Injustice and the difference between us and the police.

I wrote about cop blogs last week, and how I enjoy the opportunity to look at the world through the lens of a police officer for a couple of minutes each morning. It’s productive and insightful and, at its best, reminds us that so many of our goals and objectives are the same, despite the fact that we approach problems from different sides of things.

Then, other times, they write stuff like this. Follow the link and learn that “Officer Smith” is frustrated initially by the fact that the “Scum sucking, bottom feeding, hypocritical” looters in Oakland who can best be described by a word “that starts with the letter ‘N'” can’t be called by that name – at least by him – “because I’m the wrong color”. Yes, where others looked at the riots that broke out in Oakland in the wake of Officer Mehserle’s conviction for Involuntary Manslaughter after shooting an unarmed, prone, handcuffed man in the back as an injustice for other reasons, “Officer Smith” is mad that he can’t call the looters n***gers.

Although, you know, he kind of does – just really cleverly, by omission. We know the word starts with an “N”, Officer, and that if you were a different color, you wouldn’t be constrained against using it… “Nephew”? Is it “nephew”?

He goes on to talk about how people who dress like the looters in the photo – “the standard hood-rat uniform of long white t-shirt and six sizes too big jeans” – are “rarely” not committing criminal acts like “just generally standing in the shadows acting shady” or maybe “chugging a stolen Steel Reserve or O.E.” (presumably “Officer Smith” takes the time from his schedule to investigate who the true owner of the malt liquor is, and he’s not just making assumptions).

He talks about all of this injustice – how “it’s called profiling” when he stops people he’d like to call a name “that starts with the letter ‘N'” even though they’re usually guilty of “standing in the shadows acting shady” in their “standard hood-rat uniform” – and then I remembered a blog post that he wrote right before the Mehserle verdict was announced:

Mehserle is white, Grant was black. Had either of those facts been different there would be no uproar. There would be no riots and no accusation of foul play if a black officer had shot a white person. But just because it is what it is there is no way it was anything less than murder in the eyes of the local black community. Why?

And I thought, Hey! I can answer this one! The reason there’s an uproar over a white cop shooting a black victim in the back while he’s handcuffed and in the prone position is because officers like you reveal your racism constantly and thus they don’t trust you.

Writing a “cop blog”, expressly about the experiences of being a cop, means that you’re repping the badge. It’s not a blog from Joe, who happens to be a policeman. It’s the blog of “Officer Smith”, offering “thoughts from behind the badge”. And when those thoughts include, “Man, it’s unfair that I can’t call people n***gers” and “standing aroundwhile wearing baggy pants and a big t-shirt is shady and I should be able to stop people who do it at will without being accused of profiling” then you make people – especially black folks – not trust cops. They start to think that maybe you look at them and see a criminal, and someone who deserves to be put down with a word that was invented to designate them as something less than human. And then – when one of your brethren shoots them in the back while they’re bound and prone – they start to believe that maybe, just maybe, you did it on purpose.

That clear enough for you, “Officer Smith”?

(image via the blog of the cop who thinks the real injustice is the fact that he’s not allowed to use a word “that begins with the letter ‘n’)

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