My newest piece in Investors' Business Daily starts this way:
With chants of "NYPD, KKK" and signs saying "Stop Racist Police Terror" up until days before Christmas, protesters in New York made it clear that they don't trust the police.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo's second inaugural address was blunt:
"The truth is the justice system does need review. The truth is there are troubling questions that have been raised which must be answered."
But despite the overwhelming political and media rhetoric and the polls, there is strong evidence that blacks trust police at least as much as whites do.
If you looked only at recent polls by Gallup and Pew, there is no question: blacks clearly don't trust police.
Blacks were asked to explain why black males go to prison so much. Compared to other Americans, blacks were 29% more likely to say it was more a matter of racial discrimination than it was about the disproportionate number of crimes committed by black males. Blacks are much more likely to say that police treat blacks less fairly than whites. Blacks are also more likely to believe that the police are dishonest.
The media have also bombarded people with "evidence" that blacks are discriminated against. Take the widely reported false claim that black men between the ages of 15 and 19 are 21 times as likely as whites to be killed by a police officer. Few note that these numbers are based on just 1.2% of police departments and that the ones that do report represent very heavily black urban areas.
Politicians have supported these fears. After the Ferguson grand jury verdict, President Obama emphasized that the anger about the verdict was "an understandable reaction" and blacks' distrust of police is "rooted in realities."
But what people say and what they do are often very different.
A great many blacks say that Trayvon Martin and Michael Brown were innocent and unarmed. But that doesn't mean that they act like that they all believe it. . . .
The rest of the piece is available here
Labels: op-ed, Police, police racism