Racism is a regretful reality that has deep roots in many countries, with a system in place depriving people of color of fair opportunities and subjecting them to social injustice at every structural level ranging from basic education acquisition to employment offers, social benefits, wealth, leadership positions, etc. As a practice amongst people, though not justifiable but understandable in terms of a weak human trait to discriminate, the rising concerns pertaining to the allegations of systemic police racism are attention-grabbing and definitely alarming.
What is Systemic Police Racism?
As a general perception, anything that stands as an endemic trait of someone or something is termed as systemic. It is considered as the general or overall impression of the functioning characteristic. In terms of the current rise of deliberate mishaps, racial encounters and targeting by police have become a trademark of the ‘new normal’ for law enforcement authorities. Black people are presumptively treated as suspects even without any potential threat or evidence. The police are now being viewed skeptically in terms of doing justice to their duty. As the saying goes, one bad fish spoils the pond, so has the racist attitude of a few that vilified the whole justice system of America on account of the rising and unbridled police race rampant.
Is Systemic Racism Really a Myth?
Taking an insight, American history has largely been known to promote white supremacy by reserving the prospects of freedom, prosperity, and opportunities for its white masses with deliberate exclusion of the people of color. This rooted structural discrimination now seems to be finding its practical influence in the contemporary law enforcement vistas as well. The glaring rise in the targeting of dark-skinned people seems to indicate that systemic police racism does exist and is a major cause of the segregation of the US community at large.
The advent of the recent growing trend of gross racism exhibited by police forces on many fronts especially in the US defies the credibility of the law enforcement authorities at large. The controversial topic has skeptics speaking in favor and against the so-called ‘myth of systemic police racism. On the one hand, the concerns are not merely thought to be media coverage or negative publicity but expert opinions from critics and political analysts who view the changing scenario in terms of the potential political deterioration undermining the minorities. The killing of Michael Brown, George Floyd’s death in Minneapolis, Jacob Blake, and Breonna Taylor are some of the recent occurrences that bring the police prejudice to the limelight and bring reams of evidence to the tables.
Former US President, Mr. Barrack Obama took to Twitter on Friday to vehemently voice his disapproval and concern against the criminal injustice prevailing in the US justice system and termed it as “tragically, painfully, maddeningly normal” and urged the police authorities to introduce reforms that discouraged bigotry.
Joe Biden, also proclaimed that the African- Americans dreaded for their safety amidst the ‘Bad Police’ trend in vogue.
On the other hand, despite the factual evidence on record, it is worth lamenting that some elements still fail to treat the myth of systemic police racism as a reality. As per an article in the Wall Street Journal 2 June headlined “The myth of systemic police racism”, the blame was diverted to the Obama era stating that the repercussions persisted till date. Also, in an article published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, researchers drew the conclusion that they did not find any evidence for the anti-black or anti-Hispanic disparity in police actions or use of force across all shootings but contrary if any, found anti- white disparities- which certainly comes as a shock.
Nevertheless, it all comes down to deploying appropriate metrics that can actually gauge the trend of racism in its true form in the light of available evidence supported by a fair judicial / law enforcement system.
Trending Scenario under the Myth of Systemic Police Racism
Though racism seems to exist as long as one can recall, the Trump era sparked and incited one of the worst forms of racism ever to be practiced in American history. The post Trump era is now a reflection of the many ways America stands divided today. Americans belonging to different ethnic and racial backgrounds live in communities and neighborhoods that are homogenous. The rising concerns of systemic police racism have limited their opportunity to interact, enjoy and befriend people belonging to other/different ethnic backgrounds unlike before when protection from the law was a hope for all.
Security and safety concerns are on the rise with no more trust in law-enforcing bodies who themselves are ironically the violators of the law themselves. Irrelevant arrests of black people and acquittal of white offenders as in the case of the brutal beating of Rodney King by four white police officers in 1992 are examples that clearly show the prevailing injustice being committed in the US whereby the police have a free hand to do and get away with whatever it wants with no fair trial and verdicts.
Demonstrations and unrest are a frequent occurrence in many states of the US whereby day to day democratic situation of the United States seems to be falling into a precarious condition with no hope and no concerted efforts yet yielding desired results to bring about a gust of change into the undesirable myth of systemic police racism.
Data analysis pertaining to systemic racism and the incurring domestic implications indicate that the role of the enforcement authorities in adding fuel to the racial disparity is certainly high and cannot be overlooked. Therefore, we cannot treat all factual incidents as tales and fabrications. The systemic racism of the police is not a myth but a reality that poses a great challenge yet to be confronted and won.