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James Baldwin on Cops Esquire Mag 1968

From: domainremoved <Aram>
Date: Mon, 27 Apr 2015 00:44:42 -0700

Q. What would you say ought to be done to improve the relationship of the police with the black community?

BALDWIN : You would have to educate them. I really have no quarrel particularly with the policemen. I can see the trouble they're in. They're hopelessly ignorant and terribly frightened. They believe everything they see on television, as most people in this country do. They are endlessly respectable, which means to say they are Saturday-night sinners. The country has got the police force it deserves and of course if a policeman sees a black cat in what he considers a strange place he's going to stop him; and you know of course the black cat is going to get angry. And then somebody may die. But it's one of the results of the cultivation in this country of ignorance. Those cats in the Harlem street, those white cops; they are scared to death and they should be scared to death. But that's how black boys die, because the police are scared. And it's not the policemen's fault; it's the country's fault.
Received on Mon Apr 27 2015 - 00:41:04 PDT

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