Sunday, July 24, 2016

Feeling Half Sick

One of my assumed responsibilities as a member of the local park board is to take care of the flagpoles in the town’s parks.  Normally, that is not much of a problem.  The flags are lighted and stay up 24 hours a day.  Lately however, I find myself making frequent rounds to lower the flags to half-staff.  If the violence against innocent people in the world does not stop, we might as well leave the flags lowered permanently. 

If the brutal murders committed by Islamic extremists are not enough, our police officers are now coming under attack by our own citizens in assumed retribution for alleged wrongdoing of a few.  If those perpetrating these acts of violence against innocent public servants think they are effectively countering the problem, they are dead wrong.  If police officers were not unduly cautious when encountering African-Americans before, they certainly will be now. 

Warning:  I am shutting off my political correction filter for a few minutes.  

Why are police officers apprehensive when approaching young black males, and perhaps females too?  Is it because they are racially prejudiced?   Do they simply hate blacks?
I think it is because they are afraid.  They may perceive young black people as unpredictable, aggressive toward authority figures, and a possible threat to their personal safety more than they might feel when approaching a white person.  Not being a police officer myself, I wonder if a black officer feels the same potential danger approaching a white offender.  My guess is no.  If true, why is that?

Let’s talk about stereotypes.  When I was growing up in northwest Indiana in the 1950’s and ‘60s, WGN television aired Amos ‘n Andy everyday after school, followed by the Three Stooges.  I thought the shows were funny and entertaining.  I find it strange that we cannot watch Amos 'n Andy anymore because the show might project a racist stereotype that is now considered harmful.  I didn’t think the show made black men look foolish any more than I thought the Three Stooges made white men look stupid. 

Today, WGN airs the Maury show where women, often black and typically out of control, come on to figure out who fathered their children.  These women usually appear disrespectful, crude, and combative.  Between Amos ‘n Andy and Maury, which show actually casts African-Americans in a more negative light? 

Maury is considered reality television, and unfortunately, it is.  Young black men, especially in the inner cities, often grow up without the positive influence of a father in the house.  This makes them vulnerable to looking elsewhere for structure they may find on the streets, whether it be in gangs or in unsavory individuals.  Watch any newscast on the same WGN television station, and you are likely to hear of black on black violence, daily shootings, murders and other criminal behavior.  

Perceived stereotypes are promulgated by an element of reality.  The tendency of police officers to be overly aggressive when approaching black men and women, especially in tough neighborhoods, is understandable.  They fear for their own lives.  Now, add to that fear the thought they may be walking into an ambush, and the situation only gets worse. 

Much of the problem can again be traced back to the demise of the traditional family.  Marriage, moral responsibility and God no longer remain as standards for many Americans.  Those who push a liberal agenda while detesting inner city violence fail to make the connection between the two.  Repealing the second amendment will not solve the problem.  Addressing the effect does not eliminate the cause.  Misguided individuals will still find a way to wreck havoc on others.  We need to regain respect for life – ALL life.  Yes, all lives matter, from conception to natural death.