in Tulsa when Terence Crutcher was shot by police while he had his hands up and was clearly unarmed.
Granted, there are some unknowns in both these cases and I understand the tension on both sides of the issue. The unknowns are exactly why these police departments must strive for total transparency and complete disclosure before protests are allowed to escalate. Until police departments around the country can come to grips with the racial undertones surrounding these needless police shootings I fear these communities will continue to grieve and must be allowed to vent their anger without putting more people at risk.