In response to Mike Hullett with regards to his column, “Community Conversations On Racism,” published June 20:
Last week you called the systemic killing of black men by police an aggressive accusation. You cited statistics from the Washington Post and your own experiences with knowing police officers to support your point.
There are three significant holes in your argument.
First, the statistics you cite from the Washington Post show that white people are killed by the police more often than black people. But you fail to mention that black people make up only 13% of the U.S. population. If we look at the statistics you provided in context with the demographics of our country, we see that—proportionally—black people are killed by police at more than twice the rate of white people. Make no mistake, this information is from the same Washington Post article you cited. Perhaps you forgot to mention it. Perhaps you chose to only highlight the part that matched your agenda.
Second, I too know police officers who work to uphold the law with integrity and compassion. I, too, know police officers who are wonderful and hardworking people. Most of us do, sir. Your position on this is not unique. More importantly, it does not qualify you to decide police brutality isn’t an issue when research shows us that it is.
Third, you said you can count the number of “bad apples” you know on one hand. I don’t doubt that.
I do, however, doubt you understand the pervasiveness and complexities of racism.
If you did, you would know that “good apples” are just as capable and guilty of racism as “bad apples.” And if you were familiar with the proverb, you would know that even one rotten apple spoils the barrel.
You would know that racism is not always intentional. It does not always look like blatant discrimination. It is often subtle, unintentional, and rooted in racial biases we don’t even realize we have (biases that tell us black folks are more dangerous, more suspicious, and more guilty than their white counterparts.)
You would know that the police force would benefit greatly from identifying these biases and challenging them.
And you would know that the outrage in response to George Floyd’s murder is not an aggressive accusation, but a measured one.