Whataboutism is not the answer
Recently, in the wake of mass protests over the killing of George Floyd at the hands, or rather the knees, of a white cop, people of different ethnic and racial backgrounds have been coming forth with the following arguments: 1) What about Black-on-Black crimes in Chicago and elsewhere? And 2) White cops kill more white people than Blacks, where is the outrage?
My answer is simple:
1) People are protesting a structural, systemic and systematic apparatus that has fostered conditions that are fertile for Blacks to commit acts of violence and crime on other Blacks. We can name just a few: Slavery, Jim Crow, KKK, Redlining, Ghettos, Projects, broken windows, stop and frisk, killing or jailing disproportionately black men, leaving black children with no role models, thus making those children become vulnerable to sustain or commit acts of violence and/or crime. Not to mention the deadly fight over the paucity of resources prevalent within the black community.
2) Has there been at any time in the history of the United States a structural, systemic and systematic lynching of white people and all the accompanying corollaries aforementioned? So, to answer the argument about white cops killing white people disproportionately: a) statistically, white population is larger than Blacks. Looking inside the statistical proportion between the two communities, it is not evident that white cops kill white people disproportionately; and b) people protest the relative easiness with which the police seem to pull the trigger, or in this case the knee, in other cases it is a chokehold, using the full force of the state power and authority to take a human being’s life (more frequently and blatantly black lives).
If putting race at the center of this discussion makes us uncomfortable, can we at least all agree that police’s training should be reviewed? Instead of focusing on shooting to kill or putting a person in a prone position to end life, how about focusing on de-escalation? When there is mass shooting, and the shooter happens to be White, we quickly explore the possibility of a poor mental health condition. How about asking the “killer” cops what was happening in their minds at the exact moment they decided to take somebody’s life, then identify patterns and introduce those patterns in their training so they can be aware of them and de-escalate instead of escalate? We can all learn from this moment and quieten our sensitivities. Someone once said: “In the house of analysis, once emotion comes in through the front door, reason goes out the window.”