Column: Police, social justice must both change

Juan Nevarez, Staff Reporter

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It has been brought to public attention that the All Lives Matter movement is a nonsense manifestation that spawned out of opposition to the Black Lives Matter movement. It is a development of anger from the fragile American that do not feel included in Black Lives Matter. Obviously all lives matter, but the All Lives Matter movement misses the mark.

Black Lives Matter was made because in this country all lives do matter, just some lives matter more than others. All Lives Matter is a diversion tactic to take away spotlight from an issue that has existed in the whole criminal justice system of unfair treatment, ranging from unfair sentences to racial profiling during traffic stops, of minorities.

The argument also comes to light that black people should be protesting black-on-black crime more than racist systems. However, you are probably misinformed about the nature of Black Lives Matter protests. Institutional racism is an issue that pervades the government from the top to the bottom as well as the people being governed.

For instance, a good amount of police departments only require a two-year degree, if that. A study conducted by Michigan State University in an article from The Free Thought Project published February 6, 2016 found an inverse correlation between educated police officers and likelihood of force used on citizens while on-duty. They also discovered that there is a significant level job dissatisfaction and low will to conduct community policing, which is a reason why we have an issue in the first place. If the community is against police officers and the police officers are not making a move to act on effective community policing, then nothing will change.

This stigma towards police officers needs to change, but the stigma on the Black Lives Matter movement needs to change as well. The thought that once police officer’s unjust actions throw shadows on all other offices is ignorant, just like the thought that because one minority commits a crime then, all of a sudden, every other minority is bad as well. This endless cycle that perpetually runs on a negative stigma needs to end with a unified, mobilized effort to fix the issues society faces.

We need to analyze the cultural tunnel vision that has developed. This starts with community development by increasing development for impoverished neighborhoods that are suffering in access to education and access to family resources. The lack of investment in these neighborhoods adds to the stigma that African-Americans are prone to crime and provides reinforcement for the treatment of minorities.

The broken windows theory from an article published from George Mason University, “Broken Windows Policing,” states that, “Disorder is not directly linked to serious crime; instead, disorder leads to increased fear and withdrawal from residents, which then allows more serious crime to move in because of decreased levels of informal social control.”

The community needs to step-up and call out the members involved in crime, just as the police officers need to call out their fellow officers of the wrongful actions being committed. Without that intervention nothing can change in the community and in the police department.

 

Juan Nevarez is a senior psychology major. He can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]