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White America's Silence on Police Brutality Is Consent


Late Tuesday, news broke that yet another unarmed American, a black man named Walter Scott, was killed by a white police officer. As with Tamir Rice, Eric Garner, and Rodney King nearly 25 years ago, the brutality was captured on video for the world to see. The New York Times put the damning evidence at the very top of its homepage and it quickly spread throughout social media networks provoking outrage, disgust, horror, grief. These reactions have come most vocally from black Americans. The silence from white activists, elected officials, public figures, and citizens has been deafening.

If you're white and have made it to this paragraph you might be thinking, or headed to the comments to write, "not all white people…" To be sure, there are white Americans active in efforts toward police reform. That population is, however, nowhere near the critical mass needed for change. Take for example New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio. He made some unprecedented comments expressing "pain and frustration" after a grand jury failed to indict the NYPD officer who choked Eric Garner to death on film. He was quickly pressured to walk back that sentiment and, without the support he needed, did exactly that.

The bottom line: The majority of white Americans believe the nation's police are doing a good job despite that work often ending in the deaths of unarmed black people.