Lot of folks now are thinking that maybe the police should stop killing so many black people, but they're just dirty commies who think black people should exist. It takes a special out-of-the-box-thinking psychopath to go all topsy-turvy on Black Lives Matter: Maj. Travis Yates, with the Tulsa Police Department, believes we're not coming anywhere close to our quota of dead black people.

During a discussion with talk radio host Pat Campbell, Yates complained about all the annoying evidence showing -- in layman's terms -- that cops put a hurting on our asses.

You get this meme of, 'Blacks are shot two times, two and a half times more,' and everybody just goes, 'Oh, yeah.'

Memes are very persuasive. I especially like the one where Marilyn Monroe says, “Imperfection is beauty, madness is genius." She never actually said this, but memes are notoriously unreliable. However, statistics about police violence aren't memes. They are a troubling fact of black lives. According to studies, unarmed black men are three and a half times more likely to be shot than unarmed white men. Yates doesn't dispute the fact, though. He just has a racist explanation for it.

They're not making sense here. You have to come into contact with law enforcement for that to occur.

If a certain group is committing more crimes, more violent crimes, and law enforcement's having to come into more contact with them, that number is going to be higher. Who in the world in their right mind would think that our shootings should be right along the U.S. Census lines? That's insanity.

The black pathology argument is inherently racist, and it ignores the problem: Black people are dying. Also, like so many cops, Yates has already tried and convicted the black people the police encounter. We (should) have due process in this country, so law enforcement doesn't come in contact with "criminals" until they've been charged and had an actual trial. Too many black people are dying before that even happens.


Black communities are over policed. Cops pull over black drivers more frequently than whites. During the height of stop-and-frisk in New York, a white coworker in her clubbing days would often carry drugs in her purse -- enough to qualify for a felony if she were searched. But she never was. When I left home, I was stunned to discover how many of my white peers blithely broke laws I reflexively obeyed.

As detailed in the documentary 13, if you want to continue treating black people like slaves, even after we're “free," then you just change the word “slave" to “criminal." Once a black person has been classified as a “criminal," you can do whatever you want to us. It's often enough to just look like other “criminals" (i.e. “fit the description") or just live in the same neighborhood as “criminals" through no fault other than your own tax bracket. (This is arguably why Breonna Taylor was killed.)

It's not uncommon for members of law enforcement to use the “black pathology" argument. Yates himself blamed “fatherless homes" for over policing in black communities and he's declared the police at “war" with the people they're supposedly protecting and serving. However, Yates kicked it up at notch in this interview.

All of the research [from Roland Fryer, Heather MacDonald, and the National Academy of Sciences] says we're shooting African-Americans about 24% less than we probably ought to be, based on the crimes being committed. This isn't Travis talking ... the research is sound, but nobody's watching it

Wait, hold up, what research suggests cops should shoot black people more? It's like he's quoting stats from Klan Digest. Something is evil and twisted in Yates's mind that he can't consider it a positive that cops are managing to arrest some black people without having to shoot them.

Yates was also annoyed with all the fuss over George Floyd's brutal murder.

The officer was arrested the next day. They were prosecuted, they were fired. What are you doing? What do you mean, 'justice?' Justice at this point has been done.

I'm not sure I agree with you www.youtube.com

Derek Chauvin wasn't arrested for George Floyd's death until four days later. That was after public outcry. The other officers weren't arrested until the following week. They were only fired in the first place because a civilian -- you know, the non-cop -- filmed the murder. They otherwise would've lied about it and moved on about their lives. There's no “justice" in a world where black people need to travel with their own personal film studios.

Well, then it turned into systematic racism, systematic police brutality.

Yes, because of the systemic brutality of killing a man in broad daylight in front of witnesses and thinking you can walk away from it. Gangsters whack people with more discretion.

Yates argued that police brutality just doesn't exist. It is a big scam like the moon landing.

Because of this money, because of the marketing, because of the slick steps they've done, they've made regular Americans believe that cops are just hunting blacks down the street and killing them. It is so mind-boggling to me, that it is so over-the-top. It's not happening, but everyone believes that it is happening.

Yes, we've been brainwashed by the sickening videos of cops killing black people who've committed no crimes or even had a trial for that broken tail light or possession of a toy gun. We don't need “slick steps" or the marketing budget of a Marvel movie to prove that police brutality exists. Yates does a fine job all by himself.

John Oliver's team did actual research into the history of American policing. Yates won't watch, but you should.

Police: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (HBO) www.youtube.com

[Public Radio Tulsa / JoeMyGod]

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Stephen Robinson

Stephen Robinson is a writer and social kibbitzer based in Portland, Oregon. He's on the board of the Portland Playhouse theater and writes for the immersive theater Cafe Nordo in Seattle. Tickets are on sale now for his latest Nordo collaboration, "Curiouser and Curiouser," an adaptation of "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland" and "Through the Looking Glass." It promises to feel like an actual evening with SER (for good or for ill).

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