Protests around the world have become historical and uniting. Inspired by the murder of a black man, George Floyd, men and women of all races, creeds, and colors are marching together protesting against police brutality and demanding legal reform in nations across the planet.
Sadly, I’ve been reading this morning about more brutality by law enforcement in the city where it all started, Minneapolis, and in others including Los Angeles, Seattle, and New York.
In one of my recent articles I admitted that I no longer trust law enforcement. I am an old, white man and generally have nothing to fear. However, the stories I read every day offer proof that I have “white privilege.” The purpose of law enforcement today does not fit their slogan, “to protect and serve.”
I never thought about this when I was growing up in Los Angeles in the 1950’s and 60’s. That is until I left Catholic school before my junior year in high school. Venice High was a racially mixed school in my youth. After I became friends with some young black men who were on my basketball team, I learned there are two Americas; one for whites and one for black men and women. The only difference in 2020 is that everyone has a camera, and cameras don’t lie.
After I began writing in 2011, I discovered even more racist action by the entire legal system.
- In 2014, African Americans constituted 2.3 million, or 34%, of the total 6.8 million correctional population.
- African Americans are incarcerated at more than 5 times the rate of whites.
- The imprisonment rate for African American women is twice that of white women.
- Nationwide, African American children represent 32% of children who are arrested,
42% of children who are detained, and 52% of children whose cases are judicially
waived to criminal court.
- Though African Americans and Hispanics make up approximately 32% of the US
population, they comprised 56% of all incarcerated people in 2015.
- If African Americans and Hispanics were incarcerated at the same rates as whites,
prison and jail populations would decline by almost 40%.
With only four percent of the world’s population, America has 25 percent of all men and women incarcerated in the world. More than 2.3 million Americans are in our nation’s jails and prisons. Possibly the most frightening statistic is that the United States has the highest recidivism rate in the world. Punishment is the priority, not rehabilitation.
When Ivanka Trump’s commencement speech was canceled at WSU Tech, she began to whine. The reason given for rescinding her invitation is her father’s open racism and refusal to address our nation as protests continue to grow.
“Our nation’s campuses should be bastions of free speech. Cancel culture and viewpoint discrimination are antithetical to academia. Listening to one another is important now more than ever!”
First, this is not a “free speech” issue for Ivanka. She is not a guest speaker at a rally, she was given an undeserved honor. Uninviting her was the right of the university and the graduating students.
Most importantly is the fact that she marched with her fascist father through Lafayette Park to St. John’s Episcopal Church. Leading the procession, whose only purpose was to take a photograph, were police and military. Trump wanted to remove the crowd and ordered the heavily armed gestapo to fire rubber bullets into the crowd, and explode tear gas canisters. This was the most egregious violation of the first amendment rights of hundreds of peaceful protesters I have witnessed in my entire life. The closest example would be the tragedy at Kent State in the 1960’s in opposition to the Vietnam War. I was appalled, greatly saddened, and angry. If I had ever considered voting for Trump, this ended on that day. He is not an American, and cannot be allowed to remain in our White House. Fascists are not welcome in my America.
Op-ed by James Turnage
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