Welcome to a discussion about the upcoming 5th Revolution in the US, which I’ve titled the “Revenge Revolution.” For more about the Revenge Revolution and the author, Entry #1. Periodically I write a “sense check” to assess whether a revolution in the US is possible or whether the entire exercise is based on a statistical aberration — i.e., a roughly 50-year cycle between major upheavals in the US. Entry #430 was the most recent “sense check.”
BEGIN ENTRY #472: The beating and eventual death of Tyre Nichols by Memphis police was a tragedy. Nothing about the police behavior seems rational.
Since Mr. Nichols death numerous people have expressed outrage, and rightfully so. My question is where should the outrage be directed? Change is obviously needed, but where should we start?
In previous deaths by police of seemingly innocent black men, George Floyd, for example, the rage, especially in the black community, was directed at white police officers. The solution, many suggested, was more diversity throughout the police force, from senior officers to cops on the beat.
Such suggestions seemed perfectly rational. More black officers would better understand issues affecting the black community. More black officers also would help white officers better understand the issues.
The City of Memphis adopted many of these recommendations. Memphis installed a black, female chief of police and hired a substantial number of black police officers.
So, who was directly involved with the beating of Mr. Nichols? Black police officers. Not one or two officers, but five black officers.
When the inevitable blame game started, who did the “talking heads” in the black community cite as the cause of Mr. Nichols death? The cause was not the five black officers, who were later terminated, but the cause was always something else. Causes cited ranged from systematic racism by the police force, even though those directly involved were black, to the “boys in blue” are always unfair to the black community, even if the boys in blue are black, to as one high-profile columnist wrote, “America has failed the black community again.”
Huh? Explain this to me, please. Five black officers were part of a special unit established by the black chief of police to address excessive crime in a predominantly black area of Memphis. Part of that area is where Mr. McNichols lived. One the problems the special unit was to address included excessive speed on neighborhood streets. The police officers were directed to get tough on violators.
Well, based on the police videos taken when Mr. Nichols was pulled over, the police were way out of line given the possible infraction. So, rather than automatically blaming someone, some system or some systemic attitude for Mr. Nichols death, maybe it’s time to look in the mirror and ask, “what’s the real problem here? Is there a black elephant in the room we don’t want to talk about? How much of that problem is being caused or being aggravated by members of the black community?”
The City of Memphis seems to have done virtually all of what black leaders previously asked of the police departments. More black managers, and more black officers. From all the evidence, Mr. Nichols did nothing outlandishly wrong, and did not resist. Yet five, yes five black officers savagely beat him. Does a blue uniform make one automatically racist? I think not, although to be fair I talked to a long-time black friend today who claimed the white police trained the black officers to be racist. I let that comment slide and went on with the conversation.
Maybe it’s time to quit blaming others for many of the problems in the black community and for blacks to start taking more responsibility for making changes. One thing is for certain. Continuing to blame others for seemingly every ill in the black community is a surefire way to end up losing support of many outside the community trying to help. END ENTRY #472
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