Racism: Police Need Us

This is not an anti-police rant, nor an indictment of the brave men and women who serve our communities with honor, kindness, and empathy.

This is about racism.

The Police Need Us, as Much as We Need Them

This is also a plea to my fellow White-Americans. 

The police need our help. Racism is preventing them from doing their job.

They need help to put an end the systematic racism that is taking the lives of our fellow citizens of color.

They need help disrupting the racist system that criminalizes being a person a color.

They need help standing up to the racist system that fails over and over again to protect and serve the communities they are tasked with keeping safe.

The good ones, the good cops are in an impossible situation. They rely on a system and a group of people that is wrought with racism and corruption.

These good cops take seriously the oath they swore to uphold.

It likely read something like this, “The Law Enforcement Oath of Honor is recommended as by the International Association of Chiefs of Police as symbolic statement of commitment to ethical behavior. ”

On my honor,
I will never betray my badge1,
my integrity, my character,
or the public trust.
I will always have
the courage to hold myself
and others accountable for our actions.
I will always uphold the constitution2
my community3 and the agency I serve. 

The IACP goes on to explain what officers must understand before taking that pledge…

Honor means that one’s word is given as a guarantee.
Betray is defined as breaking faith with the public trust.
Badge is the symbol of your office.
Integrity is being the same person in both private and public life.
Character means the qualities that distinguish an individual.
Public trust is a charge of duty imposed in faith toward those you serve.
Courage is having the strength to withstand unethical pressure, fear or danger.
Accountability means that you are answerable and responsible to your oath of office.
Community is the jurisdiction and citizens served.

Sadly, many have not lived up this pledge. And it is up to us to help them do so. As a whole, white American needs to ask…how can we assist law enforcement in eradicating racism’s hold on the police community?

A Call to Arms Against Racism

Officers in many communities have lost the trust, admiration and goodwill of the people they serve. Yet, we still call on them. We expect them to show up when needed and for a majority of the nation they do.

But, it is time for us to show up for them.  

While I believe that those who serve with honor, and courage hold themselves accountable to the tenets of the Constitution, their community and the agencies they serve, and that they deserve our support and respect, I can’t always tell them apart from the bad guys. Can you?

I can only imagine how impossible it must be from their perspective. To be reliant on, to trust their very lives to those they serve with, those who are not worthy of the badge, or the job. 

I imagine it feels impossible to fix from within. I try hard to keep that in mind when yet another citizen of color is unjustifiably killed or brutalized.

I try to understand when they support and close ranks around their brothers and sisters in blue, they need them. Out in the community, they are outnumbered.

There will be more, have been more, senseless violence since I first began to write this, violence against people of color, and against the police. It will not stop on its own.

If Not Us, Then Who?

There will be more marches, riots, petitions, articles, charges…but few if any convictions of the officers perpetrating these acts. No convictions, even after all the evidence is presented. No convictions by judge or jury. Just another officer gone free of the repercussions of their actions. Merely because they are officers, not because they weren’t guilty.

We need conviction. The conviction that these killers will no longer serve our communities. The conviction to end racial profiling. The conviction from cities and towns to hold their police departments accountable. The conviction of communities that all members will be treated justly by its government…and that means the white community stepping up and speaking out.

People of color are not culpable in their own victimization, nor should they be the ones held responsible for trying to solve it. We, the white community are those who need to step in to stop this.

White is Mighty…Racist

It is not the responsibility of the black community to keep fighting for their right to walk the street, drive a car, or shop in stores without being profiled. It is the white community that needs to hold its own self up for scrutiny and demand better of itself and our police forces.

It is the white community that needs to intercede not only in the policing policies affecting our community but in all government agencies and business. To demand a level playing field, counterbalancing inequities that have long repressed the black community. The entirety of the white community needs to be reminded of their responsibility to the rest of the America.

I don’t believe you lack integrity or courage, but you have been largely silent on this White America. Those wrong headed memes screaming “Police Lives Matter” or “All Lives Matter,” are indicative of misunderstanding what “Black Lives Matter” truly means.

If you are still on that bandwagon you have a ways to go before you can help out the police. Check yourself. You are seriously misrepresenting the people you think you are speaking up for.

It is the lack of accountability for their actions that allows bad cops to get away with murder. It is our not holding them accountable that allows it to continue to cost people of color their lives.

One Nation, Indivisible, with Liberty, and Justice, for All.

Until the white community stops using its privilege to ignore the atrocities being committed against people of color,

Until the white community stops being more afraid of being called a racist than being a racist,

Until all are seen as human, and not valued or demeaned for the color of their skin, will we be free of the scourge that is racism and have a law enforcement community that everyone can trust and rely on.