When you see blue, run if you are black

When you see blue, run if you are black
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The American Psychological Association has just published a book, “Something Happened in Our Town,” for children ages 4 to 8 that is intended to spark discussion about racial injustice in America by focusing on the shooting of a black man by a white police officer. While purportedly written as a means to promote tolerance, the book engenders prejudice against the police. A better title for the book would be: “When You See Blue, Run If You Are Black.”  

The call for blanket recrimination against the police is reaching a dangerous and fevered pitch, which now emanates from the psychology profession. While the authors claim that the publication presents a “balanced” view because it depicts the reactions to the local shooting by a black family and a white family, both sets of parents tell their children the same message: police hate blacks and are not to be trusted.

In the book, the white mother tells her little girl that the shooting was “part of a pattern of being nice to white people and mean to black people. It’s an unfair pattern.” The little girl’s older sister decries her perceived unjust generalization, saying, “Some white people think most black men and boys are dangerous even though they are not,” and, “It wasn’t a mistake. The cops shot him because he was black.”   


Meanwhile, the black father tells his son that the policeman will not go to jail and that “you can’t always count on them [cops] to do what is right.” The black boy’s older brother takes the recrimination of police a step further, declaring, “Cops stick up for each other. And they don’t like black men.”  

Just to drive the point of white prejudice and its burden on African-Americans home, the background design of a two-page spread depicts ominous shadowy images of white master overseeing slaves working in the fields and the continent of Africa bound in chains.

The blanket distrust of law enforcement is accepted wholesale in this book. Rather than teaching tolerance, trust and understanding, the book demonizes the police with a message of “show tolerance for anyone and everyone except the police.”

What is even more shocking is that the publication includes guidelines for parent-child discussions, suggesting a video that is a heart-wrenching example of child cruelty where a father seated in a chair next to his young daughter goes through a litany of the dangers of police brutality, telling her he can never be sure he will make it back to his family in the evening. The little girl sums up the lesson her father teaches, saying: “White people hate black people.” After several overwrought, repeated examples of his fearful daily journey, the young daughter breaks out into tears and hugs her father as the segment ends.

By the time I finished watching that video I felt like calling 911 to have the father arrested for child abuse, using her as a tool to deliver his ideological screed.

The American Psychological Association should be ashamed of itself for perpetrating this false and misleading stereotype of police that defies reality. Just because they call themselves a professional association does not exempt them from relying upon facts in drawing their conclusion. According to FBI data, the number of black homicide victims in 2016 was 7,881 and the most were killed by other blacks. In 2016, the police fatally shot 233 blacks, the vast majority of whom were armed and dangerous, according to the Washington Post. The chances of that father in the video being shot by a white police officer is dwarfed by the likelihood that he would be killed by another black.

Self-righteous social justice warriors such as the authors of this book live in safe, upscale neighborhoods and do not have to suffer the consequences of their accusations. The demonization of the police exacerbates the mistrust between law enforcement and blacks living in high-crime neighborhoods who are left vulnerable and abandoned in a state of lawlessness in part because of this baseless, irresponsible narrative against police. The more the police are demonized, the less active they will be in enforcing the law; thus, more blacks will be killed by other blacks in these violence-plagued neighborhoods.

The American Psychological Association has just entered the ranks of the race hustlers. Enjoy your bounty.

Robert L. Woodson Sr. founded The Woodson Center in 1981 to help residents of low-income neighborhoods address problems of their communities. He has headed the National Urban League Department of Criminal Justice, and has been a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Foundation for Public Policy Research. Follow him on Twitter @BobWoodson.