Whoopi Goldberg, the host of ABC’s “The View,” opened today’s show (10/10/2014) by making a simple, straightforward statement. Since I never intended on quoting her, I can only hope my capsule summary of her opening remarks retains the spirit of her actual words: We have hundreds of good cops all across the country doing a good job. But there seem to be some cops who are not doing a good job.
Whoopi went on to explain that there have been a number of videos catching bad cops in action and that these cops are making it bad for good cops.
Whoopi Goldberg is one of the few celebrities who makes a concerted effort to be “fair and balanced.” She has some strong opinions, but she always expresses them in a way that you can see where she is coming from. Unlike the Wizard of Oz who was ultimately unmasked , Whoopi would, in my opinion, make a good Wizard of Oz.
If I could have a conversation with Whoopi, I would hasten to bring up a point we sometimes forget as we approach a forked road on the YBR.
There is no denying that bad cops are making big, bad headlines. Not only that, but their antics are being broadcast on television and uploaded to YouTube. Though only a small percentage of cops ever make the headlines, they are creating a tsunami of sorts that is racial by nature…and perhaps, design.
Whoopi’s remarks and the view-versation that followed reminded me of the Tolstoy line in Anna Karenina: “All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.”
Now, you might be wondering, what does that quote have to do with Whoopi’s remark about good cops/bad cops.
Now, you might be wondering, what does that quote have to do with Whoopi’s remark about good cops/bad cops. Think about it this way: All good cops are alike; each bad cop is bad in his/her own way.
To make it more relevant, think about this. When you pick up a newspaper, go to your favorite internet site for news, turn on the radio, or catch the broadcast news and what do you find? If there was an accident, there will be a story about it. But will there be any stories about the drivers who didn’t have an accident? If a cat gets stuck in a tree and is helped down, the story will find its way into print. If the cat got down on his own power…you’ll never read about it.
Get my point? Bad news sells. Good news, doesn’t. On the same day that one bad cop somewhere out there takes the law into his own hands, there are hundreds of cops stopping crimes, making legal arrests….and in short, protecting us by doing what they swore they would do when they became cops.
Unfortunately, good cop stories rarely, if ever, make headlines.
Bottom line: Bad cops make good copy. Good cops make pr, and we all hate pr because it’s so contrived.
So, when a really bad cop-story takes the nation by storm, we all join in and voice are opinions, especially if it involves a white cop and a person of color. Because such stories get so much press, we seem to forget what Whoopi said about all the good cops out there.
There is no room in any police force for a bad cop. And the law should be upheld when it has been proven…in a court of law, not the court of public opinion, that a bad cop has violated the rights of a citizen of any color.
We are at a fork in the road. Our heads are being filled with stories that seem to force us to take sides. Too many of us go blindly down one road because it fits the story we want to believe.
Let’s not forget that there are far more good cops than there are bad ones. Let’s also remember that we can never make excuses for a bad cop doing bad things.