Madness is in the air. Insanity rules in television newsrooms, and many governing officials appear to have lost their ability to think. Some of our cities tremble on the brink of anarchy.
We are all sinners. We have a wonderful country in which we take pride, but there is no perfect person, nation, or race on the face of this earth. All of us have things in the past we would prefer to forget, but we must acknowledge these past errors and seek to do better. Also, be not so quick to condemn the sins of our forefathers. We have our present failings to confront.
Our beloved nation has a troubled history of racial relations. Amazing progress has been made since the 1960s, but there remain many problems. The arrogant and condescending attitude of some whites toward blacks still exists today. The core of virulent haters, including members of the KKK and the American Nazi Party and their sympathizers, becomes smaller in numbers and less relevant every year. But racial prejudice and discrimination continues, and with our racial history and these attitudes it is understandable that many blacks respond in kind. Persons of goodwill find it difficult to break through these barriers of dislike and distrust with the voice of reason.
Nevertheless, I am convinced that vast majority of white Americans are not racists. I realize that there are some bigoted or evil persons among us, but the people I know want only the very best for black Americans. We wish that every citizen, black and white, could enjoy peace and prosperity. and our desire is to labor together to build a more perfect union. I believe that most black Americans share that dream.
Unfortunately, economic disparity between peoples remains a great divider. Even if there were no ethnic or cultural barriers between black and white, there would still be separation between the haves and have-nots, and proportionately there are many more blacks among the have-nots. They are concentrated in large numbers in the poorer areas of our large urban centers.
Crime is rampant in these inner cities. Blacks constitute about 13% of the United States population, but Department of Justice statistics show that black Americans accounted for more than half of murders committed in this nation between 1980 and 2008. The great majority of these murders were blacks killing blacks (approximately 6,000 per year). The breakdown in black families plays a large part in these high black crime rates, with 72% of black children being born to unwed mothers. Fatherless, disadvantaged youths are often led to anti-social and criminal activity, and this leads to frequent conflicts with each other and with police. It is a sad fact of life in many of our large cities.
Police respond to tens of thousands of criminal incidents each year, and some of these incidents require that police employ lethal force. In a nation of 325 million people, the nation’s police killed 1,134 civilians in 2015. Whites were 577 of those victims (51%), and blacks were 300 (26%). Most victims of police shootings, white and black, were armed. Relatively few were unarmed blacks killed either accidentally or purposefully by a policeman. (Unarmed whites are also sometimes killed by police, rarely with any significant news coverage.) We should also note that police officers are in serious danger in the streets and alleys of our great cities, and service deaths are becoming much more common. Some violent blacks are acting out the post-Ferguson chant, “Pigs in a blanket. Fry ’em like bacon.”
The death of an unarmed black man at the hands of the police is a tragedy, but the aftermath is often worse. The next casualty is usually truth, and misinformation often leads to riots and mayhem. The greatest untruth is to portray police as the chief threat to the lives of young black men. That is a blatant lie! The police could end all lethal uses of force tomorrow and it would have a trivial effect on black deaths by homicide.
When are the news media and our elected officials going to be honest with us? When are organizations like Black Lives Matter going to promote the whole truth and fight for real justice? When are black leaders going to step up and provide constructive leadership in our urban black communities?
The police are not perfect and a few of them are truly bad, but most of them are good people doing a dangerous and often thankless job under very difficult circumstances. We need them.
Yes, racists should be identified and removed from the ranks of law enforcement officials. Reforms must be made. But abolish the police? That is insane!