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This “Blue Racism” Video Has Absolutely Zero Idea What Racism Looks like

Do you see the disturbing prevalence of police brutality in the United States today and recognize a systemic problem rooted in racism that needs to be addressed with policy and accountability rather than some vague notion of “love” hidden behind misapplied Martin Luther King Jr. quotes? Do you understand that the violence committed by those sworn to protect the very people they’re inflicting violence on is different from violence from those outside that position? If you answered “yes” then congrats, you know more about racism than the NYPD union Sergeants Benevolent Association who shared a video yesterday titled “Blue Racism.”

Set to a montage of vague stock footage, images of police officers smiling, and news about cops that were the victims of violence, “Blue Racism” attempts to address what the narrator perceives as growing racist sentiment towards police officers, what he calls “an even broader stereotype, through an even more racist lens.” Yes, that is the thesis of this video, that the growing bias against the United States police force has made them the true victims of racism. Yes, many parts of the video are set to a strong blue filter. No, they never mention or show anything about the many victims of police brutality (624 this year so far, if anyone’s curious).

Not to mention that the idea that “blue” overshadows any other parts of individual officers’ identities erases the complicated experiences of police officers of color, many of whom seem to be in this video for the sole purpose of deflecting accusations of racism.

The video is both laughably misguided in its stereotypical talking points and terrifying in how unequipped the speaker is to talk about racism. “Yet even in such numbers, I’m a minority as this strange form of racism continues to engulf the country,” this narrative voice declares. “Because I am blue, increasingly, I am vilified.” It’s incredibly sinister to include footage of protesters and marchers who come out at great personal risk to speak out against police brutality, and insist instead that you are the one wronged. To claim that you are a minority for a uniform that you can take off is disgusting. No, he doesn’t appear to think racism applies to anything other than people being wary of police officers. No, he doesn’t pause to mention racial profiling by police officers. No, that clip of Trump encouraging police brutality to a cheering crowd somehow didn’t make the final cut.

He then declares his commitment to service, “in spite of broad brush attacks, generalizations, and assumptions by college professors, politicians, community activists, merchants, and violence from people who I am a committed to serving.” No, he doesn’t pause to think about the statistics or research that show police bias as an institutional problem indicative of American racism. No, he doesn’t think about the broad generalizations he’s making here either about “the other side.”

The most telling part? When the narration says, “Surely we haven’t loss the ability to discern the facts from whatever might arise. Surely we haven’t loss our ability for civil discourse grounded in mutual respect,” set to this quote.

I paused the video here because it just says everything and also because I hit racist Bingo. MLK Jr. quote from the only speech our educational system taught! The implication, of course, is that MLK wanted tolerance for everyone, that “color” in this sentence applies to the “blue race,” and that he is an example of “civil discourse grounded in mutual respect.”

Hey, NYPD union Sergeants Benevolent Association? Read a history book, just one, and tell me what happened to Martin Luther King Jr. I’ll wait. Are you done? Ok, so now you realize that assassinating one of the leaders of the civil rights movement wasn’t an act of respect? Or the death threats, violence, lynchings, etc. of the civil rights movement (often by or with the help of police) means it wasn’t the hand-holding peacefulness that you’re trying to evoke? For someone trying to appeal to the “facts,” if feels like you’re not really using a lot of them here.

Did you have time to look more into his legacy? No, it’s cool I have time, go ahead. Great, now do you understand that civil disobedience isn’t civil and that if you just read one non-revisionist book you’ll realize that change wasn’t made by asking politely? And that using this quote here to condemn valid protestors and defend the police force isn’t only inaccurate, it’s kind of spitting on his entire legacy? Did you notice that when you say “mutual respect” you’re not offering any with this dismissive video and kind of just demanding uncritical loyalty and adherence to an institution that’s proved time and time again that it doesn’t care about people of color?

The description reads:

Dear Fellow NYPD Sergeant,

As you know, our city, state and nation are under severe breaking points. Never in my lifetime have I witnessed such division of all people and, yes, this division is now impacting even the members of law enforcement. I find great difficulty in believing we have lost our way.

I have had the benefit of speaking with many members of law enforcement across the nation and I can assure you the honest and well-intended members of our profession want to serve all our citizens to the best of our abilities. However, we too have become the targets of racism: Blue Racism. All racism simply has to stop!

Believe it or not, the overall silent majority of the American public does support the members of law enforcement. I believe in the absence of leadership, it is us… law enforcement who can hopefully help heal the divide that we are all facing in our nation.

Please review and share this video with everyone you know:

Ed Mullins
President, NYPD Sergeants Benevolent Association

I want to note that the loss of life and danger that police officers can face in their jobs is terrible, and nothing to celebrate. However, to call it racism is so wrong and insulting to people of color in this country. To claim that you are the victim of racism for a uniform that you can take off (you know, unlike actual skin), in order to dismiss the actual racism that’s hurting our country and perpetuated by the very people sworn to protect us, is wildly mistaken and dangerous.

(via Inverse, image: screencap)

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