I figured last week’s headline (Black Skin Gives Better Protection than White: Study — AFP) would raise a few eyebrows. Well, not the headline, really, but my lead-in “slug” for it: “Except From the Police”.
I did get one fairly outraged letter:
I personally am offended by your comment on this headline. I am a police officer and work in an all-black neighborhood, but myself and my partners do not find it necessary to beat people or profile to do our jobs effectively. If you took the time to truly get to know some police officers and understand the job, I think you would find your ‘funny’ comment itself to be a great misrepresentation of the truth. You have let yourself become a victim of media influence. (However, I feel that you will actually read my opinion and take it seriously, unlike any so-called mainstream media would do.) I thought you were more intelligent than to make a comment like that without thinking that perhaps you were generalizing the characteristics of a whole group of people based on a few bad ones. –Greg, Tennessee
Take the Time to Get to Know Some Cops?!
I asked Greg if it would it surprise him to learn that I am a former peace officer myself. He was.
I started as a police cadet in Menlo Park, Calif., and got out of the biz some years later, after a stint as a deputy sheriff in Humboldt County, Calif., where I did search and rescue work. The photo (right) is from my neglected personal site: that’s me, in uniform, at the left, holding the camera.
It’s absolutely true that most cops are terrific, hard-working men and women who are trying to make their cities better places. True is, in its essence, biting social commentary. I knew I’d hear from a lot of my black readers that my comment is right on — and I have; it’s the way many of them truly feel, and a lot of the time those feelings are based on real-life experience, not paranoia.
I’ve said many, many times that while True is entertainment, part of its mission is to make people think and talk about the issues raised. We all belong to groups that have done something worthy of being laughed at — which is a damn sight better than crying!
If we can learn to laugh at ourselves when those things are illuminated, we get closer to “getting along” with others (as one black man who tussled with the police once urged).
Greg did tell me something I didn’t know: last week was Police Memorial Week, dedicated to the memory of officers killed in the line of duty. Thus I do have one regret with the headline: its timing.
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