Friday, February 13, 2015

lil'pookie excited by the respectability politics and completely misses the point..,


WaPo |  Comey delivered the fourth “hard truth,” which is also the toughest to confront.
The truth is that what really needs fixing is something only a few, like President Obama, are willing to speak about, perhaps because it is so daunting a task. Through the “My Brother’s Keeper” initiative, the President is addressing the disproportionate challenges faced by young men of color. For instance, data shows that the percentage of young men not working or not enrolled in school is nearly twice as high for blacks as it is for whites. This initiative, and others like it, is about doing the hard work to grow drug-resistant and violence-resistant kids, especially in communities of color, so they never become part of that officer’s life experience.
So many young men of color become part of that officer’s life experience because so many minority families and communities are struggling, so many boys and young men grow up in environments lacking role models, adequate education, and decent employment—they lack all sorts of opportunities that most of us take for granted. A tragedy of American life—one that most citizens are able to drive around because it doesn’t touch them—is that young people in “those neighborhoods” too often inherit a legacy of crime and prison. And with that inheritance, they become part of a police officer’s life, and shape the way that officer—whether white or black—sees the world. Changing that legacy is a challenge so enormous and so complicated that it is, unfortunately, easier to talk only about the cops. And that’s not fair.
Comey said something else as part of that first “hard truth” that was music to my ears. “We must better understand the people we serve and protect—by trying to know, deep in our gut, what it feels like to be a law-abiding young black man walking on the street and encountering law enforcement,” he said. “We must understand how that young man may see us. We must resist the lazy shortcuts of cynicism and approach him with respect and decency.” My hope is that Comey’s attitude and the words that buttress it trickles down to every police department in the country.

I urge you to watch or read Comey’s oration on law enforcement and race. The excerpts you’ve just read do not begin to convey their power. His address is as important as Obama’s and Holder’s speeches on race. And all three, in addition to the president’s comments following the not-guilty verdict in 2013 for George Zimmerman, the killer of Trayvon Martin, challenge all of us to face our and our nation’s flawed racial past as a way of healing and moving forward. When will we finally accept that challenge?