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Respect Our Men and Women in Blue - Saturday, April 2, 2016
In a country that experiences mass shooting and threats from ISIS members, in a nation where families worry about break-ins and theft, we count on a certain group of individuals to keep us safe. These men and women, however, often do not receive the respect they deserve. They are stereotyped and criticized, even by persons who want to someday be called President. These individuals are our policemen and women.
The men and women in blue who serve in America put their lives on the line to protect American citizens, regardless of race, gender, or sexual orientation. They bleed and die to keep residents safe. The majority are brave, honorable individuals who serve with everything they have. There are of course some policemen and women who have made mistakes, who never should have worn the badge, who have used unnecessary violence or made decisions based on racism. These acts are deplorable, and most be discussed, but they cannot be the mark to which we judge all in blue. We cannot stereotype all cops based on the actions of a few.
There has been a disturbing trend of disrespect to the police, often which comes about when protesting in the name of “Black Lives Matter,” or when discussing this movement. A recent example would be the performance of Beyoncé at the Superbowl, where her troop of all black dancers in Black Panther berets performed an anti-police song. The music video for such song, “Formation,” shows a sinking cop car, graffiti on a wall that says “stop shooting us,” and a young African-American man dancing in front of a line of cops.
More disturbing, however, are some recent comments made by democratic presidential candidates, particularly Bernie Sanders. As Bernie panders to receive the African American vote, he stereotypes the police.
Many comments he has made in just the last month demonstrate this trend. At a recent debate Sanders discussed how he talked to a Black Lives Matter individual, and why we need to end all the bullying and terrorizing that the police apparently commit. He then made it clear that white people don’t know what it is like to be poor or to be hassled by the police when walking down the street (and contrary to the lies his supporters are spreading, when he said this he was NOT quoting anyone).
At the Fox News Town Hall he continued his tirade. He stated, “In African American communities you have people who are living in desperation, often being abused by white police officers.”
I am not saying that candidates should refrain from discussing real concerns by American citizens. However, Mr. Sanders seems to stereotype all police officers while rarely thanking the men and women for the great work they do protecting cities like Philadelphia which have a high rate of crime. Nobody believes that black lives matter more than the police do; they are the ones protecting these black lives in crime filled cities.
Many criticize Donald Trump for stereotyping Muslims, for believing that the majority of Muslims are America hating terrorists. Of course, I disagree with Trump as the majority of Muslims are good, honest men and women. However, Bernie will criticize Trump for these statements then turn around and stereotype the police. Imagine if Bernie instead would have stated that non-Muslims are harassed daily by Muslims, that Muslims are bullies and terrorizers. People would not have cheered him on and called him a vehicle for equality.
We need to make sure policemen and women are doing their job and not abusing their power. We need to take seriously concerns from African Americans regarding police and crime. We do not, however, need to stereotype and treat an entire group in a disgraceful way because of the actions of a few. We must respect those who die to keep us safe; we must respect our heroes in blue.
Written by: Carissa