Memphis cops' violence and the problem of culture

Two of the smartest and most insightful commentators today, both of whom happen to be black, have spoken words of great wisdom about the outrageous behavior of the Memphis cops who beat to death Tyre Nichols.  Both men cite culture, though one, former Detroit police chief James Craig, points to the culture of the Memphis P.D. and the local culture of the "Scorpion" unit — one that deals with the worst street crime.  The other, Jason Whitlock, points to the broader black culture.

Speaking to Tucker Carlson, Chief Craig (who kept the peace in Detroit while Minneapolis and other cities were burning after the death in custody of George Floyd) spoke of Antifa and other subjects, while criticizing the behavior of the cops — not just the ones who beat on Tyre Nichols, but the ones who stood by and did nothing to stop them and nothing to aid Nichols after his injuries.  Wait for the last minute of the video below to see his remarks on the culture of the Memphis Police Department and of the Scorpion unit.

Organizational culture is a powerful force shaping and regulating behavior.  It fills in the details of the rules and regulations that formally exist and creates a sense of what members of the organization "ought" to do.  What their internal mental guide tells them is appropriate.  It is usually shaped by the behavior of others that they observe, and then see rewarded or punished.  It emerges over time and becomes unconscious.

Also speaking to Tucker on the same broadcast, Jason Whitlock, whom I deeply admire for his genuine wisdom, had the courage to raise the issues relating to black culture.  Via Mediaite:

There is a racial element. And this is a story about young Black men and their inability to treat each other in a humane way. Everybody involved in this on the street level was either 24 to 32 years old. Everybody. It was a group of young Black men, five-on-one. Looked like gang violence to me.

It looked like what young Black men do when they're supervised by a single Black woman. And that's what they got going on in the Memphis Police Department. They've elected some, or put some Black woman in charge of the police force, and we are getting the same kind of chaos and disunity and violence that we see in a lot of these cities run by single mothers.

If we want to discuss the breakdown of family that leads to disrespect for authority that causes you to resist the police and run from the police and not comply with the police, because you resist authority at all times, because there was no male authority in your home, let's have that discussion.

He's wrong, apparently, about the marital status of the Memphis chief of police (for whom James Craig had words of admiration), but to me, his critique of the culture of fatherless young black males sounded spot on.  I am certain that observation would get me branded a racist in some quarters, but accusations of racism are now so common and misapplied that I don't care.

Photo credit: Grabien video screen grab (cropped).

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