Illustrating the Overwhelming Importance of Race in America:
The Cambridge Police and Black Scholar Gates
The other day President Obama wanted to just talk about his attempt to get universal health care in the United States, but he took the last question of the event and it was about the Cambridge Police and the black scholar Gates. It was a question about race and Obama said something critical about the Cambridge police. And all hell broke out.
Now most of the debate has been pretty silly. People argue about the details of this particular case and take sides for or against the parties involved. But it is all rather silly because it misses the large point that race is such an important topic that it can't really even be honestly discussed in the United States. The mere mention of a criticism of a largely white police force in Cambridge has all the rednecks up and railing against the president of the United States. The whole racist party of the Republicans band together to make their displeasure known. They still have those bumper stickers around: "Support your local police!" Those among the white racists almost always support the police regardless of what they do to minorities or other liberals, because they see the police as their first line of defense against the disadvantaged black and brown minorities --just behind voting for the Republican party as the main line of defense.
The liberal position of plural but equal was supposed to have taken race off the front pages as an unimportant factor because everyone will respect the various multi-cultures in the United States. And it has been fairly successful, just as Booker T. Washington's talk of separate but equal took race off the front pages in his age. But then a president criticizes a white police officer in his treatment of a black man and we all once more learn that race is a problem that multiculturalism has just swept under the rug. It's there just as strong and virulent as ever. Talk about knee-jerk liberalism, well here is the overwhelming knee-jerk racism of the numerous rednecks in this country.
Rednecks and other Republicans always side with the white police. It's a testimony of their virulent racism. And they love it! They love to use these kinds of situations as rallying points for their racist values and approach to life.
Almost everyone in the USA lies about race and tries to make it less important than it really is. It's the 800 pound gorilla in the room that nobody wants to talk about. They would rather put it out of their minds and not think about the problem. But then a situation like what happened in Cambridge comes along and we all suddenly see the gorilla in his infamous power and strength.
Most of what the liberals are saying is just pure fluff. They say such things as you have to build trust or respect for different cultures. Hey, you can teach a million courses in racial tolerance, but without a change in the real reality of economic, social and political racial-inequality, the racial system is not going to change fundamentally. It just goes on and on and on.
That's the importance of Cambridge. It shows us just how racially divided and unfair we still are. You have whole groups of Americans unable to trust each other because of the racist system that always insures that the United States distributes the good things of life unequally among the different races, with the whites being the favored race.
Obama doesn't want to talk about race because he knows what happens when it is discussed, as illustrated by the racist whites' reactions to the Cambridge Affair. He shot himself in the foot. Politically, it handed the racists a rallying point as a gift.
Racism is the primary reason why so many whites oppose universal health care. They don't want the government to help the blacks and the browns. They want their government primarily to insure that the whites remain in power and with the most money. But they can't come out and say this. So they lie and spread all kinds of egregious untruths about universal health care. Deep down I think most of them know that 95% of what the Republican Party says is bull shit, but they don't care as long as universal health care is defeated. They believe the government should just help the white middle class and stay away from "racial" issues.
It's all a stupid, ugly game of pretense that both sides play so they don't have to admit that racism is still the number one problem facing the United States. Both liberals and conservatives conspire to keep the lie going, because it's easier to pretend there is not much of a problem than try to fix it.
Patrick Louis Cooney, Ph. D., July 27, 2009
P.S. My own take on the actual situation. The police officer should never have let the situation get so out of hand. He should have assured Gates that he is not prejudiced against blacks and that he is only trying to help him. The officer supposedly taught courses on racial relations in the police department. I guess he was never told of how sensitive or overly-sensitive some blacks can be. I speculate, partly based on some unpleasant interactions with cops myself, that the cop got very angry at Gates and wanted to teach him a lesson. So he lured him out to the porch so he could arrest an old man who has to use a cane to walk. From personal experience I know how cops can lie through their teeth to convict a "smart-aleck" to teach him a lesson -- a lesson that he "deserves" to learn.
In the redneck defense of all police officers they forget about rampant corruption in police departments, racism in police departments, the wall of silence that meets any attempt to investigate the police, the covering up of the actions of a cop no matter what he did by his fellow cops, the use of sadistic and depraved sexual violence against minorities, etc., etc., etc. And have they forgotten that in the South during the apartheid days the whites police forces and the highest politicians in such states as Mississippi were all involved with the KKK and complicit in the murders of the three civil rights workers Chaney, Goodman and Schwerner? Do they care? Not really, I'm afraid.
The Police are much too sympathetic to the Redneck view of life. One of the big problems for the police is their basic life philosophy. Many of the young men and women recruited into the police already have a Redneck approach to life: society, politics, economics, history. Then being in a group mostly favorable to the Redneck philosophy reinforces their own Redneck attitudes. Add to this that many of the people they have to investigate and arrest are minorities, many of which have a lot of reasons for not caring for the police. Add to that the paranoid attitude of the profession that adds to the normal paranoia of Rednecks and a situation is created where there is great hostility between minorities and the police and between strong liberals and the police. We could also add the blue shield that protects rotten cops from being discovered and/or prosecuted as a factor that makes attitudes of the police worse.
Often the police have to be "tough" with the bad ones in the ghettoes. And many times this attitude is then also brought to dealing with the section of law-abiding whites. Police dealings with the innocent and the not innocent are often very upsetting to members of the public. And this to a great extent is the result of the Redneck attitudes of the police.
A big problem with many police officers is that they cross the line from describing a violation of the law to moralizing over it and calling the public names. Often they just naturally assume that the person they have stopped is guilty until proven innocent. When innocents are treated like convicted criminals, this does not make for pleasant interactions. The police moralizing can turn into moral harassment very easily. This is true especially when a police officer has his/her adrenalin rushing through their body because they are excited, upset or outraged.
If a psychiatrist started berating the patients for something they did, they wouldn't have many clients. Of course, the police officer can't be like the psychiatrist, but they can use the notion of psychiatry to help them calm down before approaching the public. Replace the Redneck way of looking at life with a psychiatric one. Don't become morally indignant in the job of policing and try to remain calm the best that is possible! Don't morally scold and berate the public!
I personally had a dealing with a police officer that just knew I was guilty and he starts morally berating me for something I didn't do. In fact, he wouldn't even give me a chance to say my side of the story. And he, who is not following standard operating procedures for good police behavior, tells me that I have a bad attitude. I just asked myself what right does this Redneck officer have the right to tell me I have an inappropriate attitude? I fight against the Redneck attitudes toward life, while he wallows in it. (Of course, I wrote a complaint to the chief of police.)
August 13, 2009
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