If ‘Hands Up, Don’t Shoot’ is a Myth, Why Do So Many Black Americans Believe It?

In this Aug. 30, 2014, file photo, Lesley McSpadden, 2nd left, and Michael Brown Sr., center, parents of Michael Brown, march in a protest for their son in Ferguson, Missouri. Michael Brown, an 18-year-old unarmed teenager, was shot and killed by Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson on Aug. 9. His death caused several days of violent protests along with rioting and looting in Ferguson.

By Michael Brown Published on September 26, 2017

According to every reliable report, my young namesake Michael Brown was not shot in the back, nor did he have his hands up, nor did he utter the words, “Hands up, don’t shoot.” If any of this had been true, the Department of Justice would have nailed Darren Wilson, the policeman involved in the incident, since the DOJ was quite motivated to find fault with the police. Why, then, do so many black Americans believe (and repeat) the “hands up, don’t shoot” narrative?

The Most Mentioned “Michael Brown”

A few months ago, for the first time, I signed up for Google Alerts — where you get regular e-notices when your name is mentioned online. Of course, with a common name like mine, especially without my middle initial “L,” I knew that most of the notices would be about others. There are a lot of Michael Browns out there!

But almost every day, the vast majority of notices I get are about Ferguson’s 18-year-old Michael Brown. He is the constant topic of conversation, the cause célèbre when it comes to justice issues in America. Why?

There are plenty of derogatory answers that are readily available (and I apologize for having to list them, as offensive as they are).

These answers would include: Black Americans are simply listening to their race-baiting leaders (think, Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson and others). Or, black Americans are being duped by the leftwing media. Or, black Americans are easily stirred up by groups like Black Lives Matter.

Although it’s distasteful to list such charges, I’m sure that some readers will nod in affirmation, saying, “Yes, it’s actually all of the above.”

Years of listening to my radio show callers has taught me that, generally speaking, black Americans and white Americans still do not share equal footing.

In reality, black Americans are influenced by race-baiters, the leftwing media, and activist groups just as much as white Americans are. (Check out the latest “Nazi scum” chant at Berkeley for evidence.)

Why, then, do so many black Americans continue to believe the Ferguson myth? It’s for the same reason that many black Americans thought O.J. Simpson was innocent: a fundamental distrust of the criminal justice system.

An Unequal Footing

Years of listening to my radio show callers has taught me that, generally speaking, black Americans and white Americans still do not share equal footing.

I’m talking about countless calls that I’ve received from God-fearing, Bible-believing, authority-respecting, conservative black Americans.

I’m talking about people who have listened to me for years, who will shout to the world that they don’t believe there’s a racist bone in my body, and yet will say, “Dr. Brown, I love you, but you just don’t get it.”

Black pastors have told me about their bad experiences with police.

Black Christian mothers have told me about how they had to train their kids not to respond to hostile questioning from a police officer, for fear that they would be shot.

Dr. Brian Williams, the black doctor in Dallas who treated some of the cops who were ambushed last year said, “This is much more complicated for me personally. … There’s this dichotomy where I’m standing with law enforcement, but I also personally feel that angst that comes when you cross the path of an officer in uniform and you’re fearing for your safety. I’ve been there, and I understand that.”

Help us champion truth, freedom, limited government and human dignity. Support The Stream »

Lest you think this is just urban myth, the New York Times reports that, “Decades of research have shown that the criminal courts sentence black defendants more harshly than whites.”

Indeed, a new study “exposes the fact that African-American defendants get more time behind bars — sometimes twice the prison terms of whites with identical criminal histories — when they commit the same crimes under identical circumstances. It also shows how bias on the part of individual judges and prosecutors drives sentencing inequity.” (For pushback against these studies, see here.)

Listen First. Speak Second.

You might say, “But who started all this? It’s because of rampant black crime that black youths are profiled. It’s because of the breakdown of the black family that so many kids are wayward. It’s because of absentee fathers that we’re having this crisis. The cops are just doing their jobs, and there’s obviously a reason the judges are sentencing blacks more harshly.”

I personally agree that, in the vast majority of cases, the cops are just trying to do their jobs, and I stand strongly with our police. And there’s no question that the breakdown in the black American family, aided and abetted by the welfare system, is a major culprit in this crisis. As for sentences handed down by the courts, I claim no expertise and need to examine the data more carefully.

We can ignore these differences, arguing our points with passion, or we can do our best to sit down with those who differ with us and ask them to share their perspective.

But I’m not trying to win an argument here. I’m trying to make a point: Speaking in broad terms, the life experience of black Americans is often very different than that of white Americans, leading to very different perceptions of the same events.

We can ignore these differences, arguing our points with passion and talking about the unpatriotic actions of black athletes who protest our national anthem. Or we can do our best to sit down with those who differ with us and ask them to share their perspective with us.

I personally believe the national anthem protests are misguided and do more harm than good, since they send out an unpatriotic, ungrateful message. And I hate the fact that the Ferguson myth is being used to stoke fires of racial hatred.

But I also know there’s another side to the story, one that many white Americans miss entirely, and as a follower of Jesus, I want to listen first and speak second. I encourage you to do the same. Don’t we all want justice for all?

Print Friendly
Comments ()
The Stream encourages comments, whether in agreement with the article or not. However, comments that violate our commenting rules or terms of use will be removed. Any commenter who repeatedly violates these rules and terms of use will be blocked from commenting. Comments on The Stream are hosted by Disqus, with logins available through Disqus, Facebook, Twitter or G+ accounts. You must log in to comment. Please flag any comments you see breaking the rules. More detail is available here.
  • James

    Does free speech give someone the right to spread lies?

