• Kenneth Elmore

    Kenneth Elmore (Wheelock’87) is Boston University’s associate provost and dean of students; he can be reached at dos@bu.edu. Profile

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There are 62 comments on POV: We Need to Talk About Race

  1. Some of the police / suspect is related to race. But a lot is related to disrespect to the law. For example the Harvard professor who was having a hard time open his house doorin Cambridge- a neighbor thought someone was trying to break in called police to report suspicious activity. (correct action). The police came and the professor said ” it is my house” police asked to see licsense( correct action ) to verify it is his. The professor says “oh you are asking me because I’m a black man?”.. Then the two ended up having beers with Obama. Rodney King did not stay down and td to. The suspect in NYC was resisting the police and unfortunately resulted death from a choke hold. If any of these just followed police orders the issue of race would never been an issue.

    1. Dave,

      It seems to me that you truly believe we live in a society in which our race simply has no bearing on how we are perceived and treated by our own neighbors and the police. The onus is on police – to de-escalate tense situations, to treat citizens with respect and kindness, to know prominent members of their communities, and to understand racial sensitivities.

      Also, I find it interesting that you don’t name Dr. Gates or Eric Garner. Either you just chose not to or you simply don’t know. Either way, that is indicative of an indifference to the two men as individuals.

      My biggest problem with your comment, however, is the flippant way in which you say that Garner’s death was “unfortunate”, as if the loss of his life was collateral damage from police officers just doing their job. Garner’s life ended. He DIED because police officers decided to escalate a situation unnecessarily and then were not held responsible for a wrongful death.

      I would do what Dean Elmore suggests here – examine where your ideas and feelings about the recent grand jury decisions and the deaths of unarmed black men come from. Be critical about your assumptions and be honest when acknowledging a worldview based on only your personal experiences without regard for the realities of people who are not like you.

      Christian

      1. Sorry,I did not remember all the names(there are so many examples-the Rodney King was one of the first because videos were “just out”).But as you notice the situation-we remember it..But would try look up the names next time to be more specific -thanks for advice.

      2. Christian,

        When you say police should “know prominent members of their communities”, are you implying that certain people should get special treatment? Because I think the point of all of the discussion is that everyone should be treated equally by law enforcement. If the mayor is trying to open a door to a house that isn’t his, someone should still call the police and he should still be questioned.

        As for the Garner situation, he escalated that by becoming aggressive and resisting arrest rather than just putting his hands behind his back and fighting the charge in court. The police were very calm with him at first, until be became agitated. Do you expect them to simply leave and forget about it at that point because he got upset with them? That wouldn’t be a very productive police force…

    2. Dave,

      To think that race has little to no bearing in the way people are perceived and treated by those around them is extremely misinformed. You’re ignoring the fact that Eric Garner is dead as a result of excessive police force (chokeholds were banned in the state of New York in 1993), and viewing it as simply an inevitable casualty. In regards to the case of Harvard Professor, Henry Louis Gates, you seem to have conveniently overlooked the fact that Dr. Gates was apprehended AFTER he presented police with his credentials and verified that he did in fact live there. As a black male student at BU, there are many times where I am perceived and treated a certain way based on the one thing I have absolutely no control of, my race. My first year at BU there was a series of robberies that occurred on and around campus. Black males between the ages of 16-20 wearing hooded sweatshirts was the description given regarding the identity of the suspects. I wear a hoodie around campus all the time, not because I’m engaging in suspicious behavior, but because it gets cold and it rains. The reason why many black male students on campus felt targeted after those robberies was not because they had something to hide. The reason why I would see students move further away from me as I would pass them along Commonwealth Ave. is not because of suspicious behavior on my part. The reason why a BU student was stopped and questioned by the police was not because he disrespected the law of any sort. These instances were all sadly a result of race, based on a very broad and baseline description of suspects in a robbery. So before you dismiss the fact race plays a large role in the perception of minorities in society, I implore you to examine these different instances from the lenses of those who fall victim to situations similar to these on a daily basis.

