Bishop E.W. Jackson, an African American minister and Harvard educated lawyer has said “the greatest danger for Black men in America is not a police officer, not somebody in a blue uniform. The greatest danger for a Black man in America is another Black man.”
One can imagine that if these words were uttered by a white individual that person would immediately be labeled a racist despite the truth of the statement being unchanged. Over the past year, more than 6,000 Black individuals have lost their lives through a violent act, mostly at the hands of other Black individuals.
In her guest perspective “Accountability versus justice” in the April 23 edition of the Daily Journal, the Rev. Lorrie Owens easily rattles off the names of those lives wrongly taken by police officers. But what about those 6,000? Does she know any of those names? Aren’t those lost lives as important as those she has named? Why isn't she as irate at the loss of 6,000 as she is at the relatively few taken inappropriately by the police? There is no doubt there are bad officers in departments throughout the country and that police practices should be reviewed and revised so that all individuals receive equal treatment for similar offenses.
However, we need to be careful not to cast a negative blanket over an entire profession because of the abhorrent actions of a few. In much the same way as it is wrong to label all young Black men as criminals, it is wrong to label all police officers and departments as racist. To truly reduce the violence in our country, whether it be the ugly far right assault of the Capitol or the loss of the 6,000, we must be willing to do the harder thing, to look inward for causes and solutions, Rev. Owens is correct that we must look upon these murders and make changes — but she should not forget the 6,000.