Institutional Racism explained by an Ex-Batimore Cop
I am going to quote DIRECTLY from his piece describing what I believe can be attributed to institutional and systemic racism as the crux of the problem in my dear Charm City. I am not sure that the author was aware he was indeed supporting the arguments that not only does institutional racism exist, but the damage it has done to our collective society and why we must get rid of it:
Those who cut fire hoses and burned down homes and businesses? Police deal with them every day, literally. Those criminals didn't just appear on Monday, and they won't be gone tomorrow. They live there, without jobs, education, mainstream social skills, or hope.The question is HOW and WHY did they end up without jobs, education or social skills!?
They don't come from stable families. They don't go to church. Most violent criminals are actively or passively involved in the drug trade. In Baltimore this year -- just like last year and just like next year -- police will arrest tens of thousands of poor black men, mostly on drug charges. From the same pool, 200 will be shot and killed. Another 200 will do the killing.So we see that the drug trade is practically an accepted "profession" and all the ills that come with it.
These are communities, like the Baltimore's Eastern District, in which more than 10% of men are murdered. If all of America had homicide levels found in parts of Baltimore, there would be over 300,000 murders per year (as opposed to the still shamefully high 12,000 homicides in America).So consider the above: Unemployment in these areas of Baltimore is at about 50%, Now 10% of the men are murdered and a similar number are in jail. Then there are those who commit crimes and are not caught. How many are left to be respectable members of society?
And yet some continue to think of police as the main problem rather than part of the solution. But Baltimore is not Ferguson. The police department is 50% non-white. The mayor is black. So is the police commissioner. The city is 65% African-American.One comment here. The racism against the young black man is SO STRONG and institutionalized, that even his fellow black officer considers him, how should I say it... A THUG. The stereotype of the typical troublemaker and offender sadly fits the description of many typical young black males walking the streets daily. As a result, the young black man tends to get arrested at similar numbers regardless of the race of the cop. important to note the use of the word "similar"...
But even if there were no racist or brutal cops -- if every cop were a polite, fit, college-educated, bilingual, African-American gentleman or woman -- this wouldn't solve the greater problems of the ghetto or even police abuse. Police abuse has less to do with race than poverty and class. And police will never solve the problems of absent parents, mass incarceration, or a violence culture centered around the economics of drug prohibition.
Here, this is one of the few places I partially agree and disagree with the author. Why? First I agree with the earlier statement and my statement in the prior paragraph refers, considering the fact that the racism against the young black male is institutionalized, it matters little who wears the uniform against him. However I disagree on the rest of his statement:
One of the primary reasons the black male is absent from the homes of many African American households or many are only one parent households is a direct result of the mass incarceration and other policies fostered by institutional racism. These many ills of the black community is the direct result of these bad policies. So solve the policy issue and you solve a great percentage of the problem.
The problems in policing mirror the problems of society. We can and should improve police. The best way to do that is to improve society. True justice requires us to look both inward for blame and outward to the suffering around us. The worst thing we could do is nothing at all.I agree with the statement in bold. And I add that the best way to do this is to end the policies that promote institutional racism and go one step further and enact polices that will actually hasten its demise and promote healing, equality and unity among ALL members of our society regardless of race, religion or sexual affiliation.