Special to the Washington Post, by David J. Leonard, associate professor and chair of the Department of Critical Culture, Gender and Race Studies at WSU, and Stacey Patton, senior enterprise reporter for the Chronicle of Higher Education and adjunct professor of American history at American University
Every day, white America is eating up the feel-good stories of cops helping black kids.
A strange new type of story has started popping up in social media feeds and headlines lately, in between news of (yet more) unarmed black people being brutalized or shot dead by police. It’s the flip side of the #blacklivesmatter movement: “feel-good” stories of white cops hugging and doing good deeds for black women and children.
These stories almost always involve young children or women, never fully-grown black men — the very people who are disproportionately killed by cops over and over again. Filling the void of “absentee fathers,” the police are becoming, in these supposedly feel-good stories, the breadwinners, protectors and sources of stability within the lives of black women and children. But the narrative erases the role the police played in causing so many of those absences, and the celebration of cops as saviors tells us a lot about the audaciously sneaky and sometimes seductive nature of racism.
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