I happened to watch some of President Obama’s conversation last night and I agreed with many points that he made about race relations in America. The past weeks have been quite tumultuous following the fatal shootings of two black men by police officers. There is certainly a lot of mistrust for police officers as a result but I do agree with Obama when he mentioned that we are not as divided as we seem. Our country has come so far and it would be somewhat false to say that race relations are at its worst. Back in the day there was rampant segregation and the black community was ostracized for their skin color. However, today the black community is more integrated within society. Yet there are still some issues and racism still rears its ugly head from time to time.
The problem today is the mistrust of the police. Obama did mention that there needs to be more communication specifically between the black community and the police. He went so far as to suggest that officers should be at schools in the community to forge trusting relationships. It is not a bad idea, for if you have an officer become a mentor to young kids, they will respect their profession more. Some kids may respect them so much that they will want to become a police officer safeguarding their community. In this way, these kids will understand at an early age that officers want to protect them and mean no harm.
Right now it is understandable that the black community is afraid. There is certainly an element of racist police officers in our society that may be more dangerous to black individuals. Yet these bad officers do not represent all police officers. I am disgusted whenever a situation arises and an officer goes too far. Yet I’m more disgusted when some people vow violent backlash and treat all officers with disdain. I’ve watched a few videos recently and protesters are calling officers pigs and murderers and also attempting to provoke them. All cops should not be treated in this way because of one bad officer’s actions. I also heard of people that were interviewed on the news saying that the police should be disbanded. That idea is a non-starter because without police, there would be complete and utter chaos.
Something certainly does need to be done. Obama’s idea of better communication is great but there should be more training for officers. Police Departments should receive more funds to account for this. They need to be trained to use more non-lethal means of taking down criminals and individuals who are simply non-compliant. There are tazers and pellet guns but maybe there should be more research to find more creative ways to subdue somebody. Maybe the answer lies in training officers to talk in such a way that calms individuals down. I have heard stories of officers who have never fired their service weapon in their entire career and had a way of peacefully stopping somebody from doing something stupid. One officer that I knew, even went the extra step to mentor young men that he arrested. This may be the missing link in fostering a healthy relationship between police officers and all communities especially the black community.