      1. I have to say, I’m not sure the example you give with the hoodie is really indicative of racial prejudice. Isn’t that just the description that was given by the robbery victims? If the perpetrator had green skin, green males in hoodies would have been stopped for questioning … had there been a descriptor that the person was 6’2″, taller men in hoodies would be the ones questioned. It’s not really a matter of race when it’s the description of a suspect. Now, you point out that race is what was noticed, but that’s just a distinguishing feature, not really that different from hair color or clothing when trying to describe a suspect. I can see an equally broad set of suspects from “white male with dark hair in a hoodie,” would you also find that to be racially driven?

    3. This post is great because it very clearly presents the point of view of someone who has never been profiled. When you say the neighbor saw the black guy and thought someone was breaking in, you say it casually and then move on. The question is why did the neighbor think someone was breaking in? Would the neighbor have automatically assumed someone was breaking in if the guy was white and not black. What we want people to understand is that there are some cops, not all, who will see a black person and automatically assume that they are dangerous without much cause, except for their skin color.

    1. Hi Dave. Perhaps you’re right. But I feel the need to back up a bit. Would the neighbor have perceived the professor as a potential burguler if he was white? Or was he racially profiled? Would the police officer have asked the professor (a man in his 50s who walks with a limp and a cane) to prove he’s not a burguler if he was white? Or was he racially profiled. Yes, he could have just complied. That might have safer. But when you know you’re being treated unfairly, when you know that once again the color of your skin has marked you a second-class citizen, and you comply despite the injustice, how then does the man salvage his self respect?

      1. I certainly would think the neighbor would report suspicious activity if the “burglar was white”(are you involved helping neighbors? I am). I also think a black officer would ask to see his license too-that’s their job. What I mentioned is a handful of the many occurrences. It happens both ways :white suspect-white officer /black suspect-white officer / white suspect-black officer /black suspect-black officer. BUT we only hear about it on NEWS if it is a white officer-black suspect!

        1. Dave,
          Since we share the same name (David), I’ve identified myself more specifically to avoid confusion. While we share the same name it appears we do not share the same viewpoint, and likely not the same life experience. As I read your response Christian’s comments on your initial post echo in my head. I quote him here because I don’t think I could find words to express it better.

          “It seems to me that you truly believe we live in a society in which our race simply has no bearing on how we are perceived and treated by our own neighbors and the police. The onus is on police – to de-escalate tense situations, to treat citizens with respect and kindness, to know prominent members of their communities, and to understand racial sensitivities.”

          It seemed curious to me that you chose not to address this element in your response to him, particularly as it was his primary point.

          Regards…

  2. If any students seek a safe space to engage in the conversations Dean Elmore challenge us to have, come to the Howard Thurman Center for Common Ground (lower level, GSU). We will have limited programming this week so the space is open and available for our community to come together, regardless of your background or knowledge on these sensitive topics.

    1. Pedro

      I am a parent of a student at BU. Thank you for offering a safe space for those students that want to come together to engage with each other. What we do not want to see happen is what happened at Berkeley. I’m sure many parents would be concerned for the safety of our kids if demonstrations and protest were to occur.

      Everything in the piece written by Dean Elmore is valid. However, I do wish that Dean Elmore would retract “consider joining a demonstration”. We just don’t want the following to occur in Boston:

      http://www.msn.com/en-us/news/us/violent-protests-break-out-in-bekeley/vi-BBguc2p

      1. I’m proud to be associated with Boston University as the home to some of our greatest scholar-practitioners of non-violent civil disobedience to advance social justice. Dean Elmore honors the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Prof. Elie Wiesel, and Prof. Howard Zinn with his comments.

  3. Thanks, Dean Elmore. This conversation –?and accompanying action –?is long overdue. If you were waiting for an invite to join the conversation, well now you have it. Just remember that we’re at an educational institution, where opinions and debate should be grounded in facts and guided by rational thought. Those who genuinely want to participate in a productive dialogue should take some time to read up on systemic oppression, or at least be willing to learn from those who have. For those who are just as outraged as the protesters on the nightly news but feel like it’s not your place to join, please know that you are welcome and very much needed. Let your outrage lead to action and ultimately, progress.

