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The Diallo Shooting
Inventing Racial Motives
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Regarding the shooting of Amadou Diallo:

Presumably everyone on earth knows that the guy, black, was shot 19 times bywhite cops in New York who said they thought a wallet he reached for was agun. If you didn’t know, I admire your restraint in subjecting yourself tothe media. The cops were just acquitted by a jury containing four blacks.The coverage of the story has labored the idea that the shooting was racialin character, that evil white cops shot a black man because he was black.This notion was never explicitly stated, probably because then someone mighthave asked what support there was for it, but it was palpable.

I don’t know enough about the case to comment on its merits. A few thoughtson this kind of case:

Cops are not fools. They are acutely aware that every move they make willbe scrutinzed for racial motives, real or, in many cases, imaginary. Theyhave seen all the cases on television.

It is therefore extremely unlikely that they got together over a beer oneday and said, “Hey! I got it! Let’s go riddle some innocent black guy, loseour jobs and mortgages, and get maybe ten years in the slam, with otherblack guys who won’t like us at all. Would that be a hoot, or what?”

Not plausible. If you told me that racist cops were beating black drugdealers in alleys, the charge might or might not be true, but it would beplausible: Such cops could reasonably expect not to get caught. But theidea of a hunting pack going after blacks to shoot them makes no sense onits face.

Now, might cops–black or white–be a bit quicker to shoot a black apparentlyreaching for a gun than they would a white? Yes and no. A white woman inan evening dress would probably not be shot until she actually opened fire,and maybe not even then: The cops just wouldn’t quite believe it possible,and inhibitions are strong. A white Hells Angel would run a high risk, because copsexpect violence from bikers.

In short, cops are more likely to be keyed up to shoot when dealing withpeople who, in their experience, are more likely to be dangerous.

The fact is that much more violent crime occurs in black regions, committedby blacks, than in white neighborhoods and committed by whites. You canexplain this according to your politics, but it is nonetheless true. Copsknow it. They deal in reality, not political correctness, and have to forsurvival. They–black cops, white cops, male or female–are visibly morecautious, edgier, in Anacostia than in Bethesda. To get shot in Bethesda,you’d probably have to do it yourself. Downtown, you get volunteers.


But it generally isn’t a matter of unjustified racial discrimination. Thisis a point hard to convey in a society that is accustomed to seeking racialmotives in preference to all others. Still, watch a black cop in Washingtondealing with black drug dealers in an alley. The body language is tense.He watches his back and his hand stays close to the gun. Is he a racistagainst his own race? No. He’s a cop, and he knows that drug dealers canbe dangerous.

Racial tension is regularly encouraged by a default insistence by the media onracially inflammatory coverage. Yes, racist cops exist. Some racist copsbehave racistically (if that’s a word), and such behavior should not bepermitted. But racist motives should be demonstrated before being reported,not just assumed. They are is assumed.

The media, whether they are conscious of it or not, have a racial agenda.Note that the headlines invariably say, “Black Man Shot By White Cops.”They never say, “White Man Robbed By Black Youths” or “White Woman AssaultedBy Black Man.”

Having dealt with a lot of publications, I know thepattern. If I mention that a criminal is black, an editor calls and says,”But, Fred, what does race have to do with it? It’s irrelevant.” The samepaper will stress the racial angle hard when the miscreant is white and thevictim black.

I don’t know what happened in the Diallo shooting. The jurors, four of them black, acquitted, and presumably had reason for doing so. I know thatprofessional blacks, the Al Sharptons and Jesse Jacksons, will use the caseto intensify racial hostility. And I know that the media will helprelentlessly them.

We don’t need more racial antagonism.

(Republished from Fred on Everything by permission of author or representative)
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