Remember Rudy Giuliani, the former New York mayor who supported and expanded the controversial stop-and-frisk policy during his tenure? Well, he was invited to participate in a panel about the heightened racial tensions in Ferguson after that white cop killed an unarmed black teenager, and predictably, his comments on race angered a lot of people.
NBC Meet the Press host Chuck Todd kicked off the discussion by citing a Washington Post study that identified police forces in America that are disproportionately whiter than the neighborhoods they serve — as is the case in Ferguson. One theory is that, if those forces don’t diversify, “all of those could become future Fergusons,” said Todd. “How do you make a police force that looks like the community they serve?”
The answer to this question is nuanced and complicated, and the Post itself has reported that diversifying police forces is not, by itself, the solution to alleviating the tension between white police forces and minority communities they serve. However, that is not the debate that took place on Sunday, because Giuliani hijacked the conversation to fit his own agenda.
Instead, Giuliani wanted to talk about how “Ninety-three percent of blacks are killed by other blacks.”
“I would like to see the attention paid to that that you are paying to this, and the solutions to that,” he said.
Guiliani, it’s worth noting, did not mention the similarly high rate of white-on-white crime, which Vox recently reported is “out of control” — “a staggering 83 percent of white murder victims were killed by fellow Caucasians” in 2011.
“That’s a false equivalency that the [former] Mayor has drawn, which exacerbates tensions that are deeply embedded in American culture,” responded Georgetown professor and frequent MSNBC contributor Michael Eric Dyson. “Black people who kill black people go to jail. White people who are policemen who kill black people do not go to jail.”
Giuliani began talking over Dyson, and insisted that black-on-black crime is “the reason for the heavy police presence in the black community.”
Dyson countered with, “The police presence cannot make the distinction between those who are criminals, and those who call the police to stop the criminals.”
Things got really bad when Giuliani outright said, “If you wouldn’t be killing each other…” to Dyson, characterizing Dyson, a black man, as a criminal.
Watch the clip above and be grateful that Giuliani’s no longer the mayor of New York City.
(Photo: Gage Skidmore)