The courage of standing up for our Police

The courage of standing up for our Police
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The courage of standing up for our Police

A student athlete at the University of Illinois stood tall and proud recently while all of her teammates and coaches took a knee during the singing of the National Anthem. That student, who I know but won’t identify, has true courage and is the symbol of what true justice is in the fight against racism and bigotry. Fighting crime is fighting racism

By Ray Hanania

A friend recently sent me a photo of a young female athlete at a basketball game at the University of Illinois standing up during the playing of the National Anthem while all of her teammates were on one knee.

Although bending one knee is being defended as a symbol of protesting against “police violence,” it really has become more than that symbolizing extremist agendas including “defunding” the police.

In the photo, this one junior is standing with her hand on her heart while her teammates and coaches all take one knee before the start of the game.

I know who the girl is, but I won’t identify her because she could easily become the target of a growing movement of fanaticism that opposes the Police.

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One student refuses to take a knee and instead stands to honor the sacrifices of the police protecting the public. Photo submitted

One student refuses to take a knee and instead stands to honor the sacrifices of the police protecting the public. Photo submitted

It used to be taking a knee or holding a fist in the air took real courage and it meant something, a gesture against the racism that does exist in our society today.

There is racism against African Americans. But I also feel there is racism against Whites and other ethnic and racial groups, too. As an Arab, I know how deeply the racism is against my own race of Middle Eastern people.

I don’t disagree with the fight against racism. I disagree with those who use racism for their own political purposes, or who believe that racism only exists in the narrow confines of one race.

I also believe that if individuals can take a knee during a sporting event that those who do not deserve to be defended and cheered. If taking a knee as a form of protest is justified and Constitutional, so should be not taking a knee.

I will always stand during the National Anthem because I believe in America and the bigger principles it represents. America is not perfect, but what country is? In fact, what country is better when it comes to minorities?

Yes America has some problems, but those problems can be addressed without rioting, looting or burning down businesses, or engaging in violent acts against people of other races.

And stereotyping which is the foundation of racism is a much broader issue that what is presented. The entire movement to defund the police is in fact based on the same form of stereotyping that those who fight racism address.

How do you blame an entire police agency or policing system for the actions of a few. Yes, some police have crossed the line. But I see those police officers being charged and prosecuted and punished.

To me, the real tragedy is to watch as individuals accused of crimes are defended and excused. Inmates on death row who have clearly been guilty of murdering innocent victims have easily rallied support to have their convictions overturned.

In Cook County, crime is no longer a crime. It is defined by the degree of criminality. Criminals are given a pass if their theft does not exceed $1,000. And it seems as though in many of the police controversies that the alleged victims were in fact criminals and known street gang members or drug users. Certainly many did not deserve to be killed, but just as certainly they don’t deserve to have their problems minimized or even excused.

In the process of defending the public from criminals, police do make mistakes. They do get things wrong, like the address of a suspect’s home. That’s a tragedy not just for the innocent homeowners who are put through a real hell during the mistaken raids but also for the police who end up in the wrong home fearing that individuals in those homes might be armed.

Those mistakes must be acknowledged and the damage to the victims addressed. But they shouldn’t be used as political campaigns or excuses to indict the entire police department.

Nothing is perfect in this world. And there are many injustices, mistakes and crimes. But it does no one any good to undermine the power of the police or to exaggerate the suffering of a victim of a police mistake in order to thwart the need for law and order.

Deal with the mistakes individually. Deal with injustice and racism not as a malady of one narrow race but as a scourge on society as a whole.

Don’t make the problems, worse. Find a way to make them better.

(Originally published in the Southwest News Newspaper Group Wednesday Dec. 23, 2020.)

Ray Hanania

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