Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Khalil Gibran Muhammad: Darren Wilson Is ‘America's Model Policeman’

Khalil Gibran Muhammad at The Nation argues persuasively that Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson is speaking both accurately and truthfully when he says he was just "doing [his] job" when he shot and killed Brown:

And yet, despite all the equivocations, the shooting death of the teenager on August 9 and Monday’s grand jury decision not to indict Wilson were entirely unsurprising. They are the predictable outcomes of a criminal justice system doing exactly what it was meant to do. For all the dissecting and debating of the veracity of Darren Wilson’s grand jury testimony this week, one thing seems crystal clear. He was in fact doing his job.

Indeed, by this standard, isn’t Darren Wilson actually a model police officer?

Wilson, Brown
He certainly thinks so. When asked by Stephanopoulos if he could make “something good” come of this experience, he said he would “love to teach people” and give them “more insight in uses of force.” That he may have logged more time on first-person shooters—emptying clip after clip to take down demonic super-villains who “run through shots”—than actual police work is beside the point. Darren Wilson has the kind of experience that many Americans value.

(Bolds mine. - SB)

What can we do to render the system and its White citizens less predisposed to regard Black men as criminals based solely on the color of their skin?

That's a hard question, if for no other reason than that 85-90 percent of our population has never given a thought to reforming that system, or even acknowledged to themselves that there is a problem.

This is not about overt racists; it's about a large percentage of White people who do not think of themselves as racist and who are not thought of as racist by other White people. That's far more insidious than racism out in the open.

One thing Americans could do, if we had the political will, is to de‑commercialize the penal system, to reduce any financial incentive to imprison people. That won't reduce the number of police murders of young Black men for no reason, but it will reduce the number of such men jailed prospectively, so to speak. I'll never forget a neighbor of mine when I was a kid who saw a Black man walking through our (overwhelmingly White) neighborhood and cursed him: I said, "He's probably just walking to the bus stop; that's not a crime." The neighbor replied, "I've never known a n***** who's not guilty of some crime!" That's a much more difficult problem to address, and I confess I don't have a clue how to fix it in general. I suspect most racists become racists in their childhood, and that by the time it manifests itself in a public context, it's too late.

Anybody have any good ideas? or is Muhammad right, that Wilson is, was and ever shall be just "doing [his] job"?

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