I have blogged before about the tremendous drop in crime In the past 20 years but the never dropping fear of crime by Americans. In this thoughtful piece of cultural criticism, the TV critic, James Poniewozik, for the New York Times blames television police and crime dramas for warping our views. One can also look to forty years of movies going back to Dirty Harry with Clint Eastwood, that sympathized with the Cop who is too rough and breaks the rules but keeps us safe. Children grew up expecting the police to be rough with the bad guys. But the police were always people that wanted to protect them from the bad guys.
This experience is a radically different one from that experienced by African American boys. They knew that they were always perceived as the potential bad guys when stopped by an officer. I have yet to meet an African American male, no matter how wealthy, that doesn’t view encounters with the police as a potentially dangerous and stressful situation.
This must change.
We need to live in the actual world to demand that our police officers reflect our real values, and not a Hollywood fantasy. The world of bad guys is less dangerous than make believe, not more dangerous. We are responsible for creating police departments to fit our image of the world, and we have made our country worse off.
Read the full NY Times article, ‘Cops” is Off the Air. But Will We Ever Get It Out Of Our Heads, byJames Poniewozik, June 10, 2020.