  4. With all due respect to Dean Elmore, as this is a well-written piece and comes from the heart and personal conversations, please let’s be careful about the knee-jerk, emotionally-driven thought process that creates the cursory perception this is a racial issue. It is not. Look deeper, everyone. The bottom-line, foundational issue is parenting. And this parenting is not a racial issue – we all have shared responsibility here. Let’s raise our children to have a healthy respect for others – be it their peers (bullying), their elders (pointing a toy gun at adult strangers), and/or the brave men and women putting their lives on the line in service to our community (too many to list here). Then, the situations that have brought our country to these events of recent will not exist. Violence is never the answer. It will only beget more violence, as we are seeing. To Dean Elmore, I challenge you that talk is cheap…actions and engagement create solutions. Let’s rally the student body to make a long-term investment in the local communities rather than a one-time letter to Congress. Do you want to fix the problem, or talk about fixing the problem, because there are those out there who profit from this instability and get a lot of press exposure to rile people? Here’s the real test: ask yourself what have you done to help those who are less fortunate lately. Did you make a difference in one life? Can you put a face to your actions? If not, put down the smartphone and the laptop, step into the arena where the action is, volunteer, roll up your sleeves, get dirty, and help people. Action. Not words.

    1. Wooooow. You really are blaming Tamir Rice’s death on his parents. Wow. But the police who murder him are “the brave men and women putting their lives on the line in service to our community.” This makes me ill. This IS a racial issue. It happens every 28 hours to BLACK people. How is that not racial??? What mental loops do you have to jump through to convince yourself this isn’t racial?

      1. This 28 hour myth has no basis in fact. Most of these victims are actually armed, and many were not even shot by the police, but by security, or in armed defense by others. A 2013 “study” by the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement” is the source of the mis-information.

        1. “Police officers, security guards, or self-appointed vigilantes extrajudicially killed at least 313 African-Americans in 2012 according to a recent study. This means a black person was killed by a security officer every 28 hours. The report notes that it’s possible that the real number could be much higher.”
          We’re killed by people who make themselves judge jury and executioner. It’s not right, it’s racist, and don’t try to excuse it. Especially when I specifically talk about a 12 year old.

          1. How can you just throw these wild numbers out there? Do you honestly believe that every single one of those alleged 313 people were doing nothing wrong and a white man with a gun came and murdered them in cold blood? How about you research each case and we’ll see how many times that happened. Do you know many white men are killed by police and security guards?
            By the way, when you are reasonably in fear of serious bodily harm or death, you actually can make yourself judge, jury, and executioner otherwise the bad guy is going to do that…It’s called self-defense

          2. It’s a proven fact that black men are more likely to be killed by other black men. Look at any U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics reports. I’m sure that can be blamed on white racism somehow, though…

    2. Comments like these are what make me absolutely terrified of our society and the BU community. Talk is not cheap. Talk is what we need so people, like yourself, can be educated on these RACIAL issues and so more dialogue can be stimulated. It’s about understanding and trying to sympathize with those who are less fortunate and who have, historically, been put on a level far below that of a human being. Simply put, this is not a post-racial society. Our history continues to linger on over us today. And if you seriously think this is as superficial as a parenting issue, you are living in a delusion of your own.

    3. What have you done, Debra? Because many BU students have shown up at local PEACEFUL protests for Garner and Brown as well as having conversations regarding the injustice POC, and especially black POC, face in America. What have you done besides simplifying the issue to “lack of parenting?”

