FBI Director Jame Comey made a reference to Broadway and a sweeping generalization yesterday while speaking to a crowd at Georgetown University. Comey shared a “hard truth” with his audience.
“Many people in our white-majority culture have unconscious racial biases and react differently to a white face than a black face,” Comey said in a speech at Georgetown University.
“We all — white and black — carry various biases around with us.
“I am reminded of the song ‘Everyone’s a Little Bit Racist’ from the Broadway hit ‘Avenue Q.’”
Comey recited the lines that “No one’s really colorblind” and “everyone makes judgments based on race.”
Comey went on to elaborate:
“Latent biases” play out when officers are on patrol and have to make decisions, the FBI chief said.
“Two young black men on one side of the street look like so many others the officer has locked up. Two young white men on the other side of the street — even in the same clothes — do not. The officer does not make the same association about the two white guys, whether that officer is white or black . . . The officer turns toward one side of the street and not the other.”
The director switched gears slightly, praising law enforcement.
“Law enforcement is not the root cause of problems in our hardest-hit neighborhoods,” he said.
“Police officers — people of enormous courage and integrity, in the main — are in those neighborhoods, risking their lives, to protect folks from offenders who are the product of problems that will not be solved by body cameras.”
Comey also encouraged better data collection of crime statistics. “It’s ridiculous that I can’t tell you how many people were shot by the police last week, last month, last year,” Comey said.