Commentary by Matt Rowe
We must be careful in how we react to the killing of George Floyd and the subsequent rioting. Both should be condemned, and anyone proven guilty held accountable—especially police officers who violate the public’s trust.
However, we cannot support the false narrative that the police, as institutions, are inordinately targeting and killing black men. Many independent studies from universities like Harvard and Michigan State, as well as the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences and the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting, substantiate this. Multiple data collection techniques have come to very consistent conclusions.
Many community leaders seem to accept this false narrative, however, and in doing so lend credibility to it. Many, if not most people, simply react to what they hear and typically don’t validate that information. However, most community leaders do have the wherewithal to get to the truth, yet too many don’t. Take, for example, the statements in an email to all parents from Dr. Michael Beresford, superintendent of Carmel Clay Schools on June 4:
“As a 60-year-old white man, I cannot pretend to know or understand how personal the hurt and frustration must be … We cannot remain silent in the face of the suffering … racism, oppression …”
These statements are irresponsible, at best. Why? Because if you won’t face the truth and articulate it, you’ll never change it.
If racism were the real problem, Nigerian Americans wouldn’t be one of the most successful immigrant groups in the U.S. Nonetheless, Black Americans are more likely to have negative interactions with the police. According to 2018 FBI data, Black Americans, who are only 12 percent of our population committed, 27 percent of crimes, and as much as 50 percent of some violent crimes. According to a Heritage Foundation report from 1995, increasing crime closely mirrored the breakup of the American family, and as of 2018, some 72 percent of Black Americans were born to unwed mothers.
Black or white, fatherless boys, unwed teen mothers, drug addiction and the resulting lack of education and subsequent welfare dependence all destroy any chance at a life many Americans take for granted. These are the real root causes of the pain in our society, and we must stop shying away from them. No amount of change in the police will make a dent in the problem.
Matt Rowe is a U.S. Army Special Forces veteran and an independent business management consultant. He earned his MBA from the University of Notre Dame after graduating magna cum laude from Campbell University with a BS in government. He has written a feature article in The American Society for Quality’s professional journal “QP”, and has published his first novel, “White Passage: Red Sun,” loosely based upon his experience in the “drug war” in Latin America. Matt lives in Carmel with his wife and three sons.