On the morning after two police officers were shot in Ferguson, Missouri last week, Boston Herald Radio’s Tom Shattuck and Adriana Cohen blamed the irresponsible attack on President Barack Obama, and anyone who supports the Black Lives Matter movement.
“You progressive idiots, shortsighted self-aggrandizing idiots,” said Shattuck.
Listening in during my commute into work, I decided to call them and express my disgust with the divisive tone of their webcast. In doing so, I found that Shattuck held firm in his stance but was open to some conversation. Cohen, on the other hand, took offense at being called “divisive,” and so before long we were shouting at one another.
Cohen completely missed the point that I was not calling to specifically defend Michael Brown. Rather, I phoned to note that people are protesting from coast to coast because institutional racism still exists in America; for proof, one needn’t look any further than the ACLU’s findings that people of color are three times more likely to be arrested for cannabis use than are whites with comparable usage patterns. The findings are similar in research about which perps are most often convicted and jailed for marijuana offenses. This is not in dispute. These are facts.
Cohen also didn’t seem to understand that she is part of the reason for ongoing protests. The lack of acknowledgement, by her and innumerable others, of rampant institutional racism has pushed countless people toward actions from the streets to social media. People aren’t putting themselves in harm’s way because they hate America, as conservatives like Cohen often suggest. They’re demonstrating in hope that their fellow countrymen and women will acknowledge the reality of race relations and work to improve them.
Cohen wasn’t interested. Returning after the break, she insanely stated, “I don’t want to hear it about racism. Racism doesn’t still exist in America. Whites voted twice for a black President.”
Apparently, Cohen missed the viral OSU fraternity chant, the aforementioned ACLU reports, and any number of other indicators that society remains bigoted. I’m also guessing that she’s never heard from retired Chief Deputy US Marshal Matthew Fogg, who questioned superiors about their focus on minority and urban neighborhoods. In addressing how the government lacked the gusto to fight drug crimes in wealthy white neighborhoods with high usage rates, he recounts supervisors telling him, “You know, if we go out there and start messing with those folks, they know judges, they know lawyers, they know politicians. You start locking their kids up; somebody’s going to jerk our chain … They’re going to call us on it, and before you know it, they’re going to shut us down, and there goes your overtime.”
But racism doesn’t exist any more. If only saying that would make it so.