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Whataboutisms and deflections litter police reform conversation


So the Department of Justice finally published its findings on the Minnesota police force three years after the death of George Floyd. They only confirm what people of color already know: that people of color are targeted at a rate disproportionate to their population and are often subjected to unnecessary force when these encounters occur, many times resulting in death.

As the subject of three unfounded stops I can tell you from personal experience, the brief feelings of “Even though I have done nothing wrong, is this the day that I will not come home?” It’s a feeling that people without color rarely, if ever, experience.

It was truly disheartening to hear that our local police forces are not participating in the reporting of traffic stops by race. One cannot help but wonder why. I have many opinions on this subject, but there are a few issues that I would like to address:

How quickly we moved from protests over police killings to banning books written by under-served communities and people of color.

I often hear “Why the outcry over the death of minority motorists at the hands of police. Blacks are killed every day in Black on Black crime.”

Let’s play substitution:

“Why the outcry over cops selling drugs? People sell drugs every day.”

I have heard that many local police departments are trying to diversify their police forces. While I find that commendable, if you are going to hire someone of color or of a different gender who happens to agree with your model of policing, how is that going to change things?

Another time-honored attempt at deflection while continuing your policy of racial profiling. Racial profiling done by a cop of a different color is still racial profiling.

I am also amused at attempts to smear Democratic-run cities over the topic of crime. Why? Because Republican states have eight of the 10 highest crime rates in the country and Sacramento, California, the section represented by Kevin McCarthy, has one of the highest crime rates in the country.

Let’s be clear; this is not a Republican vs Democrat problem, this is an American problem. This problem affects all of us. The question is how can we stop trying to place unwarranted blame, come together and start addressing this crisis as the united nation we say we are?

Deborah White lives in Doylestown.

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