Police Abuse

Police Union Tries to Cast Criticism of Police as 'Blue Racism'

A desperate attempt to deflect accountability shows exactly what they think of themselves.


The New York Police Department Sergeants Benevolent Association is catching hell—deservedly so—for a YouTube video titled Blue Racism.

The union's video is exactly what its title suggests it is. It suggests that mass criticism of police behavior is akin to actual racism, judging people on the basis of wearing a blue uniform. The video quotes a part of the "I have a dream" speech by Martin Luther King Jr.—except it alters the quote so that it no longer says that King wants his children to not be judged by the "color of their skin." Their version of quote just says "color."

This video is not about trying to forge better relationships between officers and the community. It's about a police union holding itself completely blameless for any and all problems between officers and the citizenry they allegedly serve. It's a police union asking us why we are causing such a problem for them.

One hardly knows where to begin a response. The news accounts of the backlash are almost funny. The stories are relatively short, because the awfulness of the video barely needs an explanation. Even Vox sort of throws up its hands in its explainer of why blue isn't a race and what the actual source of the problems are between law enforcement and citizens, particularly actual racial minorities.

The video's "It's not us, it's you" mentality perfectly encapsulates the mindset of police unions. These unions have used their power to prevent individual officers from being held accountable for misconduct, making it much harder for police departments to get rid of bad cops. This is one of the top drivers of conflict between police and their communities.

How tone-deaf is the Sergeants Benevolent Association to this problem? At about 1:30 into the video, while the narrator complains that police are being "vilified" for their work, it shows a clip of Sgt. Hugh Barry being indicted for homicide for fatally shooting a mentally ill woman last year. (Strangely, the video mislabels the indictment as Barry's "sentencing." He has not yet even been convicted.)

That is to say, it shows a police officer being held accountable for conduct that resulted in a person's death and being held accountable in a way that respects due process and his right to a trial. And it presents this as an example of the outrageous abuses police face. Just the process of holding a police officer accountable for his behavior is wrong, according the video.

The union's president told CNN that his "goal" in calling criticism of police "racism" was to "create dialogue, to lead credible people to bring solutions to the forefront."

Here's a credible solution for you: Stop protecting bad cops from the consequences of their behavior.

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  1. Sounds like you’re anti-porcintic.

  2. I just checked out that website someone was talking about, glibertarians.

    Um. Yeah.

    1. Can someone summarize the concept of that place for me so that I do not get a headache trying to figure it out on my own?

      1. Looks like a bunch of butthurt ex-reason commenters who took their ball and made a website where they could be free of any nuisances such as anyone disagreeing with them? As in, “that Reason place was just too free for our taste”? I’ll assume it’s not a convoluted means of explaining irony to schoolchildren.

        1. Go check it out for us, please.

          1. They have a whole section on me! I’m famous!

            1. Who are you.

              1. I only need the one name. Like Cher.

        2. Looks like a bunch of butthurt ex-reason commenters…


          Every time I see you, you’re thinking about gay sex. Could we talk privately some time?

  3. Just the process of holding a police officer accountable for his behavior is wrong, according the video.

    What do you expect of people who come from a professional culture of “the process is the punishment”?

  4. “Racist” is the new “Hitler”.

    1. Well, was Hitler after the Jews as a race, or as a religion?

      1. You can research “the final solution” and find your answer.

        I can also highly recommend this movie.

        1. I second that recommendation. It’s just actors dressed up, spouting the lines from the Wannsee(?) conference where they parceled out tasks for the Holocaust. Very little dramatics, no action, and that’s what makes it so effective. Leaves you with an empty gut that people could be so callous.

          I also have to say it puts paid to the idea of German efficiency. Not only were they not all that efficient at the killing and coverup, but the entire idea never quite made sense to me. Not only do you have to invest in guards and transportation and all the support, but you are killing some of your best workers, in the middle of a war, when you need all the infrastructure support you can get. I can only make sense of it by saying it shows how deranged the Nazis were, that they thought Jews were so corrosive and contagious that it was better to impede their war effort than to let the Jews live any longer than possible. If it was mere hatred and jealousy, they’d have put the genocide on hold until the war was over.

          1. Irrational genocidal hatred sure can get in the way of a nice efficient war machine.

          2. Leaves you with an empty gut that people could be so callous.

            Just before I posted my comment to Longtobefree I deleted my statement of how I found the movie “chilling”.
            You have succinctly worded my experience.

            I am in agreement with your other points as well. When reading histories in my younger years I was frequently baffled by the behavior of would-be conquerors who, at the height of their power/were near to conquest, decided to engage upon a course of action or a series of courses that would clearly undermine their original goals.

            Millions of us are the better off for this phenomenon, and I am glad that it is so rather than that I can fathom the reason(s), despite my desire to understand.

      2. I don’t think there was a difference to Nazis. They were just …. other.

  5. Really?
    A whole organization just for the sergeants?
    In addition to the regular police union guys?
    How many sergeants are there in the NYPD anyway?

  6. “At about 1:30 into the video, while the narrator complains that police are being “vilified” for their work, it shows a clip of Sgt. Hugh Barry being indicted for homicide for fatally shooting a mentally ill woman last year.”

    my jaw literally dropped on that part, I could not believe that they would link that picture with those words.

  7. and yeah, the premise is that these people are victims of racism. Maybe look a word up sometime.

  8. (Strangely, the video mislabels…

    You spelled “lies” wrong.

  9. Sounds like the self-proclaimed blue racists are those wearing the blue.

  10. In their defense, it’s easy to be out-of-touch self-interested fucktards when you have a gun and no accountability.

    1. it’s easy to be out-of-touch self-interested fucktards when you have a no gun and no accountability.

  11. Just this morning I was thinking of a conversation I’d had with my brother many years ago when he joined the Marines about what it really means to put on the uniform. I think it applies somewhat to the cops as well – when you take that oath to serve and protect, when you’re given the most fundamental of government’s authority, you’re no longer your own man, you’re owned body and soul by the State and that’s an agreement you’ve willingly entered into. When a soldier or a cop might be called upon to lay down his life in service to the State, well it’s not really “his” life he’s laying down, it’s the State’s life. You gave them that when you put on the uniform or the badge, you’re an instrument of the State. You willingly surrendered your own morality and judgment, your own sense of good and bad and right and wrong and wise and unwise, your decision-making and decision-questioning to somebody else.*

    So fuck this “officer safety is the top priority” bullshit that allows pants-shitting cowards to shoot people if they “fear for their life” – you’re paid to take a bullet to protect the general public, that’s what you signed up for. Take the bullet and quit complaining that you didn’t know that’s what you were signing up for.

    *That’s why when there’s massive fuck-ups in a hierarchical organization, you start investigating the problem from the top, not the bottom. The guys at the bottom are just doing what they were told to do, the problem is with who told them.

  12. Screw you police unions!

    Racism is about race not job title.

  13. If hatred of someone for their race is racism, or for their sex is sexism, isn’t hatred of someone for their job… professionalism?

    1. You and your -ism(s).

  14. Stop enforcing immoral laws.

  15. It is well past time to end public-sector collective bargaining.

  16. Yeah, I really hate it when the people who pay my wages try to tell me how to do my job. Clean the slicer, Rita. Wash your hands, Rita. Don’t shoot the customers, Rita. It’s annoying.

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