In response to the NYPD Sergeants Benevolent Association Union video called Blue Racism, as Black Law Enforcement Professionals, we are insulted and embarrassed that Union Leadership would intentionally twist meanings of words that have a long history of hate and suffering.
First, as Black Law Enforcement Professionals we recognize that Blue is not an ethnic group or race. Whether SBA President Ed Mullins will recognize it or not, the badge and blue uniform have historically been used as a tool of oppression from slavery, the civil rights era and unjust killings of Black men and the point of entry of Mass Incarceration.
Second, the meaning of racism is prejudice, discrimination, or antagonism directed against someone of a different race based on the belief that one’s own race is superior. Historically the Law Enforcement has acted as a superior entity of civil service. The culture of Law Enforcement, especially the police department, carries itself as something separate from any government function or accountability even though they are city employees.
In many cases in the Black community, law enforcement has been an occupying force with policing policies and tactics that treat Black, Brown and poor communities differently and less than white communities.
Blue Racism is a figment of SBA President Ed Mullins imagination. But racism in the NYPD and other police departments throughout the nation is an unfortunate reality for many Black Officers. Racism in the police department is so real that Black and Brown officers don’t feel protected by the union that they faithfully pay union dues to.
As Black Officers, we are always seen as Black before Blue. New York City has a long history of Black Cops in plain clothes or off-duty being shot, shot at, or killed by their White counterparts. Even with Badges around their necks in unmarked cars, Black Officers are racially profiled.
As Black Officers, we cannot forget the incident with Chief Zeigler, the highest ranking Black official at that time in NYPD, who was pulled over by white officers who didn’t believe that he was a Chief. If one of the highest-ranking black men in the police department had a problem, what does it say for the rest of the Black rank and file or the average black male on the street?
The fact of the matter is; unions like the PBA, SBA, FOP, and others fail miserably to address racism and bigotry in their perspective departments. Racism in the police departments against Black Officers is often given low priority status to the point that many Officers have to obtain their own lawyers to address issues that the unions fail to.
What Black Officers know about racism? The blue uniform is not the victim, in many cases, especially in the Black community, the blue uniform is the perpetrator of racism and bigotry event to its own Officers.
Unions have failed to address the Implicit racial biases in many police departments around the nation. There are countless studies that racial bias exists in our law enforcement departments, but our union leadership refuses to address the Black elephant in the room. Instead of being proactive in dealing with the issue of racism in our police departments they have now tried to paint the Black Elephant BLUE!