By Gus T. Renegade
DailyDot’s Chris Osterndorf repudiates the mandatory acknowledgement that “not all cops are bad.” He writes that it’s illogical and contradictory to have a “good cop in a bad cop culture.” Following the shooting death of Michael Brown Jr., the Department of Justice concluded that Darren Wilson and his former Ferguson colleagues were “largely driven by a police culture… infected with race bias.”
Similar DOJ reprimands of departments in Seattle, Cleveland, Newark and New Orleans unequivocally substantiate Osterndorf’s claim “that police corruption is bigger than just a few rotten apples.”
While admonishing United States law enforcement, Osterndorf nearly authors a simultaneous indictment of white people. He contends that the rhetoric insisting “that most cops are good… is fundamentally a white notion.” Meaning the potent white perspective hampers our ability to accurately assess and verbalize predictably, racist police patterns.
Tellingly, the same could be said of our thinking about white folks. Meaning the speechifying about “well-meaning, good” white people is a “fundamentally white notion” that obstructs a valid appraisal of white culture and conduct invariably saturated with racism.
If “good” cops and “well-meaning” white people exist, what are their qualifications?
“The problem… is that the bar for being a ‘good cop’ is set too low,” according Osterndorf. He cites profound commentary from Atlanta rapper and son of a former police officer Michael Render (aka Killer Mike), who also questioned the reality and obligations of “good” cops. Render emphasizes that abstaining from the murder and abuse of Black citizens is insufficient; the requirements of being a “good” cop would include “selling out bad cops.”
Unfortunately, neither enforcement officers nor white people display a proclivity for ratting out violators of Black people. A white Cleveland officer (Michael Brelo) was recently acquitted for firing the last bullets of a 137-round barrage that killed two unarmed Black citizens in 2012. One factor that contributed to his exoneration was the “uncooperative,” “hostile” conduct of Brelo’s fellow officers; prosecutors argued that more than a dozen (mostly white) officers willfully colluded “to protect Brelo and that their police union continues to ‘impede and hinder the criminal investigation.’”
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. categorized “the appalling silence of the good people” as the “greatest tragedy” of his time. In the half century since his assassination, the great majority of whites remain mute. As opposed to snitching, Osterndorf highlights that white voices have been disproportionately boisterous amongst “those who rushed to defend” cops who’ve killed and mangled Black people.
It’s undeniable that a paltry percentage of whites opposed the enslavement of Black people, marched with Dr. King, or revealed mischief for #CrimingWhileWhite. (A 2014 viral response to the non-indictment of Eric Garner’s white killer; self-aggrandizing whites boasted about the depravity and delinquency white power protects). But are glorified walks and hashtags sufficient for “well-meaning” white status?
The response to Rachel Dolezal suggests trifling standards.
The former president of the Spokane, Washington NAACP branch resigned her post after questions about her racial classification ignited global misgivings. Dolezal supporters integrated the mythology of “good” white folks into her defense. We’ve been reminded that the NAACP is proud to have had numerous white presidents, and documentary filmmaker Lacey Schwartz speculates that Dolezal “might feel like [she has] to choose to be Black to” work against racism.
Astonishingly, Dolezal has become the meme of “good” white folks… all while steadfastly proclaiming her “Blackness.”
Requiring that “credible” perspectives on racism make room for Dolezal, “good” white folks hamstrings serious counter-racist analysis. Scientists discard falsehood and seek truth. Black people are obligated to cling to white lies.
These delusions garble our interpretation of the terrorist attack at Emanuel A.M.E. Church in Charleston, S.C. Dr. Frances Cress Welsing, a general and child psychiatrist, confessed to “feeling nauseated” by pundits’ redundant praise for Black people and “good” whites joining hands to march and heal in response to the freshest sample of white terrorism. Dr. Welsing remarked that these hand-wringing whites will resume “their part in the system of white supremacy” by week’s end.
Rhodes College professor and admitted racist, Zack Casey, proposes that these integrated spectacles are a single component of an ongoing campaign to “protect this idea of this white person who’s not a racist.” One of his central themes is that, “so long as we are spending time imagining that fictional [not racist] person, we’re not going to” accurately understand or permanently eliminate racism.
White abolitionists, white Civil Rights martyrs and white allies have to date proven inadequate, unreliable and infrequent. The estrangement and murder of many of these white anomalies further clarifies the brutal essence of white membership.
Saint Xavier University professor and admitted racist Jacqueline Battalora, reveals that white identity is synonymous with domination. Her analysis of the colonial American laws that justified Black enslavement and racial tyranny uncovers an inescapable conclusion: “An essential component of the creation of White people is the idea that they are superior. White identity from inception is connected to supremacy.”
The book Silent Racism: How Well-Meaning White People Perpetuate Racism recommends accepting that at some level, all white people are responsible for and invested in the systemic oppression of Black people. Dr. Barbara Trepagnier, the author, a confessed racist, warns that, “The illusion that most white people are ‘not racist’ virtually ensures the perpetuation of institutional racism.”
Black people are encouraged to locate white power and pathology in singular white bigots—Adolf Hitler, Dylann Storm Root. The genuine horror and source of white domination is unanimous white commitment to the oppression of Black people.
While debunking the misconception of “good” cops, Osterndorf echoes Tim Donovan’s sentiments that, “individual goodness can become irrelevant when an individual’s actions are in service of a corrupt institution.” Police agencies serve and protect a vast, criminal white empire that dwarfs personal white concerns with seeming “good,” while Black people labor to appear worthy of life.
The latter standard being so lofty even Black millionaires fall short. In 2014, Osterndorf wrote “The history of white people hating LeBron James.” Apparently, many Whites loathe the uppity Ohio native for demonstrating “unyielding confidence in the presence of whites.” Large numbers of White Clevelanders torched jerseys and defiantly broadcasted their hatred when James obtained employment beyond the Ohio border in 2010.
Cleveland’s “well-meaning” whites failed to demonstrate the same enthusiasm, hostility and outrage in response to the shooting death of 12-year-old Tamir Rice. No effigies of the shooting officer, Timothy Loehman were lynched and burned. He hasn’t even been charged as a “bad” cop.