By Isaac Butler
We here at Perception were as surprised, and gratified, to hear James B. Comey, the director of the FBI discuss in frank terms the difficult relationship between law enforcement and African Americans:
In an address to students at Georgetown University, Mr. Comey said that some officers scrutinize African-Americans more closely using a mental shortcut that “becomes almost irresistible and maybe even rational by some lights” because black men are arrested at much higher rates than white men.
In speaking about racial issues at such length, Mr. Comey used his office in a way that none of his predecessors had. His remarks also went beyond what President Obama and Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. have said since an unarmed black teenager, Michael Brown, was killed by a white police officer in Ferguson, Mo., in August.
Mr. Comey said that his speech, which was well received by law enforcement officials, was motivated by his belief that the country had not “had a healthy dialogue” since the protests began in Ferguson and that he did not “want to see those important issues drift away.”
But as an organization that cares a great deal about culture’s ability to impact society, we were even more surprised to find out that Comey quoted a Broadway musical in his speech! Yes, that’s right. Comey quoted Avenue Q’s legendary song “Everyone’s A Little Bit Racist,” so we figured that’d make a perfect Video of the Day:
That said, the actual conclusion this song comes to: That we’d all get along if only people would stop taking offense at things that (generally, given the cast’s dynamics) white people say about others is not one I’m quick to support. But the general underlying idea: that we all move through this world with assumptions about people of other races, some of which are unkind, and we should go ahead and acknowledge that instead of being in denial, is an important one.