DETROIT (1270 Talk Radio) The NAACP hosted a seminar Saturday at Cobo Center called “A Youth Survival Guide for Police Encounters,” meant to train young black people to interact with police without escalation into violence and arrest.
All 200 participants left with a wallet-size sheet with 10 tips for handling police stops.
So,was it a good idea?
Weighing on the Charlie Langton Talk Radio 1270 show was Darrell Dawsey of Deadline Detroit, a reporter and writer for Time Magazine, The Detroit News, LA Times, and Philadelphia Inquirer. And he wasn’t a fan.
“I just thought that was a little extreme, a little unnecessary,” Dawsey said, adding that police should be trained in how to deal with young people instead of the other way around.
“People aren’t dealing with the police because they’re afraid of the police,” he added.
And Dawsey questioned why the effort is aimed only at black kids.
“I think there needs to be a different approach to policing,” Dawsey said. “They don’t teach young white kids how to handle police … Police don’t shoot young white kids.”
Dawsey said future NAACP training should include holding law enforcement more responsible for their side of the equation. “Rather than telling our kids here’s a 10 point tip sheet on dealing with the police, the police need to be taught how to better deal with these young people,” he said.
There’s a misperception among the public that breakdowns in the relationship with law enforcement are the fault of black kids because they’re “wearing come shoot me clothes or making come shoot me statements,” Dawsey said.
“I lived in New York for a while, there was a big snow storm a couple of years ago,” he added. “There were white kids out there throwing snow balls at police officers. Black kids would never throw snow balls at a cop … They would be afraid of getting shot.”
Caller John questioned whether it’s a matter of race — or just culture and upbringing. “I’ve got a teen-age son who’s a musician, he’s got long hair, and raising him I told him there were going to be situation where you’ll be profiled just based on how you look,” he said. “Whenever you deal with a police officer, you great him with respect. I think white, black Latino, whatever color, there is a need for youth to know how to respect police officers.”
So if it’s not about race, would a place like Bloomfield Hills ever host a seminar like this?
“I think it would benefit all youth,” John said. “There are going to be situations they’re put in, white, black, otherwise, where they’re going to be profiled.”
Scott from Dearborn put the blame squarely back on young people — and their families, saying, “I think the biggest problem with youth, all youths, is respect … It comes down to manners. If you look at the black population, the divorce rate is much higher than Bloomfield Hills or the suburbs… They’re not guided properly, they have a breakdown of morals and values.
“They want to blame everybody else, they have to look at themselves.”
Dawsey called that a “blame the victim” mentality, adding, “To sit there and act as though you have some sort of moral high ground simply because you’re white strikes me as racist and ridiculous.”