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Redefining Racism Boston Police Officer Style


Justin Barrett is the thirty six year old Boston police officer who was put on administrative leave, pending a termination hearing, for sending an email anonymously to the Boston Globe in which he referred to Harvard Professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr. as a banana eating jungle monkey.  According to an article in the Boston Globe, Mr. Barrett wrote the email containing the racist reference in reaction to all the media coverage of Mr. Gates’s arrest by Cambridge police officer James Crowley.  Boston Police Commissioner Edward F. Davis immediately stripped Mr. Barrett of his gun and badge, and scheduled a disciplinary hearing where Mr. Barrett will receive legal representation from the police officer’s union.  Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino called Mr. Barrett a cancer and said he is gone from the Boston police force.

In an interview that WCVB-TV, Mr. Barrett says he is only guilty of using a poor choice of words and that he did not mean to offend anyone.  Mr. Barrett went on to say that the words he used were to characterize Mr. Gates’ behavior and not to describe him as a person and didn’t mean anything in a racist kind of way.  Mr. Barrett claims he treats everyone with dignity and respect.  We are supposed to believe that Mr. Barrett didn’t mean anything derogatory and it was just a coincidence that he used a widespread racist term for black people.  We are supposed to believe that Mr. Barrett would use terms like jungle monkey on people regardless of color and it’s just another unfortunate circumstance that he was caught using it on Mr. Gates, a black man.

In typical caught red handed committing acts of racism but deny being a racist fashion, despite everything we have seen and read about this saga riddled with racism, Mr. Barrett and his lawyer said they will fight all the charges.  They contend that people are trying to make this issue about race when it’s not about race.  I guess we are supposed to believe that white people get called jungle monkeys on a regular basis as well.

In a letter to union members posted on their website, police union officials denounced Mr. Barrett’s statements but asked that the facts be determined before a rush to judgment is made.  In a letter signed by top officials at the Boston Police Patrolmen’s Association, the official union’s position is that it has a duty to assure that the contractual and due process rights of each and every member are protected although it strongly denounces Mr. Barrett’s statements as being offensive and hurtful.  Making sure Mr. Barrett’s is well protected and free to make racist statements with impunity does little to keep future incidents of race based hatred from happening.

So this is just the latest chapter in the perpetual book of people coming to the defense of people who lapse into racist rants.  We will make every excuse under the sun for the white comedian who stands on stage and uses a string of racial slurs against black people for interrupting his act.  We make excuses for the white television personality who is taped using racial slurs to pressure his son to dump his black girlfriend.  We made excuses for the radio personality who uses racial slurs to degrade a group of predominantly black female athletes.  We will defend the politician who forgets he’s on camera and shamelessly uses a racial slur against the lone minority in the audience.  We will protect the bureaucrat who uses public property to distribute racist emails depicting the first black President as a spook in the dark with glowing, bulging eyes.  We will protect the cop that feels compelled to pull black people off their property for being angry.  Why not protect the cop who uses the anonymity of the internet to refer to a distinguished, black Harvard professor as a banana eating jungle monkey.  These people claim that they aren’t racist.  They just play the role of the racists in real life.

On the other side of this racist issue, we have white people painting the first black President of the United States as an angry racist against white people.  Why is the President so angry with white people?  It is because the President is guilty of being black.  But what really nailed this home for a lot of people is the fact that President Barack Obama said that the Cambridge police department behaved stupidly.  Now that’s a racist rant if I ever heard one.  Any time a black person says anything derogatory about a white person or an institution steeped in Eurocentric history it must be racist, plain and simple.

And let’s not forget the first Hispanic nominee for Supreme Court justice.  Because of one line in a speech made eight years ago Sonia Sotomayor is a racist who is looking to right the wrongs of white people despite the fact that there is no history of such a supposition.  The fact that Ms. Sotomayor, along with a couple other appeals court judges ruled against firefighters who felt entitled to promotions after taking a test with racially skewed results is not proof of some racist bend in her character.  And simply because the Supreme Court narrowly overruled her judgment in a five to four split is not proof of racism.

But what we do have proof of is a move to make reverse racism the focus on our collective conscious.  Racism towards black people is being redefined as nothing serious.  Dude was just having a bad day and that’s why he sent an email calling a black man a banana eating jungle monkey or a macaca or making the suggestion that a black man should be strung up from the nearest tree.  He may have said it but it by no means indicates a flaw in his character.  These things happen.  Now if a black man says Boston police are stupid?  That’s just what you can expect from a racist banana eating jungle monkey.

Thursday, July 30, 2009 - Posted by | African Americans, Black Community, Black Culture, Black People, Life, Racism, Thoughts


  1. Lost in many discussions are Barrett’s comments on women and police brutality.
    BPD needs to look inward, big time.

    Comment by donniemac | Friday, July 31, 2009 | Reply

  2. Had we, as a society, a bit thicker skins, we would broadcast these lunacies far and wide, with an appropriate apology to the more sensitive among us, demonstrate a little Common Sense for our fellow man, and let the fringe element drown in the laughter and public ridicule generated by their own thinking or lack thereof. Along with the right to free speech comes the right to make a public fool of oneself; and like the naked, fools have little or no influence on society. We should “Never Underestimate the Power of Laughter.”

    Comment by Reggie Greene / The Logistician | Sunday, August 2, 2009 | Reply

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