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by Peter Moskos

August 11, 2016

The DOJ is wrong (2): the N-word

From Vice Magazine:
Of course, some former Baltimore cops take issue with the tone of the federal report, which cited 60 complaints of racial slurs against black people.

"The BPD is not a bunch of white officers calling blacks n****rs," said Peter Moskos, a former Baltimore cop and professor at John Jay College of Criminal Justice. "I didn't hear the word used once by a white officer. Not once. I'm not saying it's never been used, but this isn't fucking Ferguson. I suspect much of the usage they talk about is from black officers. Doesn't that matter? But the report doesn't tell us."
[Vice actually printed the whole n-word, which I still find bold. Too soon for me.] Ah, you say, but I wasn't there for long. True. Or maybe nobody used the word around me. Maybe. I hope that's the case, because if all it takes is one cop to totally change police culture, man, that is great news. No. I didn't hear white cops call people n****r because white cops don't call people n****r in Baltimore.

[Just as a reality check, I did ask one black cop if he ever heard a white cop use the word in public. He said "no." (Somewhat reluctantly, I kinda thought.)]

The report cites race in just one case. And it's white using the word; we know this because his partner filed a complaint. Good. See, even if some whites wanted to use the word (I'm sure some whites do), you don't hear white cops in Baltimore calling blacks n****r because, even if for no other reason, there are too many blacks around! Whites are a minority in the city and the police department.

Now did I hear black cop from black neighborhoods calling another blacks n*****s? Oh, did I. Is this objectionable? I don't know. Seems so to me. (And apparently it is to the citizens who filed complaints about it!) But far be it for me to white-man-splain to a black cop that his non-standard English using isn't up to my college-educated standards. But no matter where you fall on this usage issue, blacks being rude to other blacks is not a sign of systemic racism in the department.

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