Following a tumultuous week of protests after two black men were killed by police in Louisiana and Minnesota, and 12 officers shot with five killed by sniper fire in Dallas, the NewsHour has compiled a list of some of this week’s notable commentary on race and policing in the U.S.
People without hope become desperate, then dangerous (Dallas Morning News)
Michael J. Sorrell is the president of Paul Quinn College in Dallas.
While my heart is broken for the families of the officers who were shot, if I am being completely honest with myself, I am not completely surprised by this turn of events. You see, hate does not exist in a vacuum. There is only so long that hateful words written in blog comments and social media posts or spoken at campaign rallies can exist without poisoning people and altering the landscape.
Yes, Black America Fears the Police. Here’s Why. (ProPublica)
ProPublica’s Nikole Hannah-Jones shares a personal story of witnessing a shooting on Long Island last July 4.
My friends and I locked eyes in stunned silence. Between the four adults, we hold six degrees. Three of us are journalists. And not one of us had thought to call the police. We had not even considered it. We also are all black. And without realizing it, in that moment, each of us had made a set of calculations, an instantaneous weighing of the pros and cons.
What White America Fails to See (The New York Times)
Michael Eric Dyson, a professor of sociology at Georgetown and the author of “The Black Presidency: Barack Obama and the Politics of Race in America” writes that “you, white America, will always struggle to understand us.”
We don’t want cops to be executed at a peaceful protest. We also don’t want cops to kill us without fear that they will ever face a jury, much less go to jail, even as the world watches our death on a homemade video recording. This is a difficult point to make as a racial crisis flares around us.
Philando Castile and I were classmates at Central, where whites and blacks lived in separate worlds (Minneapolis Star Tribune)
Carolyn Philstrom is a pastor at Prairie Lutheran Parish in Stanley, North Dakota.
We must sustain deep, caring relationships with people of color. Only love can motivate us to engage with our lifelong calling and moral mandate to dismantle white supremacy. We must commit ourselves to be better allies. We must further integrate our neighborhoods, churches, schools, lives, friendships and our hearts. We must work to end police brutality and fight for comprehensive equality. We must fight like hell, as though our lives depend on it.
A police killing in Baton Rouge (New Yorker)
Jelani Cobb writes for the New Yorker.
In the wake of the slaughter in Newtown, Connecticut, in 2012, Wayne LaPierre, of the National Rifle Association, infamously remarked that “the only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.” Men like Sterling and Castile were far more likely than most to encounter the former, and consequently died at the hands of those deemed to be the latter.
Commentary: Don’t compare police shootings to black-on-black crime (Chicago Tribune)
Yale Law Professor Stephen Carter is a columnist for Bloomberg View.
Liberals will blame institutional racism. Conservatives will blame an aberrant officer. Libertarians will blame the violent culture of law enforcement. And black Americans will be left wondering whether the pain of history will ever pass.
Prentice Powell is a poet.
I started writing this poem last summer when I brought Justice home. But watching that video this morning of Alton Sterling made me compelled to share the unfinished poem with him. The reality is I may not live long enough to finish it. And he may not live long enough to hear it.
The Second Amendment’s Second-Class Citizens (The Atlantic)
David A. Graham is a staff writer for The Atlantic.
On social-media, many are already asking why the Second Amendment did not protect Sterling and Castile, and why gun-rights advocates like the National Rifle Association are not speaking out on their behalf.
Alton Sterling and When Black Lives Stop Mattering (The New York Times)
Roxane Gay is an associate professor at Purdue University and the author of “Bad Feminist.”
I don’t know where we go from here because those of us who recognize the injustice are not the problem. Law enforcement, militarized and indifferent to black lives, is the problem. Law enforcement that sees black people as criminals rather than human beings with full and deserving lives is the problem. A justice system that rarely prosecutes or convicts police officers who kill innocent people in the line of duty is the problem.
We invite you to share thoughtful essays and commentary that moved you this week in the comments below, or join the discussion on Facebook.