Why whites and blacks see things differently

howtobesafeVia Matt Bors

Each time an unarmed black person is killed by a police officer, most of us white Americans see it as an isolated incident while most black Americans see it as part of a pattern.

Why would they see it as part of a pattern?  Robin D.G. Kelley, a writer and college teacher in California, listed some  things that happened while the Ferguson Grand Jury deliberated on whether to indict Darren Wilson for killing Michael Brown.

As we waited for the grand jury’s decision, a twelve-year-old Black boy named Tamir Rice was shot and killed by police in Cleveland because the officer mistook his toy gun for a real one.  Tamir was playing outside of Cleveland’s Cudell Recreation Center, one of the few public facilities left that provide safe space for children.

As we waited, Cleveland cops took the life of Tanisha Anderson, a 37-year-old Black woman suffering from bipolar disorder. Police arrived at her home after family members called 911 to help her through a difficult crisis, but rather than treat her empathetically they did what they were trained to do when confronted with Black bodies in Black neighborhoods—they treated her like an enemy combatant.  When she became agitated, one officer wrestled her to the ground and cuffed her while a second officer pinned her “face down on the ground with his knee pressed down heavily into the back for 6 to 7 minutes, until her body went completely limp.”  She stopped breathing.  They made no effort to administer CPR, telling the family and witnesses that she was sleeping.  When the ambulance finally arrived twenty minutes later, she was dead.

As we waited, police in Ann Arbor, Michigan, killed a forty-year-old Black woman named Aura Rain Rosser.  She was reportedly brandishing a kitchen knife when the cops showed up on a domestic violence call, although her boyfriend who made the initial report insisted that she was no threat to the officers.  No matter; they opened fire anyway.

As we waited, a Chicago police officer fatally shot 19-year-old Roshad McIntosh.  Despite the officer’s claims, several eyewitnesses reported that McIntosh was unarmed, on his knees with his hands up, begging the officer to hold his fire.

As we waited, police in Saratoga Springs, Utah, pumped six bullets into Darrien Hunt, a 22-year-old Black man dressed kind of like a ninja and carrying a replica Samurai sword.

And police in Victorville, California, killed Dante Parker, a 36-year-old Black man and father of five.  He had been stopped while riding his bike on suspicion of burglary.  When he became “uncooperative,” the officers repeatedly used Tasers to try to subdue him.  He died from his injuries.

As we waited, a twenty-eight-year-old Black man named Akai Gurley met a similar fate as he descended a stairwell in the Louis H. Pink Houses in East New York, Brooklyn.  The police were on a typical reconnaissance mission through the housing project.  Officer Peter Liang negotiated the darkened stairwell, gun drawn in one hand, flashlight in the other, prepared to take down any threat he encountered.  According to liberal mayor Bill DeBlasio and police chief Bill Bratton, Mr. Gurley was collateral damage.  Apologies abound.  He left a two-year-old daughter.

As we waited, LAPD officers stopped 25-year-old Ezell Ford, a mentally challenged Black man, in his own South Los Angeles neighborhood and shot him to death.

The LAPD stopped Omar Abrego, a 37-year-old father from Los Angeles, and beat him to death.

via CounterPunch.

When you read about these killings, did you put yourself in the place of the victim?  Or did you put yourself in the place of a police officer confronting a possibly dangerous black person?

My guess is that your answer depended largely on your personal experience with the police, and that the personal experience of a black person is likely to be very different from the experience of a white person.

I am not prepared to argue the rights and wrongs of each and every one these individual cases, but I don’t think black people are crazy if they see a pattern.

2014-09-07-learning-not-to-call-911 Via Candorville

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2 Responses to “Why whites and blacks see things differently”

  1. informationforager Says:

    Good job. Truth may not be a whole number. It may not be black or white, wrong or right, or True or False. Thanks.


  2. prayerwarriorpsychicnot Says:

    Reblogged this on Citizens, not serfs.


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