When Barack Obama said that “change” was coming to America, he wasn’t kidding. Not only has he set race relations back several decades, he has created an environment where bad behavior (depending on race) is not only excused but also celebrated. This atmosphere has also created an environment where cops are blamed for racist actions, even when no racism is present.
Here’s a perfect example of someone claiming to be “put down by the man,” but we soon learn through testimony and video evidence that the police officers (“the man” in this case) were only doing their job.
In the Opinion section of The Dallas Morning News, Dorothy Bland writes about her run-in with two police officers as she is taking her morning walk. Bland is the dean of the Frank W. and Sue Mayborn School of Journalism and the director for the Frank W. Mayborn Graduate Institute of Journalism at the University of North Texas. In her column, Bland writes that she was wearing a “gray hooded ‘Boston’ sweatshirt, black leggings, white socks, plus black-and-white Nike running shoes.” She adds, “Like most African-Americans, I am familiar with the phrase ‘driving while black,’ but was I really being stopped for walking on the street in my own neighborhood?”
Bland instantly sets the tone with that one sentence, as we all know what she is going to write about next: how the police officers stopped her because she’s black and because they are racists.
Bland: “Knowing that the police officers are typically armed with guns and are a lot bigger than my 5 feet, 4 inches, I had no interest in my life’s story playing out like Trayvon Martin’s death. I stopped and asked the two officers if there was a problem; I don’t remember getting a decent answer before one of the officers asked me where I lived and for identification.
I remember saying something like, “Around the corner. This is my neighborhood, and I’m a taxpayer who pays a lot of taxes.” As for the I.D. question, how many Americans typically carry I.D. with them on their morning walk? Do you realize I bought the hoodie I was wearing after completing the Harvard University Institute for Management and Leadership in Education in 2014? Do you realize I have hosted gatherings for family, friends, faculty, staff and students in my home? Not once was a police officer called. To those officers, my education or property-owner status didn’t matter. One officer captured my address and date of birth.”
Bland supposes that she was “simply a brown face in an affluent neighborhood” and then adds this gem:
Bland: “For anyone who doesn’t think racial profiling happens, I can assure you it does happen. For a sanity check, I stopped by the mayor’s house and asked him, “Do I look like a criminal?” Mayor Bill Heidemann said no and shook his head in disbelief. I appreciate the mayor being a good neighbor, but why should he need to verify that I am not a menace to society?”
Based on Bland’s account, these are racist cops who have nothing better to do than harass black people for no reason. Now, let’s look at the other side of the story. Here’s the in-car video of what really happened:
First of all, as the video begins, all we see is a person in a gray hoody and black leggings. You can’t tell the race or ethnicity of the person at all! Secondly, the police officers promptly tell Bland exactly why they are talking to her. The Dallas Morning News has included a rebuttal by Corinth Police Chief Debra Walthall. In her response, she writes:
Walthall: “My officers, a field training officer and his recruit, observed Ms. Bland walking in the roadway wearing earbuds and unaware that there was a pickup truck directly behind her that had to almost come to a complete stop to avoid hitting her.
The driver of the truck looked at the officers as they passed and held his hands in the air, which implied “aren’t you going to do something about this?” The officers turned around and drove behind Ms. Bland.
They activated their in-car video camera, which shows her again walking in the roadway impeding traffic. They activated their emergency lights — no siren was ever sounded — they exited their patrol vehicle and contacted Ms. Bland.”
Chief Walthall notes that impeding traffic “is a Class C misdemeanor, and it is our policy to ask for identification from people we encounter for this type violation.” The police chief sums up the situation perfectly by writing:
The citizens of Corinth as a whole are a highly educated population, and it is disappointing that one of our residents would attempt to make this a racial issue when clearly it is not.
Are there racist people in the world and in this country? Of course. There are also PLENTY of good people like these police officers who are simple doing their jobs and going about their business. The last things we need are bogus attacks and false claims of racism. What did Ms. Bland think she was going to accomplish by writing her column? What was the point?
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