Facts about Policing in America and Our Current Trauma Over Past Discriminations

I have received many worried emails from our international network about the protests and violence here in the U.S. since the death of George Floyd. Some abroad may presume the worst about our institutions.

I have also read, more on the margins of our anguished public discussions than featured front and center by leading media outlets, a few commentators who have brought forth facts about policing in America, facts which should inform our thinking.

For example, Jason Riley, an African American, wrote in the Wall Street Journal today: “So long as blacks are committing more than half of all murders and robberies while making up only 13% of the population and so long as almost all their victims are their neighbors, their communities will draw the lion’s share of police attention. Defunding the police or making it easier to prosecute officers, will only result in more lives lost in those neighborhoods that most need protection.”

I feel an obligation from seeking to understand truth to communicate uncomfortable facts to our network internationally and so have written a short piece titled “Narrative and Reality: Racism and Policing in the United States.

As the Caux Round Table advocates in its Principles for Government and as is implied in our Principles for Business, moral judgment depends on thoughtful discourse about reality. Morality cannot be the forceful imposition on others of untruth or personal prerogative.

Two phrases have come to mind. One is the Latin fiat justicia, ruat caelum – “Let there be justice though the Heavens Fall,” which is a call to irresponsibility and dismissal of consequences to others. The other is the quip of Mme. Roland, on the way to her execution by other Jacobins during the French Revolution, said: “Oh, Liberty, what crimes are committed in thy name!”

I would be very interested in your thoughts and feedback.