‘Knockout game’ gives white America new reason to profile black men
Race is such a touchy subject to write about, particularly for a white person, and definitely for a white person viewed as ‘conservative.’ (Libertarian, Dangit!) Still, I think this article warrants comment.
1.) This isn’t a race thing. It’s a violence thing.
2.) In certain situations, acting prudently is the right and appropriate choice and that doesn’t make it racist.
The author of this article starts out by making a good and true point: People fear crime where they have reason to believe that it may occur. This happens no matter who you are, or what you look like.
When accosted about my profession, I find it very easy to reply that my job has nothing to do with race, the way I do my job has nothing to do with race, and, by the way, almost all of the victims on my cases are the same race as the perpetrators. I do this for them. And (not much) money.
But the facts are the facts. Anyone who has experience with law enforcement knows that the “Knockout Game” isn’t something made up. Nor is it new, at all. Violent criminals have been ‘playing’ this game for years. I remember cases from six years ago, and they were cyclical even at that time. And, for whatever reason – there is no causal relation – these offenses seem to be largely committed by young, African-American males.
Not liking that fact is ok, but it is still a fact. That certainly doesn’t mean I go running away from any young black male I see. That is stupid.
On the other hand, if I am walking down a dark road, in a sketchy part of town at night and I see a group of young males walking toward me, I will be taking my leave, walking across the street and paying attention. Doesn’t matter what color they are. That’s called being prudent and aware. Young guys out at night in a bad part of town might be going to a bachelor party, or they might be looking to rob someone. I don’t need to be involved with either.
It doesn’t make you a racist just because you are paying attention. Knowing real, actual facts and putting them to use in running your life is not a bad thing.
Much about prudence isn’t a direct-fact thing; it’s a circumstantial thing. Another touchstone is a person wearing a hoodie. Criminals like to wear hoodies. White criminals, black criminals, green criminals. I also like to wear hoodies and I am not a criminal. These are truths. Not everyone in a hoodie is a criminal, but hoodies are good for hiding one’s identity and criminals don’t like to be identified.
The circumstances in which you encounter said hoodie is the thing that give you just, reasonable cause for alarm. Hoodie in my clothes drawer? No alarm. Some guy sitting around minding his own business in a hoodie? Who cares. Middle of the night, deserted street, bad part of town, hood on pulled below the eyes, asking me what time it is – Yeah, I can and should be paying attention to what’s going on. It is a component of a whole, and you SHOULD be considering it.
You are not a bad person for upping your guard when a stranger shows up to the bank wearing a ski mask.
Does that mean race is like a hoodie? No. But I don’t think you’ve crossed the line into being a neo-nazi by having greater concern when a group of young African-American males on that street are talking about ‘knockouts,’ and I don’t think you’ve crossed the line into racism if you are a minority and have greater concern when there’s a group of young white males on the same street dropping racial slurs and talking about lynching. They’re situations in which you should have elevated awareness, based on facts, not prejudice.
Don’t let political correctness override learned prudence.
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