When did America’s police become so soft? This isn’t to say that all police officers are cowardly; a good majority are hard-working individuals who care about and place their lives on the line for the communities they serve. However, there’s no shortage of stories these days of police operating violently out of fear and often with deadly and unjustified consequences.
The latest boogey man for the men in blue is not some black teen in a hoodie; it’s Beyoncé. Yes, the Bootylicous pop star apparently still has police shook. They are still butt-hurt over her Super Bowl halftime performance and her Formation video, which they apparently perceive as a Black Panther protest and #BlackLivesMatter demonstration rolled into one. In reality, it was an entertaining, culturally relevant and strong political statement.
Yet many cops seem to believe that Bey was calling on her infamous “Bey Hive” to take up arms against police. One Tennessee sheriff even blamed Beyoncé for a shooting outside his home and the deaths of seven law enforcers. The Miami Fraternal Order of Police is calling for a police boycott of her Formation tour, because apparently the police can decide what is an acceptable exercise of free speech. And the NYPD wants her to apologize and to publicly say that she did not advocate violence against police before they will protect her. Minister Luis Farrakhan has vowed to protect Beyoncé with the Fruit of Islam if the police refuse to do it.
Yet it’s the police who maintain a racist and bullying culture. With a rate of domestic abuse that is two to four times higher than the general population, police should be the last ones to lecture black celebrities and activists about violence.
How many times in the last year alone have we seen the men in blue operate violently out of fear? They have a strong tendency to shoot first and ask questions later. That is what happened with 12-year old Tamir Rice in Cleveland and Akai Gurley in New York. And when it happens, they never seem to fail to blame the the victims, who are no longer alive to defend themselves.
If they want to appear tough, why don’t they ever seem to fight against the corruption and brutality in their ranks? If they are so bad, why don’t they go after the thugs in their department who beat and kill black children in cold blood in the streets and give law enforcement a bad name? And why are they silent when their fellow black police officers are racially profiled and harassed by white officers? The cold reality is that many of these officers are paranoid little boys hiding who use their shield as badges of manhood.
And now, the sight of dancers in Black Panther-inspired leotards on the football field ruined their precious halftime party. However, no one outside of the Fox News bubble seems to be taking their gripe seriously. Remember that staged anti-Beyoncé protest that no one bothered to show up to?
But Beyoncé is far from being the only public figure who has been the focus of their ire. Police feelings were hurt when New York Mayor Bill de Blasio expressed his support for Black Lives Matter, and — breaking it down as only the father of a black son can do — said he instructs his son on how to conduct himself when in the presence of the police. The NYPD had a tantrum, with officers booing at the mayor and turning their backs on him in open defiance and their union chief declaring it was a “wartime police department” and insisting de Blasio had blood on his hands.
And now the cops are afraid of Beyoncé, another example of a term I’m going to call “blue fragility.” If it’s Beyoncé versus the police, I’ll vote for Beyoncé each and every time. Because sisters are strong, and many of America’s police have apparently gone soft.
Follow David A. Love on Twitter at @davidalove