Speaking of the police…

The police are going to have to do a lot of PR work to clean up their image. We constantly see them videotaped or photographed while beating up and murdering people, black people that is, Hispanic people, dark people, and white people too. Sometimes I think they must check off a box marked Racist or Hates Teenagers or Have a Bad Anger Problem in order to get the job. A friend and I were talking about police brutality the other day and bandying about ideas of how to fix this problem. Here’s what I came up with:

You have to make white cops, and cops in general, get it. By getting it I mean that they have to care about the people they serve. They need to go into people’s homes and have dinner with them, talk to them, get to know them. In order to protect a community you have to know that community and you have to have a stake in it.

Before I retired from teaching, there was a physics teacher at the school where I taught, and each Tuesday night he went to the home of a different student and had dinner with their family. He did this every year. This way he got to know the student on a casual basis, he got to see behind the scenes, so that when the student had problems he could put a face to the person he was talking to when he called the student’s home, he knew what the parent or caregiver looked like, he had met them, broken bread with them.

I believe that every Tuesday, or Wednesday, or whatever, the police should have breakfast or lunch or dinner with the people they serve. I believe they should have monthly barbecues with the community, things like that where they mingle and talk. The more involvement between the police and those they serve – in good ways – the better. In places like Ferguson, Missouri, where all but three people on the police force are black, and where the whites live in a different community, one with more money, one with more priviledge, this is a set-up for bad things to come. There has to be a dialogue between people, between white cops and black residents, because otherwise there’s no chance to work on racism. We’ve all got it. We just need to fix it. And it’s a lot harder to be racist against somebody you kind of like.

Look, I know this is simplistic. I know the answer is much bigger than this. I know a lot more measures need to be taken. This is a complex problem and it calls for al kinds of action. But this could greatly help…

Okay. So there you have it. My solution to police brutality in under five hundred words…

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