To Be Equal…Rhetoric of race at the crossroads of police reform


(NNPA)—“Much research points to the widespread existence of unconscious bias…We all—White and Black—carry various biases around with us. I am reminded of the song “Everyone’s a Little Bit Racist” from the Broadway hit, Avenue Q: ‘Look around and you will find no one’s really color blind. Maybe it’s a fact we all should face. Everyone makes judgments based on race.’”—FBI Director James Comey in his speech “Hard Truths: Law Enforcement and Race,” February 12, 2015
It was in the wake of the protest-fueled aftermaths of the high-profile killings of Black men at the hands of police officers, along with the execution-style murders of two New York City police officers, that the nation’s sitting FBI director marked an unprecedented first.  FBI Director James Comey—addressing an auditorium full of Georgetown University students on the celebration of Abraham Lincoln’s birthday—delivered an unsparing, timely speech on the alarming state of policing in Black and Brown communities.
Comey, the son of Irish immigrants and the grandson of a police officer, addressed the historically-charged relationship between law enforcement and the communities of color they are sworn to serve and protect, and in doing so, gave his speech an authority that cannot be understated.  In fact, he made a sizeable step towards inserting this much-needed analysis into our ongoing conversation on race in America.


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