    4. Debra,

      I hate to break it to you, but the foundational issue isn’t parenting. To say that Tamir Rice’s death is a direct result of poor parenting is absolutely mind-blowing. My parents, like the majority of my peer’s parents, raised us to do all of those things that you say “solve the bottom-line, the foundational issue”. They raised us with a healthy respect for others – peers, elders, and the brave men that put their lives on the line in service to our community. However, as black parents raising black children, they had to also go the extra mile in the parenting department. Yes, they taught us to be respectful and to work hard, amongst others things in order to become an upstanding member of society. However, they also had to expose us to a very sad reality. They had to make it known to us the sad realization that regardless of how much respect we had for others, regardless of our accomplishments in society, regardless of how much opportunity we were afforded in order to compete with our white counterparts, we would inevitably fall victim to this thing called racism. These issues don’t simply stem from bad parenting, because if they did, every twelve year old child brandishing a toy gun would be gunned down by the police. But that’s not the case. These issues are, without a shadow of a doubt, racially driven. They are a result of racial inequality that stems from a historically disproportionate system that always finds minorities at the bottom of the food chain.

      Talk isn’t necessarily cheap, it’s a starting point for action; action that has been taking place around the city of Boston and around the world since these instances have occurred. From vigils on various campuses around Boston to rallying around the city in solidarity, this has become more than just lunchtime conversation. While being charitable and helping the less fortunate does make a small difference in lives of certain individuals, it doesn’t make a difference in the lives of millions of minorities who contribute to a societal system that was never designed to protect them.

    5. It’s a race issue. Plain and simple. The vast majority of black men have felt like they have been profiled by the police at one point or another in their life. They can’t all be lying. Profiling happens. It’s real. You can ignore it all you want, but it’s real.

  5. Thank you for the invitation to join the discussions and actions, Dean Elmore. As a white woman I’m never sure exactly how my words or actions regarding race relations will be received, although I’d like very much to join the political action against such atrocities as the lack of indictments against these police officers. I guess I’ve always waited for the special invitation and welcome mat to tell me what to do and say; and although I still don’t know exactly what to say, I’m gladly accepting your invitation to join.

  6. Whiteness is something we rarely examine or talk about when it comes to race. Most White Americans don’t think of their experiences as being racial – that somehow, to have a racial experience, you must not be White. On top of that, many people believe that talking about race itself is a racist exercise.

    Here’s is how most White children are taught to talk about race: a young child asks their parents about something that they see as innocuous. “Why is that man dirty?” or “I learned about slavery today in school.” Most parents, in an effort to mitigate their own anxieties around topics of race will either ask their child to not pursue the topic further or will end the conversation with a broad statement like “We’re all human beings and race doesn’t matter.” In effect, what most white children learn is to never bring up race or racism and their ignorance perpetuates itself when they are faced with people of color who then tell them that they don’t know what they’re talking about.

    But I also have a plea to my fellow Asian Americans – know your history and examine your identities within our society. We do have a history in the United States that has included internment, xenophobic laws, racism, and the use of our relative success as proof-positive of a truly meritocratic system. In a society in which we are somewhat in between white and black, we need to carve out our place and understand it. We need to also fight injustice and engage politically.

    1. I find this view to be extremely narrow and myopic. There is a wide diversity of upbringings and perspectives in the US. The attempt of grouping cultural and political understandings by race is the fundamental principle of racist extremism and bigotry. I would encourage a more open-minded approach.

      1. You may be right, but I’ve spoken to too many white students who mirror this sentiment – that they’ve been told on numerous occasions that they do not have anything to contribute to conversations about race.

        If you know of any stories of white students who were brought up by white parents and had conversations about their white identities, I’d be very much interested in learning more about that – in all honesty.

        Check out http://www.whitenessproject.org/

    2. What?! Look at what you just wrote: “Here is how most White children are taught to about race…” How do you know what “most White chidden are taught”? How, in fact, do you what children are taught by millions of different parents, under vastly differing circumstances? You state your opinion as if it were fact, no, it isn’t even an opinion, it is a wild assertion. You are being just what you’re railing against: a racist.

      1. It’s unclear how Christian Cho would know about parenting of European Amer children. But Christian consistently writes thoughtful, well-informed & considerate messages here, & since his statement reflects my experiences, I believe he is trustworthy.

  7. How can BU talk about race when BU won’t even address diversity (or lack of) on campus?! BU thinks that having Dr. King’s “papers” hidden away on campus or having Duval Patrick at graduation is “sufficient” for show. BU does not want to get its hands “dirty”.

