Police, public action influenced by generalizations

In cases of police brutality, profiling, racism and many other modern societal issues, we are often quick to point the finger at police, either through the media or on local platforms for doing too poor of a job maintaining the conduct of their officers to avoid such terrible tragedies from happening.

But, how often do we wonder what the other side should do?

Now, to get this out of the way, I will be the first to say that all police officers found guilty or appearing to be should own up to the terrible deeds they have done.

I am not referring to Eric Garners and Walter Scotts who obviously did little to no wrong and who did not warrant their terrible deaths at the hands of police. 

Like all types of people, cops can kill unjustly too, and the national spotlight is on them more than anyone, and fittingly too, because it is their collective duty to protect and serve the citizenry of our country.

What I want to talk about now is the underlying issue that has grown more and more rampant in recent years.  That is the uncomfortable situation between police and the public, especially its members of color. 

It seems we find ourselves in some kind of unfortunate self-fulfilling prophecy.  To illustrate my point, instead of using broad generalizations (which I detest), I will give a fictional example of how I see modern racial relations, or insubordinate or domineering relations in general, playing out in today’s stage.

Say for instance that there is this black individual who has done nothing wrong.  He is walking down the street when a police vehicle pulls up beside him.  Because of his imagined resentment toward all police that has been woven into him by mass media and society, the black person takes on a stubborn manner when answering the officer’s question. 

Because the officer has seen coverage of riots and possibly personal situations in which race was a substantial factor, the officer takes a standoffish, possibly offensive stance towards the other man.  With such a downward spiral established within the first 10 seconds of contact, it is easy to see how police-public relations can become so quickly inflamed and reproductive off its own phenomenon.

This ties in to why generalizing is the main issue here when dealing with police brutality and public insubordination against officers.  If we think all police officers are unfair, racist people, nothing will ever be improved.  If we think all people of color are offended and unwilling to listen to police, then nothing will ever be accomplished regarding these issues. 

While police need to follow the law just as much as anyone while also staying strict to their regulations as officers as we so often call for them to do on all fronts, then we must also avoid getting into a negative state of mind when confronting them and cooperate with them unless we think what they say or do violates our rights. 

Education and an open state of mind are the tools for fixing these touchy issues.  Only then, we will be able to move past our self-created differences and live in a hopeful state of harmony in the future.

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