U.S. not yet in post-racial society, Dallas pastor says

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Essential question

What would it take for a society to be post-racial?


Recent police-related events in the U.S. have many Americans seeking ways to improve racial tensions throughout the country.

Two cell phone videos in the past week showed the lethal shootings of two black men, Alton Sterling in Louisiana and Philando Castile in Minnesota. Then on Thursday, five Dallas police officers were shot to death by African-American gunman Micah Johnson who said he wanted revenge on white officers.

“To see lives taken so callously and brutally — it still has broken our heart,” said Rev. Michael Waters of Dallas’s Joy Tabernacle A.M.E. Church.

Waters said more work needs to be done to improve race relations, violence and poverty. “There is something very wrong in a society when a black man is killed by an interaction with a police every 28 hours,” Waters said.

While Dallas has received praise for its community policing approach which has reduced the number of arrests and excessive use of force in the city, its poverty rate has increased by 40 percent since 2000.

Under such circumstances the situation could have degenerated after the police shootings in Louisiana and Minnesota, according to Jim Schutze, a columnist  for the Dallas Observer. Schutze points to Dallas’ effective city leadership in part for keeping the city together.

“We’ve got to be able to support our police officers and protect our civil rights at the same time,” said Mayor Mike Rollins.

Key terms

community policing — the system of assigning police officers to particular areas so that they become familiar with the local inhabitants and are ideally able to build better relationships and trust

post-racial — denoting or relating to a period or society in which racial prejudice and discrimination no longer exist



Warm up questions (before watching the video)
  1. What happened in Dallas, Texas during a protest July 7?
  2. How has social media impacted movements related to fatal police shootings of black men?
  3. What do protesters mean when they say “Black Lives Matter”?
Critical thinking questions (after watching the video)
  1. Why is Dallas unique in terms of its relationship between the police and black community?
  2. What does Jim Schutze mean when he says Dallas was “lucky” in reference to last week’s shooting?
  3. Do you agree with Rev. Michael Waters’ statement that the United States has a considerable distance to go before it can be considered post-racial?