    • Jim Walker

      Yes. Only if people are stupid enough to believe it.

    • Bryan

      With the right to free speech comes the responsibility to speak truth. The government can recognize the rights but they cannot force the responsibility. Laws cannot change a liar into one who tells the truth.
      This is why Adams said the Constitution was written “only for a moral and religious People. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”

  • Jim Walker

    Totally agree.

  • Irene Neuner

    I believe that many black Americans (including black Christians) look for racism and injustice. They have been programmed by schools and media for generations that they are victims or part of a victimized group. They have bought a lie hook, line and sinker like most American woman have concerning the VALUE of being a woman. We live out what we believe.

    People are different. They are not equal. Differences should be celebrated and inequalities should be realized with humility, thanksgiving, celebration, and GRACE. Of course this message is not easy to receive and comes only from the Bible so if that is not your center then you have lots of problems.

    • Wayne Cook

      I do not agree that differences should be celebrated. You won’t find that anywhere in scripture. Humility and grace, yes. Those are qualities of Christ. Differences are merely divisions.

      • Irene Neuner

        Differences between a male and female. Diversity between different people groups. In Job God talks about the differences in his creatures. To me a wide variety of gifts given or lack thereof is a celebrated handiwork of the creator. Division comes from lack of thankfulness from someone given one talent and humility from someone given 10.

        • Wayne Cook

          Sorry, differences are what created this divisiveness. I cannot disagree with you more. You are distracted by false divisions, when mankind should be celebrating the unity of salvation, not differences. Yours is a product of the present culture and a mindset of a secularist generation. Learn the DIFFERENCE between them.

          • Andrew Mason

            What about the distinction between Jew and Gentile? There was no difference in terms of salvation – so long as they were believers, but evangelising them required different approaches – they had different ways of thinking. The same situation exists today – non-believers with some vague understanding of Scripture versus those who are entirely ignorant about it aside from the conviction it’s wrong.

            As an aside I don’t think logic is taught at university let alone high school!

          • Wayne Cook

            Andrew, you are the one making the distinction, not God. That was Irene’s original point and you’ve merely run the circle and started the illogical path again.

          • Andrew Mason

            I’m more noting the difference than debating whether they are to be celebrated. Consider Galatians 3:28 – There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.

            In Christ all are one i.e. the same, but that is not to suggest that the distinctions do not exist. God makes and cares about differences – choosing to honour and obey versus choosing to embrace sin, or roles in marriage. He also selects us for different roles – 1 Corinthians 12:12-31.

          • Thomas Sharpe

            “All men are created equal..” is not, let’s face it “self-evident”, but it is evident based on two self-evident truths. Those are that we are all equal members of the human species and that we are all equal in our dignity as persons before God.

            We are not all equal in our abilities or.. (watch it).. in how we develop our abilities. I do not think that abilities are subject to race, however I do think that there are cultural over-tones that dictate how well “we develop our abilities..”

            For instance, I work with many Asian engineers (I am an engineer also), as a whole they are all very good engineers. Why? Not because they’re all born with natural talent, but because their culture has a very strong work ethic, especially pertaining to acquiring knowledge and using it. I also work with engineers from Nigeria, they’re also excellent, because they have a strong work ethic. If there is a problem with American blacks, it has nothing to do with race, it’s a cultural problem, and that needs to be overcome.

          • Fishcicle

            Are you SURE it has nothing to do with race? Consider that many jobs were historically unavailable to blacks, and still aren’t necessarily available now. Wouldn’t you think that if one isn’t allowed to succeed, one tends to lose motivation to try? There have been a good many instances of of blacks succeeding in fields they were ALLOWED to succeed in. I happen to work with a lot of black people, and find them as various in their determination and work ethic as anyone else. I don’t think any race has a patent on laziness. But there are stereotypes about whom it afflicts.

          • Thomas Sharpe

            I am certain: that it’s not race and that it is culture. Certainly motivation/ culture has been effected by past discrimination, group perception and self perception. But it’s not inherent, it’s culture.

          • Fishcicle

            I agree, it’s cultural among both blacks and whites.

          • Irene Neuner

            Wayne, check yourself, you sound warped by secularism. Jesus gave 10 talents to one, two to another and one to the other. He teaches us to not hold someone with distain because the were GIVEN little faith. Whether Spiritually or Physically we are all given different amounts of this or that and you see it in all creation. It is His delight to make one this way and the other that way.

    • Concerned Christian

      is it possible that whites don’t look at anything as being racist or actual injustice? Not trying to be difficult but it always seems that whites are the innocent bystanders of ignorant blacks who are victims of evil agitators.

      Do (right thinking)whites bear any responsibility for the current state of our country?

    • Kevin Carr

      One thing that does not get mentioned, I won’t use any names, but many of the agitators we see on T.V. that are constantly pushing the “man is keeping you down” “you are a victim”, they have degrees and have landed lucrative positions on some of the networks. How did “the man” miss them? That was a point brought out by Larry Elder and a good question.

      If you are stopped by the police it does not do any good to give them any attitude. There are times I have gotten just a warning, I would suspect, just because I was respectful. That is just how I was raised, not to mouth off to authority figures.

      Does anyone know who Dorian Jones is? He was Michael Brown’s friend and was with him when they were stopped. Nobody talks about him. Because he is alive and complied with what he was told to do. That part of the story isn’t newsworthy I guess.

