Last week I had the pleasure to be invited by a friend to attend a panel on Confronting Injustice: A Conversation on Race & Policing. There were many things that could have been taken away from that evening at The National Black Theatre in Harlem. The biggest one for me was change versus reform. I have found more so than not that when there is a problem with policy or law it gets amended, something added, or changed slightly but it never really addresses the problem. [Since this event took place in NY all comments are about the NYPD and the city.]
There is a reputation that the police department has on not getting quotas and if the security of their job weighs in the balance they will choose their job. Therefore doing whatever the means to get their quota filled. There is talk that these will be lessened so there is not as much stress but there is no REAL change to be seen in the NYPD. It needs to be noted that the solutions offered by the police thus far have been police solutions. More police officers are not going to solve this problem of black brutality. One of the panelists said,
“Someone who is not concerned about black brutality doesn’t know any black people.”
Most of the conversation was on policing and if there has been change over the past year. The overwhelming answer was ‘no’.
“There is a PR message but no real change. The problem is that they really think they are making a difference… that’s what white supremacy looks like.”
In relation to the #blacklivesmatter movement one of the panelists said that it is important to listen to all generations. All generations of people of color have a voice and have lived a life of injustice. Meaning that we can all learn from each other. One of the other panelists father’s is a police officer and she spoke on certain bubbles of privilege. She said that as a black man, her father is still followed around a store if not in uniform. Therefore saying that the police uniform affords him a certain privilege.
“If the soul is left in darkness, sins will be committed. The guilty one is not he who commits the sin, but the one who causes the darkness. ” ~Victor Hugo
Great resources from the panel included Million Hoodies, New York Democrats, and The Justice League. While this was a great conversation, it needs to continue. Let’s talk, answer my questions in the comments section.
Who has the right to be safe in America? What is it going to take to get reform? If you had a magic wand what would you change?