- - Thursday, June 9, 2016

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

People die — make that, black people die — and no one seems to care. Homicide statistics continue to climb, and none of the digital ink spilled between the #BlackLivesMatter and the #AllLivesMatter Twitter crowds have made an ounce of difference.

I’ve been haunted by the racial violence since I was three, when I was walking to my preschool in the South Bronx. No, I didn’t encounter Freddie Gray, or Michael Brown, or Eric Garner — that was many years before their names became a part of the cultural conversation. But in a way, I saw all of the problems that we’re now experiencing stuffed under a car. It was a body of a young black teenager, his lids open, and I glanced — just for a second — into his sightless eyes. I wished I hadn’t. A chill ran over me. Didn’t anyone notice that he hadn’t come home? Wasn’t anyone looking out for him?

I didn’t cry out, I didn’t call the cops, I didn’t try to find an adult. This was just the way life was in the South Bronx in the 1970s, well before it had the cool hipster nickname “SoBro.” Back then, my neighborhood was full of hustlers, hookers and gang members who sold drugs instead of living on food stamps. They settled disagreements with fists, knives and guns because it seemed their only option. They chose to be mad rather than sad. The chill I felt that day when I saw the dead boy never left me. It washes over me every time a racial incident demands we take notice.

You’ll hear many theories on what’s wrong with black culture, but I agree with Martin Luther King, Jr., who said, “Freedom is the bonus you receive for telling the truth … I do not see how we will ever solve the turbulent problem of race confronting our nation until there is an honest confrontation with it and a willing search for the truth and a willingness to admit the truth when we discover it.” But that’s not the modus operandi of black activists today. Now, when racial incidents occur, we get everything but the truth.

For example, we hear that unarmed black Americans face a serious threat of being gunned down by police simply by walking out the door, that police are predators hiding their racism under their shiny badges. The narrative is so common that black mothers sit down with their kids to give them “the talk” — about how dangerous it is to have our skin color.

But this just isn’t true, and The Washington Post proved it. After a year of looking at every single police shooting in America, they learned that cops rarely use force against unarmed people and that they use force against black suspects in a way that is largely proportional to our share of violent crime. Police officers use their guns to protect innocent lives, both black and white: in an overwhelming majority of the shootings, the “police were under attack or defending someone who was.”

So how did the #BlackLivesMatter crowd respond to this eye-opening study? With remorse and a national repentance for sullying the names of police officers everywhere? Hardly. Imagine if they had. Instead of mothers sitting down with their kids and telling them to be suspicious of the police, what if they — instead — told their kids that the police are there to protect and serve them, that the cops will not hurt them if they cooperate, that police officers’ very presence has a dulling effect on crime? Remember when “hands up don’t shoot” trended on social media? Well, that turned out to be a lie, too. Michael Brown never surrendered with his hands up, and the police officer was justified in shooting him. Apparently, Brown tried to grab the officer’s gun. In the ghetto, if someone goes after another person’s gun, that means he’s threatening the man’s life. The hypocritical people so angry at this officer would’ve shot to kill in the same situation.

But imagine if black mothers told their children to obey the law and to respect cops? That might have saved Michael Brown’s life.

When I was growing up, I never, not even once, saw a police officer on my block. Times have changed, and — yes — gotten better. Even though the #BlackLivesMatter crowd won’t admit it, America is a great country for whites and blacks. But blacks continue to hold onto resentment, bitterness, and fear, partially due to the misinformation that black activists — and their “white guilt” counterparts — constantly preach.

Decades after I saw that dead teenager stuffed under the car, I still cry when I think of how his afro framed his handsome brown face. Black Americans today should appreciate what I never had growing up in the South Bronx — the presence of a strong, moral police force — because the lies that swirl around issues of race and entitlement actually harm black people. It’s past time to start telling the truth about race.

The lies are responsible for even higher body counts, and people should care when people die. Yes, even black people.

All lives matter — shame the devil and tell the truth.

Stacey Dash, an actress best known for her role as Dionne in the movie “Clueless,” is the author of “There Goes My Social Life: From Clueless to Conservative” (Regnery, 2016).

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