Despite the conservative media narrative that racism against minorities is a thing of the past, race, racism, and inherent biases on all sides are a part of what’s happening in Ferguson and communities across America — as are systemic and institutional factors spanning several generations, from the Watts riots in 1965 to the riots in various cities in 1967 and ’68, to Los Angeles in 1992. While an inciting incident — usually involving the police and communities of color — sparked the violence, a tinderbox of underlying frustrations awaited that spark.
After each of these incidents, reports issued by government commissions seeking answers cited hauntingly identical findings. Police brutality, poor relations between the police and the community, a sense of hopelessness fueled by a lack of jobs, economic inequality, inadequate schools, discriminatory housing practices, an unresponsive political system many felt shut out of, along with policies that created segregated neighborhoods which further isolate communities of color were highlighted again and again. Again and again the recommendations included expanding community policing strategies and social programs, making them more consistent with the extent of the problems.
Reblogged this on The Secular Jurist.
To me, America’s next step is clear- implement new strategies, such as those proposed above, that will effectively address the underlying issues of crime and poverty. I took a criminology class a few years ago, and even in the criminology books given to us, many written decades ago, these same themes appear (a sense of hopelessness fueled by a lack of jobs, economic inequality, inadequate schools, discriminatory housing practices, etc) as part of the analysis of crime in black communities. But what have we done about it? Nowhere near enough!!! Police brutality is part of the problem, not the solution. It only reinforces all the other underlying problems.
I don’t mean to say that without crime, there would be no police brutality. It just seems to me that police brutality often results from cops anticipating crimes or over-reacting to petty crimes. Cops are always on the prowl in crime-ridden communities, using the excuse that these arrests reduce crime. But it’s society that produces these conditions, not necessarily the black community by itself as if it existed in a vacuum.
Yes, I agree with everything you wrote.