The "Few Bad Apples" Theory of Police Reform Is Deadly Wrong
What if black people are actually dying at the hands of good apples more often than people want to believe? What if grand juries and juries have kept letting officers off the hook, because they judge the offending officers to be “good apples,” who must therefore have just made a mistake?
The "Few Bad Apples" Theory of Police Reform Is Deadly Wrong
By Deborah Foster / hdp.press

No matter where you turn you will run into people saying, “It’s just a few bad apples in the police force, you can’t stereotype or blame the rest of the officers.” This is both true and not true. If you follow the tragic deaths of black people at the hands of the police, you see police forces do have racist, incompetent, or poorly trained individual people. After all, in the past few days, several police officers have either been fireddemoted, or put on administrative leave for racist or threatening things they have put online. We’re lucky these people are slowly weeding themselves out. There remain too many of those who are silent.

Of course, I have to do the usual disclaimer that I agree most police officers are doing the best job they possibly can under stressful circumstances. They are being forced to deal with every social issue the government and voters refuse to address from mental illness to poverty. So, in this way, it is true that there are only a few bad apples.

Here is where the theory breaks down. A review of the officers who have been shooting, or otherwise killing, unarmed black citizens finds that many of them were/are not considered “bad apples.” Some of the officers have or are going back at work.

Officer Yanez, who shot, Philando Castile, in Minnesota, earned highest honors in his four-year university law enforcement program, has his college professors vouching for him as a man who is not racist, and he’s never had a complaint against him. We can’t be sure what was in his mind, but the officer seemed stunned by the whole situation in the recording made by the calm, courageous Diamond Reynolds.

In other words, Officer Yanez, was a “good apple.” An awful lot of these unreasonable deaths have been caused by police officers that the Lord and everybody swears is a good guy.

 

So, what if black people are actually dying at the hands of good apples more often than people want to believe. What if grand juries and juries have kept letting officers off the hook, because they judge the offending officers to be “good apples,” who must therefore have made a mistake?

 

Why would there be ANY good guys committing these blatant acts of injustice? How dare I suggest such an awful thing?

The answer is implicit racism. All of those good guys, like Officer Yanez, may believe in equality of the races. They may believe they like black people just as much as white people. But, their subconscious is influenced by daily bombardments of other messages and associations about black people. Everywhere you turn, you are indoctrinated to the idea that black men are dangerous. Our news. Our entertainment. Our conversations between friends, family, online, and out in the casual, passerby world.

This video shows the power of those associations in the behavior of the police:

If you can’t see this video, which is an experiment carried out by citizens, it shows a white men walking around with AR-15s in Oregon (which is an open-carry state). They draw the attention of a policeman who stops and questions them. He asks for their IDs. They refuse, explaining that the law allows them that right. The officer asks them why they are carrying the semi-automatic weapons. They say it is to exercise their 2nd Amendment rights. The police officer gives the white men a friendly smile, an “all right, then,” and moves on.

In part two of the video, a black man does exactly the same thing. Walks down the street with an AR-15 in the same location. Soon, a police man arrives, gets out of his car, but behind his door, with his weapon drawn. He tells the black man to get on the ground. The black man complies, as he tries to explain he was only exercising the right every citizen has in Oregon to open carry. The officer tries to make the man’s filming crew person get on the ground as well, but she is pregnant. Within seconds, three-to-four squad cars and SUVs are on the scene, some with siren blaring, most just lights. The black man is handcuffed.

Are all of these officers in part two of the video “bad apples?” Hopefully, not. But, they are perpetuating the overuse of force against black men that the black community and allies have been protesting so vehemently. Why were they overreacting to the black man with the gun in the video? Again, implicit racism. This consists of the automatic associations our brain makes between two or more things. No one can avoid the truth that we have connected black men and women — and then many other groups such as people with mental illness — with the word, dangerous. (You can test your own race associations here).

Once the connection is made between black and dangerous, “any good apple” has the potential to subconsciously overreact to their perceived threat. A racist perception. A perception they didn’t even know they had. Police reform will require education on unconscious biases, how to fight them, and how they are getting reinforced.

