Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Police Brutality: Not a Good Day for the US

I would love to see a survey. Go get 2,000 people across the US, various races, economic classes, a good sample, and get good demographics about how they fit in the US.

Then show half of them this video:

For the other half, stage another video of this. Get actors to do the same things, say the same things, but make everyone white.

I wonder how the reactions would be different.

I saw this posted on Facebook by a friend, from this news story in Seattle, WA.  My friend was outraged, and while my response was more muted, this was bad. In my mind, there was no reason for this girl to get punched in the face. She deserved to be arrested, and she obviously did not comply with the officer. She might have been on drugs, but if you’ve ever been struck, not a lot of you would be very rational afterwards.

What was more distressing were a few comments from people. Someone asked “what should the officer have done, tase her?” and another added agreement saying that this girl had no respect for authority.

It’s amazing how different the same image, or video, can appear to different people. How the takeaways can be completely different. I’m surprised that people would side with this officer, who obviously was not being threatened when he hit the girl. I shouldn’t be, but I am.

Like I said, I’ve like to see a survey here. I wonder how many white people, GOP-leaning, would see this differently if the troublemakers were white. And I wonder how many would say, or think, to themselves, “she deserved it”, “typical”, or “dumb n*****” while watching this version.

There is less racism in the US today, but it’s still there. I don’t really think this was a racist incident. I think the officer lost control, but I do think that the comments to my friend’s post were distressing.

1 comment:

K. Brian Kelley said...

A friend of mine and fellow Citadel grad pointed out that the officer is in a no-win situation. He was an enlisted MP with the 82nd Airborne before going to OTS and becoming an officer.

His point was that the woman initiated contact and neither were showing any signs of backing down. So things were on the track to escalation. Had he pepper-sprayed her or used some other mechanism to restrain, the outcry would likely be as great. However, how do you try to pacify the situation?