I hope people will read past the headline. Please, read before you start commenting. I do not want to hinder your fight against racism. I just want you to stop getting killed so you can keep fighting.
When I say racism is not the problem, here is where I am coming from: I’m coming from a place where my ancestors used to have 80% market share in slave trade. Where only in 2006 the name of a type of candy got rid of the name “nigger kisses” and changed it to “angel kisses”. Where we’re being called out at NATO because a children’s celebration has dozens of people running around in black face. ‘Apartheid’ is a Dutch word. Really, the Dutch are as racist as any western country, if not more.
And still, with all this obvious racism happening, the scale of people killed by our police, is measured single digits/years. Not single digit/months. And yes, our cops do carry fire arms.
There is something really off with the American police force. It feels wrong to blame the people who want to be cops. I really do think most of them are going in with good intentions. Something is failing them, and I think it’s the police academy. A culture in a work place is indoctrinated. Indoctrination starts the moment education for the job starts.
The internet tells me this:
The length of time required to complete academy training averaged 19 weeks as of 2006, according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics. The Memphis Police Department Academy usually takes 21 weeks to complete, while San Diego’s program lasts six months. This is followed by on-the-job training of about 18 months.
That would mean it takes you about 2 years to become a cop, let loose on the streets without further supervision. With great power comes great responsibility and all signs point to police officers not being ready for the responsibility.
For contrast, to become a gun carrying police officer in the Dutch police force, it will take you 3 to 4 years, depending on district. That’s almost twice as long in training. And training is the one thing that helps against fear and panic in stressful situations. Training will also help overcome personal bias, at least where your job is concerned.
I have often wondered about the claims from cops who shot black men. That they feared for their lives. A lot of people will say they are lying. But would so many people kill humans just for the hell of it? Most of the racist people I know (sadly I do know quite a few of them) would stop short at murder. I am going with Hanlon’s razor on this; “Never assume malice when stupidity will suffice” They are stupid, because they lack the education. Relying on things like false media messages to make up for it. And those messages say ‘fear the black man’. You know they do. So, yes, I do think they feared for their lives the moment they pulled that trigger. I also think, with 2 extra years of training, your cops would be able to stay calm and confident, even when faced with the big bad black male. I do think reform will go a hell of a long way to combat the fear in cops.