    1. BU actually has one of the largest international student populations on campus in the US… As an international student, I feel that BU is very diverse, with various student groups and even specialty housing, which contribute to diversity.

      1. As another fellow international student I would like to point out to you that racial diversity is not the same as the international diversity you are talking about. It is not enough to recruit students (from fairly wealthier socioeconomic backgrounds across the globe) and call this diversity, when there are folks HERE within the United States that are BARELY represented at Boston University. Let us also not forget that as International Students who are able to attend BU, we come from a background that is fairly privileged. That is not the case for many people who would like to attend BU but cannot. Don’t let your PERSONAL experience blind you to the experiences of others.

        1. if you look at the comment I was referring to, it does not specify the kind of diversity, but merely its lack. Hence, I believe that it should stand corrected, as international diversity is an important component of BU’s life – a component at which BU is successful. In addition, BU also has racial diversity programs in place to combat racial inequality, but those are not as successful as they should be because you cannot disregard disparity in scores, which cannot be addressed at a single university’s level, but must be looked at through the government.

      2. BU is not very diverse. BU brings in international students of mostly the upper class, who can pay full tuition. That’s elitist, its classists. People in the 1% of their countries have often internalized (and perpetuated) similar racists practices, and/or benefitted from the exploitation of the labor of people of color, poor people, etc.

        The fact that the ONLY queer resource center on campus is hidden away in a basement, does not appear on a single map or brochure, and that it is entirely volunteer-run (no paid staff) should tell you BU is not so interested in the needs of the queer student community.

        But that does not even address this:

        Class of 2017 had a Black undergraduate student admission rate of 5%.

        Let that sink in.

        1. Again, when we were talking about diversity, you have to specify which kind. In a private school such as BU it is impossible to have perfect diversity because education in US is not free, and it is certainly not free in private institutions. However, that said BU is doing a great job by being very internationally diverse. Contrary to what you are saying, there are international kids on merit scholarships here. Granted, not many, but still a significant number. There are problems, of course, but I would say that BU is doing one great of a job with its ISSO, African American Student Organization, LGBTQ group in GSU, and international groups of Kazakh, Japanese, Chinese, Indian, Russian students etc. etc. The resources are out there for those who seek them.

        2. BU’s “commitment” to diversity is strategic. Hyping the ML King collection & his time here; recruiting globally, but mostly among wealthy sectors of other societies; & the routine official statements beginning (e.g.) “Boston University is committed to …” They all suggest an instrumentalist approach to diversity more than genuine commitment. The long history of the administration’s homophobia is reconfirmed by Sonia’s observation. Finally, of all universities in Boston, only BU refused to have its president appear in person for the City Council’s hearings. Say what you will about the CC, such disrespect indicates a lack of true commitment.

  8. Some people commenting will do some serious acrobatics to excuse and justify the actions of white police officers who killed black men and boys eventhough Daniel Pantaleo used an ILLEGAL chokehold on Eric Garner, the Cleveland officers pretty much shot Tamir Rice on sight without so much as a warning, and so on and so forth.

    Yet the murder of these black men and boys are simplified to them being nothing more than a “thug” or a “product of irresponsible parenting” or “gangsters with no respect for the law.”

    Keep saying this isn’t about race though.

    1. Jane, the chokehold is NOT illegal in the State of New York. It is against New York Police policy. How do you charge someone for a violation of policy? You could fire him but not charge him. Please note that there is 7 minutes of video prior to the take down while the officers try and talk him into going with them. The supervising officer on the scene was a black woman. Where is the racism in that? Please keep in mind that if both of these fellas didn’t resist arrest they would still be alive.

      1. By “both of these fellas” are you talking about the 12 year old who was shot on sight??? And the least you could charge him with is manslaughter or endangerment.

      2. Use of a chokehold that leads to homicide is a more serious matter than simply violating city policy. That policy violation led to a wrongful death, something recognized almost everywhere except by the Staten Island grand jury.

        Like Michael Brown, Eric Garner has fewer rights that the proverbial ham sandwich that GJs will always indict.

