My comment re-posted from last night.
Senator Tim Scott:
WASHINGTON — Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.) revealed today that he’s been stopped seven times in the past year by law enforcement for “trivial” reasons in a highly personal speech focusing on experiences of black men and police stops.
Scott called it his “most difficult” floor speech of the week because “it’s the most personal.”
The senator said most police “have two things on their minds: protect and serve.”
However, he added, “we do have serious issues that must be resolved” — the “deep divide” between the black community and law enforcement in many cities, “a trust gap” and “tension that has been growing for decades.”
Dallas police chief David Brown:
Rawlings praises Chief Brown. He clearly backs Chief Brown and his officers. Then the mayor wisely steps aside and Brown takes the mike—with eloquence: “We’re hurting,” he says. “Our profession is hurting… Dallas officers are hurting… We are heartbroken. There are no words to describe the atrocity that occurred to our city. All I know is this, this must stop, this divisiveness.”
Stop this divisiveness. The statement is a victory for sanity and honesty. Brown understands the price of violent divisiveness. He lost a police patrol partner in a gun battle. Drug dealers murdered his brother. His troubled son died in a firefight with police, after his son killed two people, one of them a policeman.
Two of my closest friends here are black men, my boating partner and my business partner. One grew up in a fairly privileged environment in Queens and the other, very poor, in the projects in the Bronx. Both of them became skilled and respected professionals in their fields. One is 70 and the other is 58. The odds were their lives might have gone the other way. I love both of these men and hold them in the highest regard. They will, and have, done amazing things to help me when I needed it. True friends. And our politics may overlap, but certainly don’t align. They don’t care and neither do I.
I can tell you the experiences of Senator Tim Scott described above are real and expected in their lives. Both of my friends live in very white, upscale neighborhoods and drive nice vehicles. Although my friend, Jeff, has lived in his house for almost 30 years and is a fixture in his town, when he ventures out of there, he never knows. Carl is 6’6″, large and in charge, and finally reduced his driving while black episodes when he got rid of his BMW sedan a few years ago. Carl also donates his time to teach basketball at the local middle school and Boys & Girls Club so he has been through at least two thorough background checks in his town. And the cops there know exactly who he is, more so than they would ever scrutinize a local Italian or Irish guy under the same circumstances.
The sum of all this is I don’t think those of us who are not black realize how humiliating and infuriating it is for men like my friends, Jeff and Carl*, and across America who bought into that American dream, rose above the overwhelming forces to fail and then to be stopped constantly by police for no real reason. It is toxic.
Both of these black men, and many others I’ve met here, are married, financially successful, stable and dedicated to their wives and children. It doesn’t help the situation and I offer no simple solutions, but know well this is a serious problem among the demographic of black men we truly need to solve the race problems in our culture.
I’ve been in New Jersey for 13-1/2 years, driving all kinds of vehicles, and have been stopped once for a traffic violation driving through the very richest and poorest neighborhoods of northern New Jersey.
*Footnote: Between these two men, they pay about $35,000 a year in local, annual property taxes alone.
This comment in response to mine was an innocent, understandable and yet perfectly clueless reaction to what I wrote and what many decent sincere black men in this country have said.
Are your black male friends good and careful drivers, totally apart from what type of cars they drive? My sense is that you get stopped for traffic violations if your driving is marginal and/or shows disregard for traffic laws. And how about **your** driving, since you cite for comparison that you’ve only been stopped once in NJ?
My subsequent response was…
Wow. You so completely missed all of the points. Every one. Just amazing.
And by doing so, you made all of mine.
This is not about how one drives down a residential street.
I’m not posting this to humiliate anyone, but to point out the fact many, perhaps most, white people in America react in ways your local black CPA, attorney or businessman will find insulting and it never occurs to anyone else why their logical reasoning could be, not altogether wrong, but flawed in ways they don’t understand. I also know the prevalence of this occurs to widely different degrees across towns and cities everywhere. It may likely be decidedly worse in the NYC/NJ metro area than in Bellaire or Jersey Village.
Like I said, I have no pat solutions or jingoistic slogans to solve this dilemma. It is an important and fundamental problem that demands to be solved in this society.