When people hear my perspective on racial bias in American law enforcement, which is predictably pro-police, in response, they leap to the extreme end of the spectrum. They challenge: “So, I suppose you don’t think there is any racial/ethnic bias in policing?”
To frame my argument in such a restricted and disingenuous—and, if I may, black and white—manner does little to foster the “open discussion on race” the left is always advocating. Of course, there is bias in policing—always has been, always will be—as long as we’re human. And, while there is individual racism, this is not evidence of institutional racism? The evidence of this is overwhelming.
Let’s consider three issues:
First: Can an officer harbor racial/ethnic biases and still do the job properly?
Second: Even if an officer does possess a racial bias, does he or she allow that bias to affect law enforcement decisions?
Third: Does the left conflate individual racism with institutional racism, deliberately, specifically to preserve and perpetuate racial animosity?
Whatever you do for a living, especially if it is in some sort of service-provider capacity, do you allow your biases to affect how you treat certain people? Is it possible to harbor racial bias and still provide excellent service? I say it is, and people do it every day in all occupations.
Let’s say there is a cop who has a long-held contempt for Republicans. This officer arrives to investigate a burglary at a house where the homeowner has hammered a Republican candidate’s election sign into the front lawn. If the officer conducts a thorough and proper investigation and treats the victims with civility and respect, despite their political polarity, is there still a problem, or is the left not satisfied until everyone is forced think a certain way? Or, is it okay as long as it’s left against right?
Even if an individual police officer allows racial bias to influence enforcement decisions, against policies established by his or her institution, how can that signal an example of institutional racial bias? Since a law enforcement agency isn’t supposed to support racial bias affecting its officers’ work, and would sanction any officer who was caught doing so, objectively, isn’t this an example of individual bias and not institutional bias?
People all over America, who, after learning of an event that involved individual racism, often conflate it to rise to the level of institutional racism. So, some idiot kids paint a swastika on a Jewish temple. Now, somehow, the spirit of Jim Crow has risen because of it? People should note that the major American cities being criticized for having high crime and low employment rates happen to be Democrat-run, many for over half a century.
When the left conflates examples of individual racism with institutional racism, they set up a situation where institutional racism, like individual racism, can never be perceived as eradicated.
Oh, wait. Could that be the plan?