      • Irene Neuner

        Yes, I do have a certain ‘healthy’ fear of policemen. People should have fear of the law because we all tend to be LAWBREAKERS. It is written into our DNA. The minute I tell my son, “You are free to ride your bike this way but not that way,” it becomes OPPRESSION for him.

        Furthermore I have been both mercilessly ticketed for traffic violations and wrongly ticketed for a traffic violations in my life and I walk the line VERY, VERY straight because of it. Because I want to be innocent BEYOND a reasonable doubt. I don’t want to look like I am even thinking about breaking the law because I want to keep hundreds of dollars and hours of my time to myself!!! My husband and I perform the same way with the IRS. Go above and beyond the law because they will show NO MERCY for error or mistake.

  • Concerned Christian

    Completely agree.

  • Paul

    I still chuckle at the derivative phrase…”Pants Up, Don’t Loot”. I don’t care who you are, that there is funny.

  • ncsugrant

    We have been presented with a false choice of siding with “racist police” or their “victims”. This narrative was crafted by professional agitators of the Saul Alinsky school (including many politicians).The real option is siding with anarchists or preserving an orderly society.
    I suspect most thinking people would agree that police officers are not perfect, and those who abuse their authority should be punished.
    However, many of the cases which have triggered riots and violent protests were based on lies. In addition to the Ferguson, MO case, the Charlotte, NC case was totally contrived. Somehow, a black police officer and a black police chief conspired to murder a black convicted felon (who would not drop the LOADED PISTOL he was holding).

    I am thankful that we have fellow citizens who choose to take a dangerous, low paying job in service of their community.

    These same agitators demonized individuals serving in the US military in the 1970’s.

    We should all hope they don’t succeed in doing the same to law enforcement today.

    • David Hess

      thanks for your comment. a “perception” has been created and believed (i.e. police are racist). and as it is said, “Perception has become reality”. The fact that the statistics (and I’ve heard them presented by responsible black Americans numerous times) don’t substantiate the claims is what is so disturbing. Evidence that supports the perception is looked for and then magnified far beyond the reality. Any evidence that doesn’t support the false narrative (or should we say “mostly false”) is disregarded. and when an incident like Ferguson is totally debunked as a myth, it is still propagated as “true”, because even if it wasn’t true, the problem it supposedly illustrated is true in America for blacks (which the stats do NOT support). the real tragedy is that there are 10 (at least) other problems facing these communities that are far more widespread and serious than incidents of police brutality, but those problems are almost entirely being ignored.

  • Irene Neuner

    My mother (Pakistani born guidance counselor) witnessed black principals in public Grand Rapids, MI schools tell young black boys to work hard because “the white man wants to keep you down.” Circa 1998-2005

  • LgVt

    It’s a very simple, and very sad situation. The black community, as a whole, has lost all trust in the criminal justice system in these cases. Any time we have a police officer shooting a black victim, they will reject any outcome that exonerates or acquits the officer as rigged, predetermined, and invalid.

    There is no innocent until proven guilty. There’s not even guilty until proven innocent. There’s only guilty, no matter what.

    I don’t know how you rebuild that trust. I don’t even know if it’s possible. But without that trust, there is no way to salvage our society.

    • Thomas Sharpe

      You do it by First debating and ending identity politics. We are All Americans. We share a common home and a common humanity. Identity politics is actively trying to keep everyone divided. Why? For power. That’s not simply human weakness, that’s active cooperation with evil, “willingly doing the work of demons.. ”

      Next, we need to have a honest debate and solutions to the problems experienced in black communities. I think the endless race baiting obscures the fact that we are actually very very close to solving these problems. This next generation is very unlikely to be considered “racist” in any fashion, black or white. The main problem is that Some, for reasons of power, do not ever want the “racist” perception to end.

      • Concerned Christian

        I think the first issue is to stop acting as if all blacks have the same experiences. Not all blacks live in inner city communities. Not all blacks are poor. But very few blacks don’t have a story to tell about negative experiences with the police. Also, the shootings hit a nerve with middle and upper income blacks because even in this discussion, how would you distinguish the two? My son is in college on a scholarship for chemistry, has no tattoos, earrings, or baggy pants. But the reality is that any encounter with the police is potentially dangerous one for him. Not because the police officer is racist but because the police officer may just be afraid.. If you look at the cop in Minn, he looked absolutely terrified when he killed the guy in the passenger seat. That’s the real fear.

        Another point is that we can’t even go to church together. You can tell me about your experiences, but I’ve never been in or seen a church on TV that had a black pastor with a substantial white congregation. However, I have seen, even with someone as conservative as John Hagee, a large black representation in churches with white pastors. I even go to a church with a white pastor. The reality is that people of color know more about whites than vice versa.

        So the problem is that when we do complain, it’s received as race baiting or wanting to focus on problems in the black community. Now, before anyone goes off on me, please help me to understand what bridges whites are willing to build? I.e. something as simple as police reform. We have body cameras but it seems that in so many of these shootings, the camera all of a sudden didn’t work. Justice reform? Study after study point out the racial differences when it comes to sentencing for crimes. We had a shooting in the city I live in and I don’t remember any white churches reaching out to say let’s build a bridge.

        Contrary to popular belief blacks do not obsess over race. however, talk with anyone who has a teenage son about what they do obsess over.

        • Linda

          Good summary, thank you.

        • LgVt

          What bridges can whites build? I ask this in all seriousness. What can they do?

