Wednesday, September 01, 2010
Black Preachers As The Wedge Between The Individual And The Criminal Justice System?
In the NPR "Tell Me More" conversation at the link above the argument is made that community pastors should ride with police officers that patrol the community for the purposes of allowing the pastors to engage with the people, hoping to temper down some of the conflict between the community and the police.
I have to admit that this interview forced me to look past some of the statements and perspectives that troubled me and instead focus upon the essence of the initiative. As such - I have called for some entity that stands between the individual in our community and the criminal justice enterprise. This community focused wedge should have engaged the individual a long time before the person falls into a lifestyle that triggers the interests of the police.
I have to also note that such an idea cannot coexist with those that claim a grand conspiracy to incarcerate Black people. If this claim is true then there is nothing that these pastors can do to stop those who "profit" off of the locked up Black man from ensnaring them into their clutches.
I also note that by focusing upon this conspiracy theory those who drive this view will invest more of their time getting the criminal justice system to "heel" than they are prone to acknowledge that there is an organic problem with the present composition of the Black community and that more direct action needs to be applied to the human resources in need of change. There is an inherent passivity involved with the conspiracy perspective.
I also wonder how much the "BP Effect" will be seen as preachers are riding along with the "enemy" in the vision of those who are conducting actions that undercut the solace in the community. Having a pastor stepping outside of a police car might have the effect of casting the pastor as a "snitch".
A More Holistic Approach
I agree in general with the positioning of a pastor in support of the patrol of the community. It must be more than the pastors. If a community does not strongly support the idea that when one of their own does something illegal that he has committed a slight against the community itself then this entire concept will be to no avail. Community ownership is a fundamental construct in an initiative in which the people within the community collaborate together and effectively work to manicure their own community into their own liking.
The "human resource management" strategies that I continuously focus upon are necessary to have these individuals engage in the process of reform of their community as well as enforcing some measure of commitment and repetitive actions that will ultimately result in this end.