Who Is to Blame for How Black Males Are Viewed by Others?

by Patricia L. Dickson  12/9/14

In a heated exchange, PBS host Tavis Smiley told Sean Hannity that“racism is still the most intractable issue in this country, it’s a part of everything we do still.”  He made this claim while discussing the incidents surrounding the police handling of Michael Brown and Eric Garner.  Mr. Smiley also stated, in refuting President Obama’s remarks on BET that we cannot compare what is happening now with what happened fifty years ago, “It is open season on black men, and it is in many ways as bad as it was fifty years ago.”

The meme that Mr. Smiley and other prominent black Americans keep repeating is that police officers have such a negative view of black males (which Smiley and others attribute to racism) that they place less value on their (black males’) lives.  That in turn causes the police officers to set out from the get-go to shoot to kill.

Now, there is no evidence that supports that claim.  However if that is the case, how did the police officers come to view black males so negatively in the first place?

My parents always taught me that people would view me in the way that I presented myself.  In other words, if I do not respect myself in the way that I dress, speak, or act, people will not show me any respect.  I have never once been taught that the way I am viewed is the fault of others.

The soul-singing group The Staple Singers recorded a song in the late sixties and earlier seventies titled Respect Yourself.  Mr. Smiley apparently blames police officers for the way he claims they view black males.

Later, he argued “with regard to Mr. Brown, when you hear Officer Wilson in his testimony refer to him as a demon and describe him in the way that he did, we go back to my earlier point, Sean, that too often black men are already presumed guilty and that officers, not all, but too many, come at us with an approach that already raises the level of tension before you get to the unfortunate and untimely death of Mr. Brown in Ferguson. It’s the way we are viewed too often from Jump Street number one.

I listened to a black radio broadcast this weekend where the discussion was the Brown and Garner cases.  Every guest on the show stated that police officers needed to be trained on how to deal with black people (mainly males).  I listened for forty-five minutes (that was all that I could take), and not one of them ever said anything about black males needing to change their behavior.

What am I missing?  I do not understand how the black community can continually blame police officers without balancing it with the need for black males to make some changes on their part.


PatriciaDicksonPatricia Dickson blogs at Patricia’s Corner.
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8 Responses to Who Is to Blame for How Black Males Are Viewed by Others?

  1. Timothy Lane says:

    One thought that occurred to me immediately upon hearing Smiley’s horse-krugman was that if the police really were declaring open season on young black males, the number of blacks killed by the police would dwarf the number of blacks murdered by young black male thugs. Since instead most black murder victims die at the hands of young black thugs, and very few from policemen either black or white (note that 10 of the 32 blacks killed by the police in the St. Louis area from 2003 through 2012 were killed by blacks, and that the sergeant who oversaw the attempt to arrest Eric Garner was a black woman), it follows that Smiley is either paranoid or is lying in order to stoke black paranoia (and thus make such incidents happen more often, for his own gain as a race hustler but at the expense of those who claims to want to help).

    Conservatives, who believe that people should be accountable for their behavior, are aware that fears of young black males stem from the violent misbehavior of too many of them (which is increased by the paranoia-stoking of race hustlers like Smiley). Liberals believe that individual misbehavior is the fault of everyone other than the misbehaving individual. This is very convenient for them politically, which is all that matters to them, but unworkable as the basis for civil society.

  2. Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

    My parents always taught me that people would view me in the way that I presented myself. In other words, if I do not respect myself in the way that I dress, speak, or act, people will not show me any respect.

    Your parents were, obviously, grounded people who saw the world as it actually is.

    This characteristic is not only no longer valued, but it is actually condemned by many.

    Regardless of what the “no judgement” crowd likes to spout, people are judged by the way they look and their actions. If a girl wears skimpy clothes and has tattoos on her tits and ass, most males will figure she is whore. If a guy wears his pants around his knees and has nails through his nose, the minimum people will think is that he is mentally unbalanced.

    If some punk, robs a convenience store, assaults the employee there, walks down the middle of the road, curses at the cop who tells him to get off the road and then assaults the cop, it should not be surprising that something less than optimal happens.

    The fact is crime in black neighborhoods is many times higher than in other areas, blacks commit murder at a rate proportionally 9 times greater than whites. Some years back even that race-baiter Jesse Jackson let slip that if he were alone on a street at night and heard steps coming up behind him, he would be relieved if he turned around and he saw a white man. Given these facts, exactly how are the police to view young black males, particularly when in sticky situations? While it is true individuals have to be treated as individuals, it is absolutely normal to classify people into groups. Therefore, let me turn Smiley’s point on its head. Given the facts of crime in this country, why wouldn’t the police approach black males differently from other groups?

    I think a more important question is how much damage is the lawlessness of young black males doing to the black community? How much more difficult do they make life for law abiding blacks by creating and reinforcing a stereotype which might be attached to hard working law abiding people?

    People are judged by how they look and act. The Candides among the Left and Libertarians might like to think this is not the case, but it is part of human nature to take the information at hand, imperfect as it might be, combine it with experience and utilize both in making judgments about how to act and react in life.

    • Timothy Lane says:

      There you are, bringing up reality again. The whole point of liberalism is to deny reality. Consider what it does to their most cherished dogmas, it’s easy to understand why, though it’s very hard for those liberal unreality is inflicted on.

  3. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    As far as I’m concerned, this issue has two main aspects (the rest is smoke and mirrors designed to cover up these aspects, both from other people and from themselves):

    1) Many blacks think they should have a get-out-of-jail-free card and not be held to normal standards of civilized behavior

    2) Black culture — not racism or the legacy of slavery — is the problem

    • Timothy Lane says:

      I would disagree only slightly: the problem is urban (ghetto) black culture, not black culture specifically (though I suspect even rural blacks are corrupted at least somewhat by the urban culture).

      • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

        I guess the task today would be to name a “black culture” that was identifiably different from the one (call it “hip hop” if you wish) that is at the root of the problem.

        No, not all blacks buy into this culture. Some live in the traditional American culture, or the Christian culture, or the culture of their business and circle of friends (aka, normal living).

        But surely if anyone has a better term than “black culture,” I’m all ears. But let’s recognize the black separatist element of this “black culture” (or whatever we wish to call it) whose purpose is to remain a distinct culture….and for reasons that make this “black culture” different from, say, some “Little Italy” culture. “Black culture” is Marxist in origin. It is a rejection of Western/American culture based upon the usual poisonous Cultural Marxist beliefs.

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