          I focused primarily on police shootings in my original post. Conservatives are instinctively suspicious of government power; we should be your natural allies in this. But in so many of these cases, it seems that what is being demanded is a kangaroo court–to attempt to remedy a real injustice by inflicting another equally real injustice in the opposite direction. Is this really the only thing that can be done? Is there no other way to rectify the situation?

          I am not at all surprised that racial disparity in sentencing exists. But which way is it skewed? Are blacks sentenced too harshly, or are whites sentenced too lightly? And again–how can this be fixed? Impose mandatory sentences, and take all discretion out of judges’ hands? Is that really a good idea?

          What can be done?

          • Fishcicle

            One example of skewed sentencing (which may be less common now) is that blacks and whites busted for possession of cocaine. Sentences for possession of powder cocaine were much lighter than for crack cocaine. I suspect you see the disparity. I think the other point is to concentrate on equal justice. I think (as you probably agree) that most police are trying to do a difficult job, but when police shoot innocent blacks some of them HAVE to get sentenced. Not all the incidents are clear, but it seems to me some are. I think Trayvon Martin, for instance, was standing his ground against a man with a gun who got away with killing him. Tamir Rice, a twelve year old (about the same age as my grandchildren) was killed for playing with a toy gun. As long as police aren’t held responsible for such outrageous actions I don’t think the black community is going to trust them.

          • Gracie’s Girl

            I understand how devastating it was when Trayvon Martin was murdered, but everyone keeps throwing his name in when talking about police violence/brutality. Trayvon Martin was not a victim of police brutality. He is a victim and I will stand and shout with you that he was murdered but you cannot continue to place his name and police brutality in the same sentence. And as far as Tamir Rice is concerned I do not see how for the life of me that this officer was not charged and/or found guilty of at least manslaughter. It is never appropriate for anyone to display a “fake” gun to make it look real but he was a child for Gods sake playing in a park. I don’t know how all of America is not outraged by this. These are the cases everyone should be fighting for. Not the “Hands Up Don’t Shoot” lie that keeps getting spread or the cases where it has been proven without a shadow of a doubt it came down to the officers life over the suspected criminals life (those with weapons meaning to do harm). Police will win my vote in all those.

          • Irene Neuner

            I am a mother of four boys with who have large assortments of both toy and real guns. I am confident that Tamir knew better. No one should protest that incident, white boys with toy guns have been shot and killed before by police officers.

          • Gracie’s Girl

            So you would be okay with one of your sons/grandsons playing in a park and without question a police officer pulls up and shoots them? No word spoken. No chance to react/respond. Just pull in the grass and shoot them. Okay. Tamir was 12 yesterday old. I don’t know many 12 year olds who are thinking that if I go to the park and play I might get shot by the police. I blame the adults, not the child. He was a baby. And I never said rioting was okay. I said (or implied) that Tamir Rice was not given the chance to do anything, didn’t even point the “toy” towards the officers and they just shot him. How can any parent be okay with that? Adults are responsible for teaching or

          • Irene Neuner

            No 12 yrs is not a baby. That is a young man. The officer did wrong and should be removed from his position but I don’t think he shot the young man because he was black.

            My boys know that people in the city will freak out if they see even a toy gun. They are and should have a healthy fear of the law and weapons.

            We are all very afraid of anyone carrying a gun and not using it for hunting animals. That is why most people do whatever someone says when a gun is pointed at them.

            We don’t go into the woods when it’s hunting season. Every child is aware of the really big dangers and precautions that need to be taken and Tamir knew.

            It was completely unnecessary and tragic for him to be shot but it shouldn’t erupt protest for anything. It should simply make us all more careful with guns whether they are toys or real.

          • Fishcicle

            That I might be shot for playing with a toy gun was simply unimaginable for me at age 12. Of course I grew up in a small town, not a city, and that was some time ago, but I still wonder if Tamir Rice knew enough to be afraid of the police for something like that. I suspect he didn’t.

          • Irene Neuner

            Right. Rules are different in different times and places. For example when we send Christmas packages abroad we are instructed to send no toy soldiers or guns. This is because many of these children have had traumatic experiences with the real thing.

            When you have war you can get shot for holding a gun and by the way an air-soft rifle looks like a very scary real gun. I would say you have a war going on in the inner cities.

            It is terrible that this young man was shot but it shouldn’t incur racial injustice protests. What truly needed to change for this man and so many others is he needs a culture that promotes fatherhood. He needed a father. He also needs a culture that respects and serves his nation.

            Think of Nathan Hale, “My only regret is that I only have one life to give for my country.” Our progressive schools have taken the wonder and miracle of our nation and Western Civilization out of the schools and replaced it with contempt.

          • Fishcicle

            Of course dysfunctional families don’t help matters, but I think it’s pretty dysfunctional for a policeman to shoot anyone that young. I completely understand any protests that incident instigates. When that kind of thing happens without any accountability, how are black citizens supposed to trust the police? If they can’t, then they won’t help the police catch criminals. Who wins in that situation?

          • Irene Neuner

            Did you read the Wikipedia write up on the Tamir Rice case? Essentially there was a 911 call that someone was waving a gun around in a public area. So that was what the police were responding to. There is only evidence of poor judgment (for both Tamir and the officer) verses any social justice crime.

            In cities and neighborhoods where there is lots of crime kids from a young age are terribly and awfully aware of guns. They have metal detectors on all schools in the cities. They get kicked out of school for bringing weapons in. So it is very naive to think that he didn’t have a sense of the gravity of waiving an airsoft rifle around.

