Few things infuriate me more than people who automatically and wholeheartedly support a police officer who’s been caught wilding out against a person of color, because, almost without fail, someone says “Well, if s/he had simply listened to the officer, things would have been all right.”
You may as well advise people to not make eye contact, and lie down and play dead.
The argument pardons ill police behavior, and simultaneously states that civilians—Black civilians, especially—should be subservient. In other words, if don’t state that you’re tired of being harassed, then you won’t get choked out; if you don’t run away, then you won’t get shot in the back. Obey, and you’ll be OK (™).
Unfortunately, that’s the ultimate head-in-the-sand response for people who can’t, or won’t, accept that fact that there are police officers—armed people with the law on their side—who are out of control. Or, that there are Blacks who don’t deserve such treatment.
The “obey and you’ll be okay” sentiment—the cousin of respectability politics—places all the weight of the police-civilian interaction squarely on the shoulders of the person with the least power in the situation, and it doesn’t ensure safety. You can play nice and still get your rock knocked by an out-of-control police officer. I, and several of my friends, grew up knowing nightsticks, cheap shots, and thinly veiled threats. We were “good” kids, for the most part.
Only someone with a twisted sense of justice and/or immense racial issues truly believes that the amount of police force used in the various, well-documented acts of line-stepping suited the alleged crimes.
So, please, stop saying it.
Image courtesy of Vector 1.