Police reform, social programs, equality and justice are all so critically important but they might just be tonics to treat symptoms of the disease. The real problem in this country is generational poverty. Our political/educational/legal systems were created to give an advantage to one sort of person and to deny the same advantage to another sort of person.
The key to abolishing poverty is to provide more opportunity and what better opportunity is there than education? I propose that our country start providing free college tuition to every person who has an ancestor who was brought to this country by force or who was driven from their land by force (Indigenous Americans): descendants of slaves, prisoners of war or indentured servants who arrived on these shores by violent means.
I’m not proposing free tuition forever, but for 40-50 years to encompass more than one generation. The first two years at a community or junior college, not including remedial classes or time spent working on a GED, then free tuition to any college or university that the applicant qualifies for.
We could eradicate generational poverty in as little as two generations and our whole world could change for the better.
The jury’s motives
How dare Fox News host Tucker Carlson disparage the motives of the George Floyd jury by implying that the unanimous guilty verdict against Derick Chauvin was based on fears of the consequences of a not-guilty verdict. Carlson must not have watched the trial or refused to look at the video of Officer Chauvin murdering George Floyd. The evidence was so compelling that fellow policemen testified against Chauvin. They are heroes as well as the young lady who shot the incriminating cellphone video.
What is shockingly disturbing is the fact that, had not there been video of what actually happened, Chauvin could very well have received the not-guilty verdict that Carlson wanted.
Soon after George Floyd’s death, the headlines of a Minneapolis Police press release read, “Man Dies After Medical Incident During Police Interaction.” Nowhere in that press release was any mention of Chauvin having a knee on the neck of Floyd for over nine minutes. Thank goodness for the video or justice might not have been served.
Defunding the police is as ridiculous an idea as Tucker Carlson’s reasoning explaining the guilty verdict against Chauvin. But any reasonable person should agree that police reform is necessary to ensure police accountability and the ending of racial profiling. Trust must be rebuilt between law enforcement and all our communities by acknowledging systemic racism. The George Floyd Justice in Policing Act will be a good start. Congress must pass it.
There is an old Chris Rock “Public Service Announcement” aimed at the Black community (but applicable to everybody) posted on YouTube titled “How Not To Get Your A** Kicked By The Police” that has a special relevance in today’s times. The messages are simple:
Obey the law
Use common sense
Shut the f*** up (i.e., be respectful)
While it is easy to laugh at over-the-top, tacky caricatures, I cannot help but wonder how many young Black men would be alive today if they had followed those basic rules.
As a police officer told me when I was growing up in a privileged white suburb, as a privileged while male, in an era of unrestricted white privilege, “Always remember, a policeman is a man with a gun, so behave accordingly.”