The Diallo Shooting: Inventing Racial Motives

Regarding the shooting of Amadou Diallo:

Presumably everyone on earth knows that the guy, black, was shot 19 times bywhite cops in New York who said they thought a wallet he reached for was a gun. If you didn’t know, I admire your restraint in subjecting yourself to the media. The cops were just acquitted by a jury containing four blacks. The coverage of the story has labored the idea that the shooting was racial in character, that evil white cops shot a black man because he was black. This notion was never explicitly stated, probably because then someone mighthave asked what support there was for it, but it was palpable.

I don’t know enough about the case to comment on its merits. A few thoughtson this kind of case:

Cops are not fools. They are acutely aware that every move they make will be scrutinzed for racial motives, real or, in many cases, imaginary. They have seen all the cases on television.

It is therefore extremely unlikely that they got together over a beer one day and said, “Hey! I got it! Let’s go riddle some innocent black guy, lose our jobs and mortgages, and get maybe ten years in the slam, with other black guys who won’t like us at all. Would that be a hoot, or what?”

Not plausible. If you told me that racist cops were beating black drug dealers in alleys, the charge might or might not be true, but it would be plausible: Such cops could reasonably expect not to get caught. But the idea of a hunting pack going after blacks to shoot them makes no sense on its face.

Now, might cops — black or white — be a bit quicker to shoot a black apparentlyreaching for a gun than they would a white? Yes and no. A white woman in an evening dress would probably not be shot until she actually opened fire, and maybe not even then: The cops just wouldn’t quite believe it possible,and inhibitions are strong. A white Hells Angel would run a high risk, because cops expect violence from bikers.

In short, cops are more likely to be keyed up to shoot when dealing withpeople who, in their experience, are more likely to be dangerous.

The fact is that much more violent crime occurs in black regions, committedby blacks, than in white neighborhoods and committed by whites. You can explain this according to your politics, but it is nonetheless true. Cops know it. They deal in reality, not political correctness, and have to for survival. They — black cops, white cops, male or female — are visibly more cautious, edgier, in Anacostia than in Bethesda. To get shot in Bethesda, you’d probably have to do it yourself. Downtown, you get volunteers.

But it generally isn’t a matter of unjustified racial discrimination. This is a point hard to convey in a society that is accustomed to seeking racial motives in preference to all others. Still, watch a black cop in Washington dealing with black drug dealers in an alley. The body language is tense. He watches his back and his hand stays close to the gun. Is he a racist against his own race? No. He’s a cop, and he knows that drug dealers can be dangerous.

Racial tension is regularly encouraged by a default insistence by the media on racially inflammatory coverage. Yes, racist cops exist. Some racist cops behave racistically (if that’s a word), and such behavior should not be permitted. But racist motives should be demonstrated before being reported, not just assumed. They are is assumed.

The media, whether they are conscious of it or not, have a racial agenda. Note that the headlines invariably say, “Black Man Shot By White Cops.” They never say, “White Man Robbed By Black Youths” or “White Woman Assaulted By Black Man.”

Having dealt with a lot of publications, I know the pattern. If I mention that a criminal is black, an editor calls and says,” But, Fred, what does race have to do with it? It’s irrelevant.” The same paper will stress the racial angle hard when the miscreant is white and the victim black.

I don’t know what happened in the Diallo shooting. The jurors, four of them black, acquitted, and presumably had reason for doing so. I know that professional blacks, the Al Sharptons and Jesse Jacksons, will use the case to intensify racial hostility. And I know that the media will help relentlessly them.

We don’t need more racial antagonism.

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