Circling the wagons is not new

Published 11:18 pm Friday, December 19, 2014

To the editor:

No reasonable person could have issues with much of what Michael Reagan had to say about the recent actions of police in the deaths of unarmed, black men across America. His thoughts are well-balanced and considerate of a larger picture.

As a law-abiding African-American citizen, I have total respect and appreciation for a very difficult job that law enforcement must carry out each day. Their lives are at peril in each and every interaction with those they must confront as potentially criminal.

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The truth of the matter is that we seldom have all of the real facts before we react.

However, Michael Reagan misses the target on a few points. Black people did not invent the “circling-of-the-wagons” reaction. Late 19th- and early 20th-century ethnic immigrants to America did it routinely. Whether it was Italians, Irish, Poles, or Jews in the lower east side of New York, they defended and rallied for their own.

It will continue to be that way for African-Americans until we enjoy full assimilation into this society.

Second, it is perhaps difficult for white folks to appreciate the level of racial profiling that occurs each day as law enforcement officers do their work.

The absolute real fact is this: Black folks (especially young) are stopped and confronted by police at a frequency far greater than whites. So the notion that race has nothing to do with it is out of touch with the real world.

Mr. Reagan should appreciate that each day he lives under a very different set of circumstances than black folks. Perhaps when folks realize this, real progress can be made in solving this problem. I, nonetheless, applaud him for his thoughtful words on this matter.

Lamont Adger