Too many Black male lives are being lost at the hands of White police officers abusing their power. The lives of Black boys and men matter. Their lives matter enough to have a serious national discourse about how their lives are increasingly threatened by abused police power. Democrats, Republicans and Independents must genuinely participate in this national conversation. Police officers are charged with the noble responsibility of protecting and serving the American people—not doing unlawful harm to them. Black boys and men are Americans and deserve the same equal and quality protection and service that every American has a right to enjoy. Many White police officers, however, haven’t gotten the memo about their responsibility to apply justice equally and fairly among all Americans, including Black boys and men. Clear thinking Americans must call for a national discourse to take place about abused police power and its impact on Black boys and men. What follows is a list of three of many benefits of having a national discourse about the problems with many police officers abusing their power when interacting with Black boys and men.
1. Increase Confidence in Police Officers in Minority Communities
If more confidence in police officers is to emerge from minority communities across the nation, then an authentic national discourse about police abuse of power must take place. Many racial and ethnic minorities want the nation to hear their voices about how they lack faith in numerous White police officers’ willingness to serve and protect them. Many minorities posit that police officers are out for their destruction. This hostility that exists between many in minority communities and the police can only be positively addressed by having a genuine national discourse about it, and then implementing policies at the local, state, and federal levels to respond to credible problems.
2. Dramatically Reduce the Number of Senseless Police Killings of Black Males
Again, the lives of Black boys and men matter. Too many Black boys and men are being murdered by police officers because they’re being unfairly targeted by many White police officers. If America doesn’t get serious about police officers’ unjustified killings of Black males, then this country is headed down a terrible and bloody road to race wars between Whites and Blacks, leading to unnecessary losses of precious lives. A national discourse about these senseless murders of Black boys and men can lead to important solutions about how better to prevent and fight against these injustices.
3. Help to Improve Racial Divides between Blacks and Whites Caused by Police
Unfortunately, unnecessary walls are erected between numerous Blacks and Whites because of intentionally nefarious actions of White police officers against Black boys and men. We shouldn’t allow the racism of many police officers to divide those of us who aren’t racists. A national conversation about police abuse of power engenders an opportunity to separate the racists from the non-racists.
In America, we continue to avoid having the important discourses we need to have as a nation. It seems that vital conversations needing to take place at the local, state, and federal levels aren’t happening because countless individuals lack the courage to engage in these difficult conversations. The American people will grow more divided by avoiding essential race matters. We don’t magically become more united by abandoning discussions about race—we continue to grow farther apart by neglecting frank discourses about race.
Let’s have an honest national conversation about police abuse of power when interacting with Black boys and men. Our country will be better for having this conversation.
Antonio Maurice Daniels
University of Wisconsin-Madison