            I challenged a acquaintance to offer some evidence of systemic police injustice and after a week she offered two sources that showed a 20% greater use of force with black criminals. Both sources (one from Harvard professor) the other from some policing equity institute found that black criminals were less likely to be shot than other people groups. She (wrongly) switched the use of force (the very thing police use to keep law and order) to brutality which is rare.

            Two things are going on. One the left is taking rare occurrences and making them into common occurrences and two they are turning the use of force (primarily tasers) into brutality. The only evidence they have for oppression and social injustice is that they said so.

            Moderately hard working, semi-focused individuals with a little integrity succeed in this nation. In fact even the slave Daniel and the slave Joseph who truly lived under oppression and tumult succeeded because God willed it.

          • Fishcicle

            I watched what was said to be the video of the Tamir Rice video. The police got out of the car and immediately shot him. Maybe I’m wrong, but I don’t think that’s approved police procedure. From what you say, Tamir Rice may have known more about guns than I would have thought, but 12 year-olds aren’t famous for good judgment. That’s the role the police are supposed to take.
            I’ve read that right-wingers too like to focus on crime, but black criminals instead of the police, and their narratives are often questionable too.
            Blacks have somewhat more opportunity now than in the last century, especially a hundred and more years ago, but one problem is that of education. We fund education according to the neighborhood the schools serve. That means that poor neighborhoods don’t get the best teachers or enough supplies. And stereotypes still affect how blacks and other minorities are seen. Sometimes stereotypes provoke tragedies. Some of these tragedies may have to do with people growing up in bad neighborhoods not getting the education good teachers well supported would have given them. And statistics I’ve heard say that blacks haven’t been able to pass wealth on to their families as whites have. That leaves them at a severe disadvantage. So then racial stereotypes come in.

          • Irene Neuner

            I don’t think many people under 30 have good judgment and declining the younger they are however I went and watched the video too and IF Tamir Rice was holding a gun it sure as heck looked like the officer thought he was about to get shot.

            Bad police procedure is obvious here however things like this happen rarely and happen with less frequency to black criminals or in this case supposed criminals than whites and other people groups.

            I have homeschooled my three oldest sons up till recently and know a little first hand about schooling and have read extensively on methods, curriculum and results going back 100 years.

            It doesn’t take much to teach a child to read, write, and count with proficiency. About an hour a day (4-5 days a week) at 5 years old, then increasing about 30 minutes each year and successive grade.

            I could have children of average intelligence reading at a 5th grade level (King James Bible) by 3rd grade and rapidly calculating with all four math functions by 6th grade with a church basement and less than a $100 in supplies.

            I know I could do it with anyone because my sons hate school. They think it is torture to sit at a desk and do arithmetic, or write neatly, or read properly, or punctuate properly.

            To raise children that have a hard work ethic and behave in an unselfish manner instead of becoming terrorists and criminals takes everything you have plus God’s Word and Spirit if you want them to be kind and generous etc.

            Government/State schools are a big problem for our whole nation but that is another conversation.

          • Fishcicle

            It seems to me that if I’d been one of the police dealing with Tamir Rice I would have at least spoken to him before shooting him. I’m also not so sure such incidents happen so rarely, either. Because of social media and cameras in cellphones we have more evidence of such incidents than we used to. Bill Russell, famous basketball player, in his autobiographies talked about many racial encounters he had with police (among others). At least partly because he was a famous athlete, and partly because he vociferously objected when he thought police were behaving inappropriately (and there were other people around) he didn’t suffer violence, but that wasn’t true for a lot of people, including other prominent black people. In absolute terms whites may be stopped more often than blacks and other minorities, but there ARE more whites, and I can say that when I’ve been stopped for traffic violations police have never drawn their weapons. That’s not the story I hear from the black community, and I suspect that’s why there have been riots when black people have been shot. Are black people influenced by propaganda? I suppose that’s possible, but I think it’s also possible that word spreads in black communities. They see it differently from white people who haven’t seen how police treat minorities, and who haven’t been mistreated by police themselves (the white people). The stories have been around for a long time, but we didn’t start seeing the evidence where it wasn’t so easy to ignore until 25 years ago with the Rodney King beating caught on video. There have been a lot more of those since, but a lot of people still prefer to ignore the evidence.

          • Irene Neuner

            I believe the cops chased Rodney King for over an hour at high speeds before they subdued him. Then he continued to not comply with the requests of the law.

            I am a mother of five, four of them boys. When one of them is disobeying me and they get assaulted by a another boy I say, “You will get no justice from me, you were disobeying me, you deserved it.”

            I think we might just have radically different ideas of law and justice, of crime and punishment. To keep peace in my home I have to get pretty mean I bet the cops do to.

          • Fishcicle

            Perhaps we do have a different view of justice. I think the police chased Mr. King for quite some time, but they also beat him for quite awhile. Maybe I’m foolish to believe the latter wasn’t necessary. And that it probably wouldn’t have happened to someone white (at least at the same length) to a white person committing the same crime. Would you blame your child if police treated one of them the way they treated Rodney King?

          • Irene Neuner

            After the police subdued King he shook the cops off him several times and wouldn’t stay down.

            Yes, if one of my grown sons was driving under the influence, caught for a second time after making the police chase him for several hours and he was in the hospital with broken limbs due to a policeman’s billy club I might attempt to inflict further punishment on my son and furthermore apologize to the police and expect him to get sued by the city for endangering it’s citizens by driving 80 mph in residential areas but I work hard so that won’t happen.

            My sons are taught at home and church to comply with the law and submit to authority.