  9. Dear Dean Elmore,

    I find this essay an insult. I understand that you might be trying to reach out to the broader BU community that is very white and ignorant of racial issues, and so your discourse needs to be understandable and appealing to them, apparently. The death of black men in the hands of police officers is not an “event” is an action perpetrated by someone, the police officer, in a situation of power, upon somebody, (insert name of black unarmed man). Calling it an event draws attention away from the perpetrator and makes the reader feel like “something happened” instead of “somebody did something”.

    Also, we need to talk about race, you say, but only in two occasions do you directly mention it: the “myths of color” you say and then call your “white sistren and brethren”. In fact, if a student 5 years from now was trying to put together an essay of the response at BU to the killing of these two men – among many others-, it is very hard that they’d come across this thing you have written.

    Finally, “the current events are not simply about indictments and body cameras, but might be more about societal conditions”. I want to believe that you know for a fact that this is not about body cameras and indictments. You seem not to let go of euphemisms, it is clear to me that the societal conditions you point out to is Systemic RACISM, but it might not be so clear for the uninformed average college kid that you are trying to engage. Which means you are providing people with incomplete information. I am not a news broadcaster, you might say. No you are not,but you are the dean of students and have the responsibility to guide and help students. I do not want you in the student frontline, as that is not your place, but you are part of the racist BU administration and have the responsibility to speak for it.

    What you have just done is a act of misinformation, and you have let me down as a dean of students. You will not indict me for speaking, but the sole fact that you would dare to say that, almost jokingly, makes it even worse.

    1. WOW

      The dean’s job is not to tell people what to think. It is to encourage people to think for themselves. Even if you are right about your opinions, all it would accomplish for him to state everything that way is to make the people who agree feel good, and the people who disagree to turn away. Oh, and it would create more people like you, that wouldn’t be good either.

  10. Kenn,

    I too have spent several days in crowds, rooms, bars, etc. often beside you listening and talking about these issues. Today, I am confused, exhausted, cautiously optimistic, but mostly scared – afraid to say the wrong thing, do the wrong thing, get too involved, ignore too much, so I often just shut down. Obviously, I too have work to do.

    My life has been privileged; insulated from many of our societies deepest issues – I’ve always had food on my table, access to quality education, lived in a safe neighborhood, enjoyed the comfort of merely going through my day without fear of bias or prejudice. Of course, I want the same for every person in society, and at times, I’d like to pretend it is possible without disrupting my pleasant journey – it’s not.

    As our Dean, I’m so proud of the work you do in reminding us all how important it is to question not only what it right and wrong, but also challenge us to dig deeper, reflect, and see how we, as individuals and as a collective, can be part of the solution. As my friend, thank you – you have made me a better person by just being in my life. You are a good man.

    As you suggest, I will take time to think and do my thing. In the meantime, I appreciate your words and invitation to join the conversation – I’m in. I will look for my place in this conversation and an action that feels right to me. As always, your guidance and advice is welcome.

    John

  11. Indeed, conversations about race, in our communities and in our country, are long overdue. So, I add my thanks to Dean Elmore for bringing this forward. In fact, this conversation is so overdue that there is a lot to talk about. One aspect I think is worth exploration is the question of why so many white folks are so uncommfotable talking about race and so reluctant to attribute all but the most overt expressions of racism to race. For example, note the volume of attention paid to the overtly racist comments of the owner of the LA Clippers earlier this year. This sort of thing is despicable, but very low hanging fruit and has little to do with the pervasive vestiges of institutional and systemic forms of racism that feed the achievement gap, persistent poverty, mass incarceration and a host of other problems. Why are white folks so eager to condemn the overt racism and so blind to the systemic racism baked into our institutions, from mandatory sentencing disparities to voter suppression to unequal access to health care, etc.; all of which get reasoned away by virtue of non-racial proxies for race and sold to the electorate with racially coded language. My experience tells me that white guilt cloggs the arteries of our national conversation on race. I believe that as a community – black & white – we need to move beyond iwhite guilt before our conversation on race can gain real traction.

