A Different World

Blog | Here’s why cops in the Myrtle Beach area and elsewhere now have reason to empathize with black men

Across the country, police officers, their representatives and supporters feel the need to take to TV, radio and news pages to declare how unfair it is that all police officers now are living under a cloud because of the actions of a few and the persistent press attention being given to a handful of negative incidents.

They feel burdened by generalizations that paint them as bad guys, as dangerous, criminal even, no matter the good they contribute to society.

Black men can say: “Welcome to our world.”

The negative actions of a relative few have long been used to justify subtle and not-so-subtle fear of black men, since before the founding of the country.

People use stats to say the fear makes sense, often pointing to out-of-context stats that paint a dark picture about black men, such as black men being responsible for a disproportionate number of murders in this country.

Well, in receive months, we’ve been reminded that officers are more likely to be involved in domestic violence incidents than pro football players, and that black men - armed and unarmed - are 21 times more likely to be shot by police than white men, and that roughly 90 percent of young black men stopped during stop and frisk programs have done nothing wrong.

Related: Read more here: Police shootings in black and white


If it is unfair to use the negative actions of a relative few to stereotype police officers as violent, or even racist, why is it not also unfair to do that to black men, most of whom don’t commit crime?

In a column this week, I’ll explore this topic more and show why, even given the recent headlines, police officers are more likely to be freed from this burden than black men.