An MSNBC panel led by guest host Michael Eric Dyson agreed that the police and justice system in America “don’t see black and brown people as full human beings.”
Anger surged in the the wake of this weekend’s tragic shooting of unarmed teenager Michael Brown by a St. Louis police officer, with some African-Americans rioting in protest. Dyson brought on MSNBC contributor and university professor James Peterson and St. Louis alderman Lewis Reed to discuss the broader cultural themes surrounding the shooting.
“The police should not be there to chastise, and therefore brutalize, young children,” Dyson charged. “They’re there to be adults.”
Peterson worried that “there’s no indication that this kind of thing is going to come to an end anytime in the near future.”
“At the core of this, you have an institution — criminal justice system and the police — who essential do not see black and brown people as full human beings,” he charged. “They do not afford them the rights of full human beings, and therefore all the interactions with them are colored, unfortunately, by that incapacity of them to see young people of color as human beings.”
“Yeah, that’s a great point,” Dyson agreed, claiming that black children “are not extended what would seem to be the fundamental basis that we use to treat other kids.”
“Treat them with respect and dignity,” he said. “Don’t assault them, don’t shoot them. If they’re doing something wrong, tap them on the back of the hands and say ‘Let me take you to your parents,’ as opposed to gunning them down in the streets.”