Editor’s Note: The following are thoughts by a Daily Lobo reporter following recent events around the country. They do not represent the opinions of the Daily Lobo.
This week in Dallas, five police officers were killed and many more were injured as gun violence continues in the United States.
The murder of the Dallas police officers took place Thursday night at a peaceful demonstration for the Black lives lost in Minnesota and Louisiana earlier this week.
The shooter said his actions were a result of police brutality towards Black people, and he specifically wanted to kill White officers.
Since the ambush in Dallas, right-wing politicians and their supporters blamed President Obama, Democratic Presidential Candidate Hillary Clinton, the liberal media and Black Lives Matter (BLM) for perpetuating a false notion of racial hatred in America.
“President Obama last night only flamed these fires of hatred by putting out his usual lies that the criminal justice system is racist,” said Heather Mac Donald, conservative author of “The War on Cops.”
Meanwhile, former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin posted to Facebook, “It is a farce. #BlackLivesMatter is a farce.”
In response to the conservative right, it is our responsibility as citizens to educate ourselves about the presence of the real, full and grotesque racism that still exists in our country.
The idea that men and women of color are not confronted by hurdles of violence, prejudice and bias is the real farce. I encourage anyone who thinks otherwise to pluck a rose and smell it. Watch the acts of police brutality on YouTube, for example, and develop your own commentary.
As citizens, we are obligated to do our research with our eyes, ears and hearts open.
DoSomething.org has a few important statistics that can help frame the discussion. According to the site, African-Americans make up 37 percent of those in state prisons for drug offenses, while they in reality represent only 14 percent of drug users.
“Studies show that police are more likely to pull over and frisk Blacks or Latinos than Whites. In New York City, 80 percent of the stops made were Blacks and Latinos, and 85 percent of those people were frisked, compared to a mere 8 percent of White people stopped,” the site states.
In an Associated Press article from July 9, it was reported that Philando Castile, the Black motorist with no felony history who was shot four times by a St. Paul officer, was stopped 52 times and received 86 citations in the last few years for minor traffic violations.
The last stop was for a broken tail light. The AP’s article was entitled “Stopped 52 times by police: Was it racial profiling?”
According to DoSomething.org, by 2042 the majority of the population will be non-White. It is time to start making systematic changes.
By blaming President Obama and the media, conservatives fail to present any real solutions for the racial tension that is building between police and people of color.
It is dire that politicians continue to acknowledge police violence towards Black members of our community, and move forward in constructive ways to prevent further tragedies.
At the same time, conservatives fail to present any meaningful solutions to gun violence. The Dallas murders were enabled by an assault rifle, and the shooter was able to cause horrendous damage in a very short window of time. All efforts to limit the availability of such weapons or the large clips that make mass murder possible have been stymied by the NRA and the gun lobby.
The argument that “the only thing that can stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun” is exposed as the joke it is by the shootings in Dallas and Orlando, where good guys with guns were ambushed.
Conservatives like Palin condone gun violence and police brutality when they fail to acknowledge it. Not seeing the issue at hand inadvertently condones the action.
If they do not see anything wrong with the murders of Philando Castille and Alton Sterling, it makes sense that they are not sympathetic to the Dallas shooter nor to BLM.
Furthermore, we should demand punishment of law enforcement personnel who break the law because of bias or prejudice towards men and women of color.
For more information on student sentiment and UNM’s and the local community’s response to the murders in Minnesota and Louisiana, visit the news section of the Daily Lobo.