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Lets Put the Blame for Brooklyn Police Murders Where It Belongs

By       Message Rabbi Michael Lerner     Permalink
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From flickr.com/photos/48439369@N00/15971145441/: Kids Against Racism
Kids Against Racism
(image by Tim Pierce)
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The grand juries and district attorneys that failed to indict the cops who killed African Americans or failed to convict those who murdered innocent and unarmed African Americans are a central part of the causal chain in having led a demented man to the murder of two innocent policemen in Brooklyn on Saturday.

But although they are the proximate causes of this inexcusable, unethical and unjustified cop-killing, the deeper cause is the pervasive racism that permeates too many police forces and is endemic in American society and culture. Until that is addressed in a serious way, with a full-scale and coordinated attack on racism through our educational system, through our political system, through our religious systems, and through our economic systems, no one is really going to be safe in America.

Every school child needs to be fully educated to the history and manifestations of racism in the U.S., starting with education about the genocide of Native Americans, the systematic enslaving and brutalization of Africans and then the subsequent exploitation and brutalization of many other peoples of color, the system of segregation, then theoretically replaced by new laws but defacto continued by the transformation of the formerly racist slave-owning states of America and their progeny moving to all states into a force that has systematically pushed our government to policies to defund social and economic programs that tend to protect the most vulnerable in our society, of whom people of color form a disproportionate part.

The racism is not just about attitudes, it is also about the way the Republican Party explicitly uses the tropes of racism to win support and the way many Democrats have capitulated to the budget-cutting of social welfare programs that has racist results. These policies must be called for what they are--but this is not enough--not until people are taught over and over again why demeaning "the other" is not only a violation of the best in our religious and spiritual and ethical traditions, but is also against our self-interest, will we have a chance of making a dent in racism.

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So the evil and horrific act of the crazed murderer of police in Brooklyn can never be justified, but it might have a future beneficial impact if it can wake up America to the reality that its racism is not just immoral but in the longer-run it is also self-destructive of our society as a whole.

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Rabbi Michael Lerner is editor of Tikkun Magazine www.tikkun.org, chair of the interfaith and secular-humanist-welcoming Network of Spiritual Progressives www.spiritualprogressives.org, rabbi of Beyt Tikkun synagogue-without-walls in Berkeley and (more...)
 

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