0.0 ·
0
What's Next
Trending Today
The Myth of Positivity: Why Your Pain Holds a Mighty Purpose
umair haque · 14,284 views today · Of all the great myths of contemporary life, one of the most toxic is positivity. It says: there are negative and positive emotions, and only the positive ones are worth...
Stunning Summary of US Imperialism and Native Resistance... on MSNBC!
4 min · 11,578 views today · On The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell on MSNBC, Lawrence explains why a protest by Native Americans in North Dakota reminds us of the history American always tries to forget.
Standing Rock Wisdom: How Sacred, Nonviolent Activism Has the Power to Succeed
Charles Eisenstein · 7,879 views today · I am told by Native American friends active at Standing Rock that the elders are counseling the Water Protectors to undertake each action prayerfully and to stay off the...
Veterans at Standing Rock Ask Forgiveness for War Crimes Against Tribal Nations
Jen Hayden · 5,577 views today · Jon Eagle Sr., Tribal Historic Preservation Officer at Standing Rock Sioux Tribe has reported something wholly unexpected happened at the Standing Rock Reservation today. The...
Why People Cling to Old Beliefs
1 min · 4,755 views today · Cognitive psychologist and neuroscientist at McGill University, Daniel Levitin, explains why people can be so stubborn when it comes to false beliefs. This behavior is...
Seven Must-Have Skills for the 21st Century
Tommy Lehe · 4,289 views today · We live in a world that moves faster than we do. Trying to keep up can be an overwhelming task that at times feels hopeless, like we are falling further and further behind—but...
Solar is Already Producing More Energy Than Oil, Says Major Scientific Review
Nafeez Ahmed · 3,472 views today · And is twice as powerful than previously thought
The Other Way of Knowing
Lilian Na’ia Alessa · 3,287 views today · Western science and Indigenous worldviews are often seen as incompatible, with the Indigenous view usually being far less valued by society at large. But an inside look at...
DREAM: A Spoken Word Meditation For When Life Is Kicking Your Ass
4 min · 2,903 views today · If life is kicking your ass and the general un-coolness of everybody on planet erf is making you want to off yourself, TALK to someone: 800-273-8255 (national suicide...
13 Crises That We All Must Face
George Monbiot · 2,888 views today · We face (at least) 13 major crises, some of which are immediate. It’s time for some hard thinking about how we confront them.
Forget Air Force One, Pentagon Wastes Billions and Billions Every Month
Nadia Prupis · 2,492 views today · President-elect Donald Trump's focus on single Boeing contract ignores enormous waste of bloated Pentagon budget
Dear Activists, Maybe It's Time to Admit That We've Got It All Wrong
Mickey Z. · 2,167 views today · “The first step in the revolution is eye contact.” - Alicen Grey
Andy Goes In - Working Undercover in a Factory Farm
10 min · 2,019 views today · He's a $10/hr farmhand, and his name isn't Andy. Andy Goes In is a compelling 10-minute documentary short about a Mercy For Animals undercover investigator. The vast majority...
How a White Supremacist Became a Civil Rights Activist
Araz Hachadourian · 1,983 views today · The story of a KKK leader’s transformation shows us that we need not live forever with the kind of violence we saw in Charleston this month.
15 Films Inspiring and Illuminating the 'New Story' Revolution
Tim Hjersted · 1,917 views today · Charles Eisenstein is one of the first people I heard talk about the "new story," synthesizing a diverse movement that has been emerging for the last several decades. When I go...
Sky Roosevelt-Morris: The Secret of Indigenous Resiliency
2 min · 1,461 views today · Activist Sky Roosevelt-Morris is of the Shawnee and White Mountain Apache Nations. She is a member of the Leadership Council of the American Indian Movement of Colorado. In...
Sean Carroll - The Meaning of Life
7 min · 1,364 views today · The world keeps happening in accordance with its rules; it's up to us to make sense of it and give it value. Sean Carroll Music: Moby - God Moving Over the Face of the Waters
Satish Kumar on "What Is a Sacred Place?"
3 min · 1,285 views today · Satish Kumar brings a Hindu, Buddhist and Jain perspective to the definition of "sacred place." We found his explanation so compelling that we edited a three-minute piece...
Amanda Abbington Introduces iAnimal - 42 Days in the Life of Chickens
4 min · 1,187 views today · Shot undercover in British factory farms and slaughterhouses, this immersive 360° video gives you a birds-eye view of what happens to chicken from farm to plate.
Embracing 'Radical Hope' in Our Fight to Save the Earth
Paul Hoggett · 1,012 views today · Radical hope is not just about determination and courage in the face of darkness, writes Paul Hoggett - it is also about love and a re-finding of all that is benign in the...
Load More
Like us on Facebook?
The "Few Bad Apples" Theory of Police Reform Is Deadly Wrong