            It is procedure in our home if one of our sons runs from us when he is due punishment then the punishment doubles at minimum. If the boy has caused misery for another child or parent previously that day and didn’t learn his lesson then the punishment easily becomes fives times or more than the regular punishment.

            If a couple doesn’t have more than one boy discipline isn’t as essential to have peace in the home. Peace in the world I don’t know.

          • Concerned Christian

            I think you’ll find this article interesting:

            http://www(dot)weeklystandard(dot)com/its-trump-vs(dot)-the-nfl-and-were-all-losers/article/2009805

            it really takes an interesting look at the number of police interactions with white who held permits. It’s an interesting read.

            Also, i think sentencing reform would make a huge difference in the physche of the black community. For some advocates, this is where the problem starts. The initial sentencing is harsher and therefore puts the person on a negative track at a much earlier age.

            For me it’s not a matter of harsher or more lenient. Just fair. I think this can be enforced via some type of community review board. Not that they can overturn a ruling but just bring some integrity to the process.

            I was listening to one judge who presided over a case dealing with a black and white kid from the same affluent neighborhood. During their initial court visit, the white kid came in a suit and the black kid had on the orange prison gear. Both were first time offenders and both had both parents in the home. however, the white kid was given bail while the black kid was not.

            The judge said this is when he realized the bias. Not necessarily intentional but real none the less. If we can avoid this perception, i think it will go a long way into calming things down.

        • Thomas Sharpe

          Part of what you’ve said is foreign to me, thanks for helping me to reflect on this. There are both black and white people at my parish, and sometimes black priests. There are also Asian and Hispanic.
          There are also rich and poor, educated and non educated.
          I suppose that’s a real reason to give thanks on being Catholic.

          You’re right about where the divisional problems are, there needs to be reforms of the prison system and educational system.

        • Irene Neuner

          Our family attended a black church when visiting a new town and found that Jesus and the apostles were black in the paintings of Biblical scenes. This didn’t bother us but we chose a different church after moving to the town because of the quality of the preacher.

          Also black American’s worship in a way that doesn’t feel like home to us. I love listening to Tony Evans who is excellent but he shouts most of his message which the hubby can’t take. Also contemporary black worship music lacks a lot of appeal. Of course so does the mainstream modern (white?) worship music.

          I think it is ok when certain people groups want to worship, live, work with those who are similar. It’s not about skin color it’s about wanting to feel like your home. 1/2 my family is from Pakistan (mother’s side) and they congregate together because it feels like home. Two Philipinos have married into my Dad’s (white) family and they want to congregate and identify with Philipino’s because it feels like home.

          My mother’s family was also Christian in Pakistan and persecuted. Not equals under the law. That is why they are here. If a young black American feels less safe in a police situation its real, it stinks but they should just have faith and shake it off.

          NPR and myth has done a great job of making black Americans feel very afraid of rural country folk and it is silly. There is no safer place!

          • Concerned Christian

            “If a young black American feels less safe in a police situation its real, it stinks but they should just have faith and shake it off.”

            Please tell me why? A black man was running from the police last year in SC and was shot in the back. The policeman then planted a gun on the person. The only reason he was caught is because the incident was videotaped. So no we’re not just going to have faith and shake it off. We tried that for 400 years and it didn’t worked.

            “NPR and myth has done a great job of making black Americans feel very afraid of rural country folk and it is silly. There is no safer place!”

            So what do you think:

            –Lebron James, who comes from a single parent home from a poor part of Cleveland
            –Steph Curry, who’s dad played in the NBA, who attended a white christian private school
            –Myself, two parent home, served in the AF, college educated

            all have in common? The belief that there is racial disparity in this country that puts our kids at risk when confronting cops.

            To boil this down to NPR and myth is plain silly. Do you really believe that black people are afraid of rural country folk? I can assure you that rural country folk are much more afraid of black people and certainly are of people like yourself.

            Black people are not ignorant nor are we stupid. Nor are all of us poor. However, every black man in america, no matter what his station in life, is held accountable for the worst in black america. No other group is treated with such contempt.

          • Irene Neuner

            I would think it it normal for the police to fire at or shoot anyone running away from them. Armed or not. You don’t run from the law. Doesn’t everyone of all colors know that? The gun plant is completely wrong and the officer should be prosecuted for that.

            Overall what I am trying to say is that we all have problems but systemic, institutional racism towards blacks does not exist. Black Americans when experiencing the isolated or minor cases of bigotry and/or discrimination should just shake it off.

            I experience all kinds wrongs against me for various reasons from a wide variety of people. I am called to forgive and to love the people that offend me. It’s a much better option than hate.

            If I raised a black boy and had to caution him about going certain places and behaving a certain way in certain situations differently from my white children it wouldn’t strike me as unusual. I tell my real children now lists and lists of wisdom.

            We don’t allow our sons to leave their shirts untucked or wear their hats backwards. To smile and respond in a respectful way when someone speaks to them.

            The world is a very tough place for all of us of all colors. Especially Christians.

            I think the way you build bridges is by truly valuing yourself and others. Having God’s heart for others.

          • Concerned Christian

            First:

            “I would think it it normal for the police to fire at or shoot anyone running away from them”

            In America, that is truly illegal:

            “Ex-officer Michael Slager pleads guilty in shooting death of Walter Scott”
            http://www(dot)cnn(dot)com/2017/05/02/us/michael-slager-federal-plea/index(dot)html

            Second:

            “We don’t allow our sons to leave their shirts untucked or wear their hats backwards. To smile and respond in a respectful way when someone speaks to them.”

