Sunday 23 May 2021

Pennsylvania Governor Issues Juneteenth Letter That References 'Death of African Americans at the Hands of Police.' Blue Tears Ensue

 What happens when hit dogs holler at a Wolf?

This isn’t a riddle; it’s the reality of what happened when Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf issued a letter regarding the celebration of Juneteenth. The letter reportedly included a statement about police violence against Black people in America, and surprising to no one Black, blue tears flowed, and now the union that represents Pennsylvania’s State Police troopers is demanding an apology.

“Juneteenth is a celebration of the progress we have made as a nation towards equality and justice for all,” Wolf wrote in the letter issued last week, The Philadelphia Tribune reports. “Sadly, the continued death of African Americans at the hands of police…are painful reminders that racism and intolerance are still with us today.”

Did Wolf tell a lie? Of course, he didn’t. Did police officers get offended anyway because they feel any and every reference to police brutality committed against Black people implicates every cop in America? You know they did.

From the Tribune:

In an op-Ed sent to news organizations, including the Capital-Star, David Kennedy, the president of the Pennsylvania State Troopers Association, blasted Wolf for “[pushing] a false narrative that police are racist murderers,” and called it the “worst kind of political pandering. He added that “it only serves to further divide our nation at the expense of officers who already work incredibly dangerous jobs.”

He added that the State Police support the Juneteenth holiday.

A few things:

First, if cops think that speaking on systemic racism in policing is the same as calling all cops “racist murderers,” that’s their problem. Just as Black people don’t have time for the “not all white people” brigade that shows up every time we’re discussing American racism in general, we have no time for blue-tearsy-ass cops who feel personally attacked when the very real problem of police racism is brought up.

Secondly, cops love “political pandering” when it works in their favor. They have no problem when prominent “back the blue” conservatives are waving around “blue lives matter” flags and treating police officers like they’re a protected class—which is easy for them to do because, for the most part, they are. But whenever anyone addresses the concerns of Black people, it’s all divisive politics. I wonder why they never seem to consider that failing to address these issues will also “further divide” us as Black people will continue to feel slighted and unheard. It’s almost as if their idea of divisiveness revolves exclusively around white people’s feelings.

Lastly, do these people really “support the Juneteenth holiday?”

Black people don’t just recognize Juneteenth as a holiday that brings awareness to America’s racist past, it’s absolutely also a time to focus on America’s racist present and our hopes for a brighter future. It’s why Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is using the holiday to premiere his new Fight the Power documentary on how protests and civil disobedience have impacted society throughout U.S. history. If you don’t think this documentary is going to be just as much about the present as it is about the past, you just don’t understand what this anti-racism activist life is about.

Anyway, according to the Tribune, one of Kennedy’s main issues with Wolf’s comments appears to be that they came amid National Police Week, which commemorates police officers who died in the line of duty. So Kennedy believes that Wolf owes “all law enforcement officers, troopers and their loved ones an apology. A real apology”—but does he?

I mean, sure Wolf would have reason to be contrite if he told any lies, but he didn’t.

More from the Tribune:

Speaking to WHTM-TV in Harrisburg, Wolf said his comment wasn’t directed at the State Police, and that he was stating a fact. And, based on a raft of studies, he has the data on his side.

In a 2020 study, researchers at Harvard University concluded that Black Americans were 3.23 times more likely than white Americans to be killed by police. Researchers examined 5,494 police-related deaths in the U.S. between 2013 and 2017 to reach their conclusions.

The study also found that rates “of deadly police encounters were higher in the West and South than in the Midwest and Northeast,” and that “racial disparities in killings by police varied widely across the country, with some metropolitan areas showing very high differences between treatment by race. Black Chicagoans, for example, were found to be over 650 percent more likely to be killed by police than white Chicagoans.”

So, Wolf doesn’t owe anyone an apology because his statement is backed by facts and data—or what Kennedy calls “political pandering.”

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