  12. I take points with many of the comments. I do agree that conversations about race are much needed and as a mother of young boys, I believe these conversations need to start early. I try to teach them respect for themselves as well other people, no matter what their color. I know it is not easy to have these conversations because it makes us feel uncomfortable but we must. I believe talking about the issues is much better than sweeping it under the rug Thank you Dean Elmore for your advice and guidance.

  13. Wow, I’m surprised that so many respondents were willing to blame the victims (or their parents) for their deaths and also willing to give carte blanche approval to law enforcement to act any way they wanted. Granted, while some of the unfortunate men who have been killed lately by police officers may not fit everyone’s definition of “upstanding citizen”, did they really deserve to die??!!
    For the crime of selling loose cigarettes, Eric Garner was treated like road kill and left to die on a sidewalk as public servants callously stood by. Noone deserves that. Put yourselves in the shoes of any one of these victims, or their families..how would you feel? It is an unfortunate fact that racism is still a pervasive fact of American life. People of color or obviously non-Caucasian ethnicity are either overlooked by the majority or looked at too carefully when something goes wrong. We all, regardless of our race, ethnicity, age, gender, religion, socioeconomic status, orientation, need to see each person on their own merits. Yes there are bad people among us, but that “badness” crosses all lines just as goodness comes in all colors, etc.
    Finally, to castigate Dean Elmore for his choice of vocabulary in his post is counterproductive. He seems to be trying to achieve a neutrality that is admirable in one who has experienced racism. I appreciate the opportunity to weigh in on this complex and troubling issue.

  14. It’s incredibly frustrating and disappointing to see people take an opportunity to talk about what is clearly the latest example of the excessive power held by police in America, and make it into another useless exercise in navel-gazing Oppression Olympics culture war bullshit that accomplishes next to nothing.

    It’s the POLICE that need to be confronted about this issue, not a bunch of left leaning college kids that have already written countless essays about race relations for well over half a century.

  15. I’m not sure if my point was understood correctly. I applaud Dean Elmore to encourage us meet and discuss issues.
    I am hoping that also discussed is how and why suspects fight/ resist/ become non complying to law enforcement. To not comply causes problems. Are we as kids taught to obey law enforcement. If they have not been taught this BIG mistake! Perhaps teach chores early age in schools?? If the police say something or ask to see your license – why resist? Comply and then talk it out in court. No one gets hurt. This applies to all humans of all races and cultures.

  16. This is an absolute farce. Ken Elmore is trying to instruct the BU community that we need to engage in a dialogue about the use of police violence? What about the time 50 students two years ago were peacefully seated in the very large lobby to President Brown’s office and demanded a meeting with Brown in order to address the urgent need for gender neutral housing on campus. Instead of engaging with the students in any constructive way, Ken Elmore showed up within half an hour with approximately one dozen police officers with batons and flex cuffs while threatening to suspend all students seated in the lobby for their entire finals. You can’t throw stones in a glass house. A good half of those students were students of color. Almost all of the students were LGBT. The issues cannot be separated. It is a absolutely shameful that with one hand Ken Elmore will write an article like this while at the same time with another hand threaten students with police violence in otherwise peaceful settings.

  17. Time to end this discussion. Things had been gradually improving among races since the sixties. and then suddenly in the last few years we see a total implosion, as reported in the press, and investigated by the feds, and organized against by the professional victim.

    Even Alinsky would be complaining what a drag this has become.

    Yes, we’ve had our “Dreamer’s” and the “War on women”, Homosexual marriage, the Koch Brothers, Bitter Clinger’s, Romney’s war on dogs….. Anything to keep your mind off of what a terrific success this administration has truly become.

  18. What needs to happen is a more inclusive conversation. Conversations are happening in places like the HTC but it′s the same people having the same conversation every time. I know-I′m there. What′s important is to engage people who think they don′t have a reason to be involved. But we all do.

  19. I am extremely impressed with the breadth of the comments posted here. They are all enlightening and add to my personal understanding of how Americans are approaching the problem of racial discrimination. All I can speak for myself is that everyday I will earnestly seek to be a better, more compassionate and gentle person that will support every race without bias.

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