            My parents didn’t allow me to do it and I don’t allow my son to do it. Trayvon Martin was minding his own business when Zimmerman attacked him. Zimmerman was not a cop. The cops told Zimmerman not to approach Trayvon. But Zimmerman did approach him, Zimmerman did kill him, and Zimmerman did not go to prison.

            Third:
            Trying to equate what Christians go through to blacks, Muslims, or Hispanics is ridiculous.

            In the US, tell me of one Christian that’s dead because they are Christian. That is not the case with blacks, Muslims, or Hispanics. All three groups have been recent victims of flat out hate crimes.

            Fourth:
            You came to this country.
            Imagine being born in this country.
            Imagine having parents that served in the military when the military was still segregated.
            Imagine yourself serving your country and pledging allegiance to the flag.
            Imagine doing all of the things that America says are keys to success. Imagine conversation after conversation trying to convince whites that you and blacks in general are not a threat to them.
            Imagine going to white churches and worshiping with them although they don’t come to your church and worship with you.

            Then imagine how it feels for someone to tell you something like this:

            “I think the way you build bridges is by truly valuing yourself and others. Having God’s heart for others.”

            This is obviously the source of all of our problems. We need to start valuing ourselves, others, and having God’s heart for others.

          • Irene Neuner

            According to to the DOJ and other investigations there was no wrong doing on the part of Zimmerman. I saw the photos on Wikipedia of the blood coming out of his nose and from the back of his head. I read the 911 exchange. All evidence points to Martin assaulting him.

            Life is hard. We should have compassion for those suffering but rebellion and crime should be dealt with very seriously.

            Think of the bears that tore children apart who made fun of Elisha. They were sent by God. Think of the Old Testament sentences for stoning for rebellious children and adulterers. Think of Jesus sayings on dealing with sin and “Fear not him who can kill the body but rather him who can cast both body and soul into hell.”

          • Concerned Christian

            It really is hard for you to believe that this confrontation was all Zimmerman’s fault isn’t it?

            The police told Zimmerman not to follow him but you still can’t believe that Zimmerman did this because he ASSUMED, like you apparently, that Trayvon was a criminal. You are assuming that the 17-old being followed by a white man should have been obedient to the white man as opposed to being afraid of him? You are assuming that the investigations into this matter were just although Trayvon was not there to present his side of the story.

            You do realize that the only person that was being rebellious that night was Zimmerman, the police told him not to do something. He didn’t listen and a black child was killed because of it.

            Let me give you some background information on Zimmerman:
            =====================================================
            –He retweeted a photograph of Trayvon Martin’s slain body
            –He tried to auction off the gun he used to kill Trayvon.
            –Called President Barack Obama an ” ignorant baboon”
            –Tweeted at a critic, “We all know how it ended for the last moron who hit me. Give it a whirl, cupcake.”
            –Posted semi-nude photographs of his ex-girlfriend. In the captions, he included her personal email address and telephone number and accused her of having sex with a “dirty Muslim.”
            –First domestic dispute in 2005 that ended with a broken engagement and a restraining order filed against him
            –battery of an officer after he shoved an undercover agent who was arresting Zimmerman’s underage friend for being in a bar
            –Later in 2013, he was arrested and charged with felony aggravated assault for allegedly pointing a shotgun at his girlfriend
            –two years later, he was arrested again — this time for charges of domestic aggravated assault for allegedly throwing a bottle of wine at his girlfriend
            –Zimmerman was shot, receiving minor injuries, during a dispute with a motorist named Matthew Apperson. In 2014, Apperson had called the police in a different dispute, saying Zimmerman had allegedly threatened him by saying, “Do you know who I am?” and “I’ll f–ing kill you,”
            =====================================================

            I’m beginning to understand that there is nothing I can say that will change this perception of blacks boys. My son use to walk our dog at night. He stopped once this incident occurred. I can’t seem to get people with your perspective to understand that Trayvon represents so many young black boys.

            He’s out walking at night minding his own business. A white person approaches him assuming that he’s a criminal. Keep in mind that the person in question has more run ins with the police than the person that’s he stalking. But of course when the unthinkable occurs, it’s the black boy fault.

          • Irene Neuner

            I see you have a very strong belief and argument with some truth but ultimately you are taking a small problem and making it a big problem. You are twisting what is true to fit a narrative and build a story.

            The crime yesterday was a hate crime.

            By the way if a Muslim family moved into my neighborhood with a large numbers of boys and I found them to be fundamentalist (meaning that they practiced their religion) I would move for the sake of my only daughter. They have a terrible reputation with girls and women and I wouldn’t risk that for one second.

            That’s not racist it’s practical and precautionary.

          • Concerned Christian

            Well, I appreciate your honesty. I wish more people had the guts to state what you just stated. This is how you feel and I respect that.

            This line:

            “They have a terrible reputation with girls and women and I wouldn’t risk that for one second”

            Would easily apply to the PERCEPTION of black boys. That’s why what you see as a ” small problem and making it a big problem” is a big problem.

            The criteria you gave:

            Muslim family with a large number of boys who practice their religion. How about a black family with a large number of black boys who look like black kids? From your statement, you will not give Muslims a chance to be anything other than what you’ve stereotyped them to be. It’s to dangerous.

            Well that’s exactly how I feel about my kids. How am i supposed to know if a cop feels the same way about black boys as you do about Muslims? More UNARMED black people have been shot by cops than Muslims have proven to be the monsters, in the US anyway, that you’ve described. I don’t know about other countries.

