Most people rarely talk about the rampant false equivalencies that plague our media, because many people fall for them. Comparisons between one thing and another that sound good, but really don’t make a whole lot of sense if you just sit there and think about it.
Even with the stories such as Mike Brown and Eric Garner dominating the headlines the last couple of weeks, much of the talk in the media is how these killings “had to be” racially motivated. When the reality is, the only “evidence” anyone really has that either of these killings were “racially motivated” is because the police officers were white and the victims were black. And while I’m not denying that there could have been racial motivations behind both of these incidents, to simply jump to the conclusion that any and every incident that involves a white cop and a black male is based upon race does an injustice to actual racism.
And in the case of Eric Garner, I don’t believe at all that it was racially motivated. I’m not saying I think the cop’s behavior was justified, but Garner was being approached by officers for allegedly committing a crime he had been found guilty of committing in the past and Garner was fairly hostile and uncooperative at the time of this confrontation.
But I’m not the not the only one who doesn’t think Garner’s death is tied to racism – apparently his daughter, Erica Garner, doesn’t either. In fact, I think she hit the nail on the head about why the cop used a chokehold on her father, during an interview on CNN when she was asked by Don Lemon if she felt her father’s death was racially motivated.
“I really doubt it,” Erica said. “It was about the officer’s pride. It was about my father being 6’4″ and 350 pounds and he wants to be the top cop that brings a big man down.”
And while that might sound very simplified, I think she’s right.
Nobody is really disputing that these officers had the right to arrest Garner. He was in fact a convicted criminal suspected of committing the same crime, so I’m not sure how someone could claim this was racially motivated. Just because he happened to be African-American doesn’t negate the fact that he was a convicted criminal suspected of committing the same crime. Were officers not supposed to approach him because of his race?
But I could absolutely see some insecure, overly-macho police officer wanting to “brag” about taking down a 6’4″ 350 pound suspect. Though I still don’t think the officer meant for Garner to die. But I’m a guy and I know how stupid and immature we can sometimes be about these things. If you doubt me, go visit a local bar or restaurant such as Buffalo Wild Wings on a night that they’re showing the UFC PPV and witness how many guys there suddenly think that they’re cage fighters because they just watched a few of them on television.
While I’m sure there will still be some who dismiss her comments, I think she’s absolutely right when she said that she didn’t believe that this was about race, but instead an insecure officer who saw Garner as some kind of a “trophy” for him to take down and brag about.
Watch the interview below via CNN: