“No way to know”
“No way to know”
By Pastor Rasheed Z Baaith
“Man looketh on the outside but God looks at the heart.”
The more we hear about the racist emails sent by those Fort Lauderdale policemen the more it should be clear that none of that is the fault of Fort Lauderdale Police Chief Frank Adderley. Like us he understood that there were and are those in his department that might well be bigoted but again like us, he did not know the depth of that bigotry. Not knowing the depth of that kind of racial hatred is one thing, being surprised by it is another.
When I hear people shaking their heads in shock or saying they can’t believe that in 2015 this kind of racist thinking still persists, I’m amazed at their amazement. Why we insist on believing this myth about a post racial America is way past my understanding. A lot of us and a lot of America thinks because segregation is no longer the law of the land and white only facilities don’t exist in the numbers they used to or because Black and white children go to school together that hatred has gone the way of the Model – T automobile.
All one has to do is just look at the way many members of Congress especially members of the Tea and Republican parties speak so ugly of the President or notice the silence of those parties when it comes to the shooting of Black people under highly questionable circumstances by law enforcement or understand the great divide between red states and blue states, and it should be clear that racism is not only alive and well but is encouraged. Just watch Fox News.
Many of us insist on being blind to racism’s reality and somehow it is always our fault or our responsibility to end racism. When I hear someone like Common say we need to “forget the past and just love white people more,” you have to wonder what happened to his ability to think. I have never heard and believe I never will hear anyone tell Jewish people they need to forget the Holocaust nor have I ever heard of a young Jewish person say they were tired of hearing about the holocaust and Jewish people need to move on. But Black people are told that nonsense about slavery all the time. Why do we have to forget the horror of slavery, why do we need to move past the damage deliberately done to our people, the effects of which we see to this day? The verbal diarrhea spewed by Common and Charles Barkley are examples of that damage.
So is the thinking of those former police officers. White people have been just as damaged by slavery as we have. It has made many of them believe there are lesser humans who deserve to be owned, marginalized or murdered at the whim of those thought to be superior to them. Especially Black people. That thought was the driving force of the antebellum South and that thought retains strength today. In short, all of us who live in this country have been poisoned by racism. The thing is many of us refuse to control that racism or even consider it is wrong. That refusal can lead to injustice, even loss of life.
I read that one of officers refused to treat all victims of crime decently or as required by his oath. Blacks especially were denied justice or compassion.
So what are Chief Adderley and other police chiefs supposed to do when hiring? Is there a test for heart? No or at least not yet anyway. Until it is Chief Adderley and we will have to take our chances.