Anyone who read what I posted yesterday in response to some of the comments about the Metro D.C. police officer wearing a shirt into court containing imagery that could be considered racist; what I am about to say may shock you… I was mad.
Yes… yes, I know. You might not have been able to tell based on what I said. However, indeed I was a little verklempt and not in a good way.
Ultimately, what you saw in my post this past Sunday afternoon, is exactly what you’ve seen expressed by many people throughout minority communities across America. My post represented frustration boiled over into anger.
See, I’ve always encouraged people to disagree and respectfully debate topics. I truly believe that debate is what fuels progress and I see nothing but beauty in diversity. Including, the diversity of thought.
If you saw my initial post about the topic of the D.C. cop and his shirt, you might note that I never bashed the officer for wearing the shirt. Instead, I expressed how several years ago I had warned my officers of sneaky attempts by white supremacist or nationalist groups at integrating their symbols into military and police circles. I even provided examples of how they were going about it.
Admittedly, I also expressed, that because this particular shirt was custom made, you cannot solely fault it on a crafty overtly racist manufacturer. Lastly, I said that an officer wearing it to court seemed more than a little odd to me. Frankly, I haven’t ever heard of such a thing.
In response for presenting that topic fairly evenly balanced, what I got in return from some people was unabashed defense over how the shirt wasn't racist, prejudice and was just a shift solidarity t-shirt. I was called an idiot, amongst other things. Shockingly, most of the defense for the shirt came from other cops.
Now, you know what there was a distinct lack of? Cops actually acting like they cared if any of that imagery made the profession look bad, or appear racist and prejudice. They cared more about defending it, as if suggestive that, "Hey! I'd wear that too and frankly, I don't care if anyone thinks it's got prejudice connotations because I say it's not, so that means it’s good."
What you saw in my response was exactly what it looked like. Anger... anger at those who care more about their own perception of the profession or their own views and opinions than they do others.
They could care less if I said, "Hey I'm a cop. But before I was a cop and after I'm done being a cop, I'm Jewish; and I have to say, there's a lot of things with this image that would cause me concern that it looks like something a neo-Nazi would wear than a police officer."
Some people could care less if I broke it down in bullet point format saying why a member of a minority group, be it racial, ethnic, or religious, might have an issue with this shirt.
Ultimately, Ladies and Gentlemen, that is the exact attitude that has had people protesting, marching, and rioting in the streets. The “I don't care” what anyone else thinks or feels, I’m going to defend to a fault anything that I feel like law enforcement is authorized, justified, and allowed to do… others be damned.
That’s the same attitude that says, “I don’t have a problem with people who are gay, I just don’t want to have their “lifestyle” thrown in my face.” When “throwing it in your face” actually means just walking in public.
Or the same attitude that tells Black people, “More Black people kill Black people than police officers,” when a civil rights group raises concerns over police violence against members of the Black community. This, of course, fails to express the understanding that the police are supposed to enforce laws or prevent crime. Crime and violence are not supposed to sanction the police to them, themselves, commit violence or crime. Essentially, saying more Black People kill Black People than the police is by no means an actually legitimate answer to any concerns that have been expressed.
This is also the same kind of attitude that says, “If people want to live in America, they need to speak ‘American’.” [No further comment needed on that one].
At the end of the day, when you fail to even acknowledge others concerns because they don’t affect you… well, that tends to end up amassing until it finally it pisses them off.
Because whenever there is majority vs. minority rifts in society, the minority groups are always supposed to lower the importance of their concern in order to solve the problem. In fact, the minority groups are made to feel like not only is their concern inferior, but also they are inferior for even posing the question.
“Did you really have to shoot and kill that person?”
- “They were a thug with a long criminal history!”
“Ok, past history aside. At the present moment that they were killed, was it necessary to kill them?”
- “Yes! They were committing or appeared to be committing a crime. Probably high on drugs too!”
“Ok, well was the crime or action significant enough to result in the immediate death penalty?”
- “Screw you! How dare you question us! Do you know how many cops die! You’re trying to start trouble! You’re trying to get cops killed!”
“Ummm, no, no I don’t know how many cops are killed and no I’m not trying to place a police officer in danger. However, if you’re allowed to be concerned about cops lives, including them being in danger, am I not allowed to pose the same question about members of the group I belong to as well? Since, well, my concern involves an inherent attribute that I was born with and cannot simply quit should I decide things have got a little too dangerous.”
- “Screw you! Blue Lives Matter!”
Ultimately, I don’t know how to break this to anyone, but minority groups, be it racial, ethnic, or religious, lowering their opinions, views, and de facto self-worth… well it hasn't worked out for us too well. As I passionately expressed I my post, the lowered view of our importance has cost a whole lot of Jewish lives throughout the years. The same thing can be said for every other minority group as well.
Incredibly, in this particular incident, people were defending a t-shirt and arguing that it couldn’t possibly be perceived as problematic or prejudice, because it was a “shift solidarity” shirt. I’m sorry, did I miss the part were “shirt solidarity” t-shirts were germane to police work? Did I overlook their necessity for the performance of a law enforcement officer to accomplish their duties?
In the comments of my post, I even posed this question to someone, “The agency I work for wears black uniforms not blue uniforms. If I go out and order t-shirts that say, “Black Lives Matter,” because “Blue Lives Matter” doesn’t fit the officers at my agency based on our uniforms, would this be a problem for you?”
Guess what? They said it would be a problem…
Why pray tell would “Black Lives Matter” for my officer’s shirt be different than the images found in the shirt Metro D.C. was wearing?
Well because, “Black lives matter is a racist, terrorist organization.”
“Powershift” with a Celtic cross replacing the O, a symbol that is one of the most popular symbols used by individuals and organizations to represent white nationalism, white supremacy, Neo-Nazism, and white pride; that is used as the logo for white nationalist website Stormfront.org, and stems from the Celtic cross worn by Norwegian Nazis during World War II.
Coupled with a photo shopped grim reaper logo worn by the fictional outlaw motorcycle gang from the television show The Sons of Anarchy.
Mixed with, “Let me see that waistband jo.” (Supporters of the shirt have no idea what this phrase means so they don’t even discuss it and pretend that it doesn’t even exist.)
All of that stuff is perfectly acceptable and one cannot even bring themselves to say that the officer wearing it may not have meant for it to express any sort of derogatory beliefs, however, they should have chosen better images.
However, saying “Black Lives Matter” even if I was referring to my agencies black uniform. Well that’s crossing the line. Can I say, “Black Lives Are Important?” Or is that too close?
Ultimately, that right there is the problem. You don’t need to instruct the Rand Corporation to do a comprehensive study on what causes problems between the public and the police. It’s actually right there as plain as day. Call it a “police superiority” complex if you’d like.
The sum of every single rift between entire collectives of the public and law enforcement relates to the outright unabashed refusal to even acknowledge others concerns and defend them without due regard for how they may be perceived by anyone outside of the police purview.
Amazingly, our profession is supposed to be comprised of public servants. As in, a group of people who serve the public. However, the only public we seem to want to hear from or serve is the parts of the public that shower us with praise and tell us how amazing we are.
At the end of the day, many of you can blame it on political partisanship, the media, “thugs,” “terrorist” civil rights groups, or anything the hell else you want to blame it on. However, all that represents, is just yet another example of an unwavering superiority complex.
Most importantly, if you really desire to represent something is indicative of fairness and justice; then recognize it is unethical to continuously suggest to minority groups that problems are all their fault and they are only solved when they lower themselves and elevate you. Not only is it immoral, but it also ends up doing nothing but pissing people off. Trust me… I know.