            To paraphrase you, this is not racist it’s not bigoted, it’s precautionary! 🙂

          • Irene Neuner

            Judgement and stereotyping are not evil in and of themselves.

            European leaders cannot reckon this so Europeans citizens will be victims of Islamic inspired crimes. Eventually if you deny sensibility and common sense with lack of application of the law (to avoid looking like a racist) the insanity comes to a terrible impasse.

            If you don’t put OJ in prison for murder because he was black, racism/hatred grows.

            Unless I found myself in East Saint Louis or the South side of Chicago I am more concerned about a garbage truck running over my children than a young or middle aged black man.

            I think you would be very afraid for yourself or your black son if he found himself in one of those neighborhoods.

            And why are those neighborhoods so dangerous? I think it is because the law is not upheld there. Lawlessness.

          • Concerned Christian

            Well if Mark Furman wasn’t a straight up racist, OJ may have been in prison. Maybe if Rodney King hadn’t been beat like an animal by white police officers, OJ may have been in prison. Maybe if the LAPD, at the time didn’t have a history of brutality, OJ may have been in prison. But of course, it was the OJ verdict that stroked racism and hatred not the prior action of the police.

            But the point I really, really, really, want to make is that I DO NOT LIVE in an inner city community. Neither did Trayvon, neither did the black man running the SC cop, and neither did the black congregation in SC.

            Again, for blacks, regardless of income level, we are judged by the worst of us. So when you see a football player that represents the best of us, keep in mind that when he or his son interact with the police, we’re not sure if that’s what they see?

          • Irene Neuner

            You are right. My heart is sorrowful with you that you are judged by the worst of you. It always has been. I just think that all the unfairness to blacks from whites is small in comparison to the powerful messages sent from divisive, rebellious, and angry messaging from powerful black leaders. Beyonce, Snoop Dog, the Jesse Jackson.

            I have a friend who’s husband is a functional, heavy, regular drinker. This causes her and her young children not physical harm but mental and physiological anguish night after night.

            After much fighting with her husband which just made this sad reality worse she finally told her ten year old son who’s anger was growing, “I am sorry there is nothing I can do, I don’t really understand it, I can’t stop it. Son this is what God has chosen for you and me. To test and try us. Don’t let it ruin you too. Don’t be angry and bitter just pray and seek God’s face”

            So I would say the same thing to a black son. I am sorry. I can’t change it. Pray and seek God’s face. This is what God has chosen for you to try and test you. Don’t let it ruin you, don’t be angry and bitter.

            God’s Spirit of Love is more powerful than our own truly weak spirit. It can overcome the darkest of places.

          • Concerned Christian
          • Irene Neuner

            All crimes are hate crimes. Your building a narrative that is divisive.

          • Concerned Christian

            No, most crimes are crimes of passion or crimes of greed. I’ve learned on this site that being divisive means presenting arguments that someone doesn’t like but can’t dispute.

            58 people were killed by a white person today. No one is calling it a hate crime. I can assure you that the narrative around the country would have been completely different if a person with a Muslim background had carried out this same act.

            I’ll also guarantee that most Muslims in this country would be feeling a little uneasy tonight had that occurred. Whether you like it or not there is a difference! There are crimes and then there are hate crimes.

    • Irene Neuner

      I think it is imperative to identify the lie along with the truth. That is how we come to Christ on bended knee.

    • Dean Bruckner

      “I don’t know how you rebuild that trust. I don’t even know if it’s possible. But without that trust, there is no way to salvage our society.”

      I know how! You submit to Jesus Christ, individually and as a community, and obey this command from his apostle Peter:

      “Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us.” – 1 Peter 2:12

      Apart from the gospel of Jesus Christ, there is no hope for humanity. But with God, all things are possible!

    • Fishcicle

      One way would be to make sure that police officers in the most outrageous cases get punished appropriately. The one that particularly upsets me is of Tamir Rice, killed at the age of 12 in Cleveland, Ohio, for the crime of playing with a toy gun. I have grandchildren that age. I can imagine how upset I would be if that happened to one of them.

      • Irene Neuner

        I read the story of Tamir Rice. I have four gun toting boys ages 2,7,9, and 11 and from the age of seven they are taught NOT to take there guns (real or toys) certain places actually most places. (They have no access to real guns without a parent supervising.)

        I read the story about Tamir on Wikipedia. First a 12 year old does know better than that. He just didn’t want to play by the rules or the law of the land or he wanted to play with fire.

        What law? What fire? Guns kill. He would know that from a young age. Police will shoot someone who has a gun and is a perceived threat — that is their job.

  • Albion

    Do Black lives matter? Of course they do!
    However, if you are a young Black American you are far more likely to be murdered by a fellow-Black American than you are by a White supremacist.
    While Black Americans make up 13% of the US population, 1/3 of all US abortions are performed by Black American mothers as unwitting accomplices to the project of the racist founder of Planned Parenthood – Margaret Sanger.
    So where is the outrage?

    • Irene Neuner

      There is a culture, for which Beyoncé is the poster child, that has captivated America. It is destructive those who don’t have much else.

  • Mo

    Where is my comment? I spent quite a bit of time and thought on it. It contained no profanity/vulgarity of any kind, no lies, no threats to anyone – nothing of that sort.

  • ari3lz3pp3lin

    “Don’t we all want justice for all?” Indeed. That’s what Martin Luther wanted but many people now get him confused with Malcom X for goodness sakes…Issues with media taking control of the masses of sheep.

Inspiration
Divine Confidence
Charles Spurgeon
More from The Stream
Connect with Us