God vs. gangs, or ‘deracializing’ law enforcement
By Eugene F. Rivers 3d
As we stand on the shores of a new millennium, the faith communities in the inner city, and in particular the churches, are the primary institution that stands between where we are today and virtual apartheid in the next 10 or 15 years. There is a growing body of research that we will have a 26- to 27-percent increase in the number of 15- to 19-year-olds by the year 2005. While demography is not destiny, what is true is that demography minus resources can be a problem.
In our inner cities in particular, we confront the challenge of engaging in new ways of partnering that can deracialize law enforcement. The challenge that confronts this country is to avert its descent into virtual apartheid. How do the most representative institutions of the communities, which are most adversely affected by a downturn in the economics, post-welfare reform reality and crime, mobilize themselves so that they do not bear the brunt of uncreative, unprogressive forms of law enforcement? It is the black churches that are key to any effective strategy to deracialize law enforcement, to lift the factor of race, which is the primary factor polarizing our conceptions of law enforcement and criminal justice...