Can Blacks be "Racist" or Color-Aroused?
Dr. Henry Louis Gates, Jr Arrested
for Demanding Officer's Name and Badge Number
The afrosphere is very much abuzz with conversation about the arrest and release without charges of Dr. Henry Louis Gates, Jr. by the Cambridge Police Department. But, there are many who say this incident will be quickly forgotten and intra-color group relations will remain as they were before.
One of the main points that I would hope people would learn from this is that police treatment of Blacks depends on the the color of the "suspect" and NOT on the color of the officer. There is impunity for treating Blacks like "nigras" and that impunity is just as real regardless of the color of the police officer.
I suspect that Black officers face no extra reaction against them from "their community" when they participate in color-aroused abuse of Blacks because Black officer's most immediate "community" is the police department.
At one time, Blacks believed and whites feared that more Black cops would make a police force more understanding of Black people. But I think we (and whites) should have learned by now that, regardless of the skin color of the officer, one significant ROLE and objective of the police officer in society vis a vis Blacks is the same - repression and humiliation.
Meanwhile the risk any officer runs by engaging in this abusive and repressive behavior is the same regardless the skin color of the officer. They act with near absolute impunity. I'll use an economic analogy. When the price of tomatoes goes down, both Black and white people buy more tomatoes, because the impetus to purchase doesn't depend on the skin color of the customer, but on the price of the tomatoes. The "price" of abusing Black people is still nil, and it's still far less than the price of abusing white people under similar circumstances.
Black and white and Latino officers know this and they act accordingly. In fact society rewards them (with continued employment, raises and promotions) for abusing Black people. The Gates situation is a perfect example. There were Black police and white police on the scene and they all behaved like . . . police, in their role as repressor and humiliator of Blacks.
Some people say that because Black police participated, the situation cannot have occurred because of "race". They make this mistake first because they believe that skin color naturally binds people into a "race" that will all act and think in the same ways, while science has long since discovered that "race" does not exist and it never did.
People also focus on the skin color (what they call "race") of the officer, which is irrelevant to the potential for punishment of the officer.
One of the reasons it is important that we abandon this fallacious concept of "race" is that the belief in "race" causes us to make other fundamental scientific and intellectual errors, including the belief that because an officer and subject are from the same 'race', therefore there can be no "racism" in the interaction. However, everyone's treatment of everyone in American society can be color-aroused, color-motivated, color-determined, regardless of the skin color of the parties in question, be they the same or different.
That's what we should learn from Gates-gate; each interaction needs to be studied with no prejudgments to determine the role that skin color plays in the participants' treatment of one another.