From the Washington Post (wait – what??), a sober examination of the difficulties in relating the black experience with police, even among white friends:
“Forty-five percent of blacks say they have experienced racial discrimination by the police at some point in their lives; virtually no whites say they have,” according to a recent New York Times/CBS News nationwide poll. (I’m shocked the 45 percent figure isn’t higher, considering the stories African Americans tell each other all the time.) So when I share the trauma of that particular incident and so many like it – fraught interactions that may have involved a son (stopped driving a nice car in our nice neighborhood), nephew or friend – I expect, first of all, that I will be believed.
Yet whites are, frequently, disappointingly, incredulous. Very often a “friend’s” reaction that goes something like this: “I don’t think a police officer would stop anyone for no reason at all.” Or: “You must have done something suspicious.” Or my favorite: “If you haven’t done anything wrong, you don’t have anything to worry about.” I am not some child coming home with some tall tale, and I am certainly not a delusional liar.
Americans will never have a forthright conversation on race unless people listen with open minds. They have to believe, and be willing to learn. And most of all, they need an empathetic imagination. “When asked whether police forces should reflect the racial makeup of the communities they serve, nearly six in 10 blacks say yes; whites are about evenly divided,” wrote the Times. Would whites feel comfortable living in a predominantly white community policed by an overwhelmingly black force? I’ve been there when guests at a neighborhood holiday party congratulate themselves on living in an integrated community – and I’m the only black guest. Reverse the numbers and reflect; that’s all I ask.
The entire article is well worth reading, please go check it out.