Time For The Heavy Lifting To Begin
Gates vs. The Police...So why the continuing media-fueled drama
over a police dismissed case?
it's because both sides feel they,
or one of their
own, has been
wrongly "hurt." It's
is quite common for
human beings to rally together as
supporters when there is the
perception of a deep
wound being inflicted. Americans
historically circle the wagons, dig
in and fight it out.
get lost in positions and arguments difficult
to resolve. S
hould the President of
States have spoken out
the facts in hand?
fraternal order of police be using
their well known
closing ranks and
protecting to suggest in press
is expected from Gates and Obama?
point both sides feel wronged.
Clearly a strong
amount of bravado is at play...along
with a hefty
dose of "we are TIRED of being
treated this way"
both sides. Certainly many people
of color hope the
president will not back
standing by his close
friend. Millions of good and decent
stand up for what they think is
right largely because
what the civil rights
movement has taught all
of us to do.
It must be
said media is also fueling this
people are fired up and want to talk
media usually jump on that, pulling
out all the stops.
problem, however, is this dispute
complicated healthcare reform look
like a walk in the park.
President Truman called for
and ALL the talk about it since
then, we in 2009
are ready and willing as a society to
be done this year. Usually nothing
big or important
NEVER wants to talk seriously about
groups nationwide NEVER want to
admit to any human weakness,
racial profiling. So when the Gates
Obama's comments, this firestorm
predictable. Equally so, don't
expect any quick fix. That's
to happen. Hurt people want to be
understood. Staying quiet no longer
color and police have held back
their honest thoughts
feelings SO LONG, no quickly
organized photo op
White House can effectively
address the need on both
be fully heard. To have that
outcome, followed by a
willingness for resolution, we are
going to need
time and a
1. We must
create safe environments when people
candid and continuing dialog on both
sides of this issue.
like my Diversity in Media class at
for finding ways to make this
happen, can't be few
between anymore. All schools,
governments must find ways to value
opening these doors
positive and constructive way.
media must stop scratching the
surface of these hot issues
backing off when it gets too
challenging. It must stop being
do what the constitution calls for a
free press to do.
Investigate these issues like the
Washington Post and
Cronkite did with the
Watergate break in, not like
Hollywood. We need more air
time and printed space for
a more insightful
exchange of intelligent points of
meaningful public service sometimes
collective media willingness to aggressively compete
aggressively investigating the
history and reasons why the
touches so many nerves.
officers nationwide and people
nationwide must choose
respectfully, honestly and candidly
participate in a learning dialog,
posturing and taking predictable
stances. White people have
to be aired and heard along with all
people of color.
members of the police
fraternal orders don't always agree
racial profile training is
enough to resolve the threatening
communities. All of us must own up to our
attitudes and biases
and stop hiding
behind the predictable group
alliances and cultural
defaults. Let's trust in the goodness
on both sides of these issues
talk honestly with one another,
then allow new insights to actually
in and effect personal and
Pointing fingers and saying
mind your own business...or
and group sensitivities gets us nowhere.
apologies instead of real
communication and learning
another does nothing but raise
tensions and make yet
public firestorm highly likely at
President Obama and people of color
police officers desires to have a
more friendly, interactive
trusting public relationship.
there. Start talking. Start listening!
more responsible referees, and stop
stoking the fires for the
of ratings and economic survival.
journalists have a duty to balance
out all the citizen journalism
political commentary with more
clarity and focus on
important societal goals.
the spattering of diversity in media
places where people enable candid
and respectful interaction
how uncomfortable it gets. You CAN
have these discussions
former students tell me, walk with
something you remember
benefit you the rest of you life.
can help create safe havens like
I will be
asking the powers that be here at
San Jose State
to take lead by showcasing
what we do here in one of the most
in the nation. For decades we have
find many creative
bring this hot bottom issues into
the classroom with the
understanding by addressing them
head on and carefully,
a more inviting learning environment
for all of our
majors and professional endeavors.
Prof. Bob Rucker
School of Journalism and Mass Communications
San Jose State University