August 23, 2014

Dopey WNJ Letter of the Week

It's actually a "Delaware Voice" column by retired poli sci professor Perry J. Mitchell. Despite making some legitimate points -- community policing, militarization of police -- most of Mitchell's column is essentially liberal media boilerplate:

The crisis in Ferguson, Missouri, brings into focus our latent problems of race relations in this country. The police in Ferguson see their citizens through a lens of distortion, perhaps racial bias.

Ferguson is a majority black city but governed by all white city council and almost all white police force. Their police see their citizens as likely criminals, see their citizen protest as riots and see law enforcement as a tool for racial profiling. This is not to say that the initial protests did not bring some looting and some unlawful conduct.

That's quite a jump there, prof. How exactly do you make the claim that Ferguson's police force see its citizens as "likely criminals?" That their job is to "racially profile?" That they cannot discern between a peaceful protest and a riot? Did you grow up there, prof? Live there at all?

Do the (black) residents of Ferguson see the police "through a lens of distortion, perhaps racial bias," too?

Moreover, we've heard a lot recently about how Ferguson, a majority black city, is governed by an all-white city council. (It's not all white, but let's not disturb the NarrativeTM too much.) But ... the council is elected. Again: It's elected. If blacks are a clear majority of the town, then here's what should be obvious: Why don't they elect black council members? Prof Mitchell blames this lack of interest/participation on the general economic disparities between whites and blacks. Hmm.

The racial imbalance in Ferguson has been reflected in other police departments across the country. In 40 percent of American cities, blacks are under-represented in the police force according to census data.

There are racial imbalances in every profession, every walk of life, for the most part. This doesn't mean that professions like police work should not make outreaches and work to recruit more minorities. It's quite logical for such jobs to have a sizable quantity of people "who look like" those in their community. But as the mayor of Ferguson has noted, new cops aren't hired every year, and his force has worked to increase the number of black officers. In addition (and this is often the case in the field of education), it's difficult to attract qualified (black) applicants as "other larger departments are better at recruitment because they can pay more and offer more opportunities for advancement."

There are other, important, factors about the Ferguson (and other) situation(s) that Mitchell felt no need to address. That's certainly his prerogative, but it doesn't really help in advancing those "real conversations" about race relations that we're told we need to have.

(Oh, and prof? Do yourself a favor and ditch the toup, huh?)

Posted by Hube at August 23, 2014 09:15 AM | TrackBack

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