This created a need for vigilante type characters such as the protagonist from “Smoke” Easy Rawlins. These characters were good, up-standing people that wanted to see justice served. “Smoke” was written in the early sass’s but the issue of police neglect extends back much farther through the years. The media has broadcasted an almost countless number of police neglect stories and while it is possible that some of these stories have been sensationalists the fact that It seems to occur so often over such a long erred of time Is disturbing at best.
Stories range all across the board from the police performing illegal searches to simply not showing up when they are called. There is a part in “Smoke” where Easy, the main character, calls the police about a case of arson that occurred at the school he works at. Rather than getting up and actually doing something the police officer instead tells Easy that he should come down to the station the next day and file a report. When Easy tries to tell them It is an important Issue the officer simply hangs up on him.
Many crimes In Ease’s spinsterhood seem to go on unanswered by the police. While apathy isn’t a crime most of the police officers in “Smoke” are certainly guilty of it. This is reflected in many real life cases and comes about because of the mindset of most police recruits. Studies have shown that a majority of police recruits that get selected have the same values as the dominant culture. This sets the system up for corruption, police officers associate themselves with the dominant culture so there Is almost no potential for equal treatment (Abdul-Raff).
Fair treatment would require he police force to not associate with any culture, dominant or minority, because it is human nature to associate and empathic with the culture that one belongs to that would be virtually impossible. In “Smoke” rather than Easy having befriend a non- discriminating white police officer the author has Easy take his problems to the one African American police sergeant at the station. People stray towards people who they Identify with. This Identification In culture can break through all sorts of barriers such as class.
From poor to wealthy minorities police seem to discriminate regardless f how big someone’s wallet may be. Supporting the dominance of one’s culture seems to outweigh everything. “Smoke” Is set somewhere In Los Angles but discrimination and neglect can be seen all across America and even In other countries. England has had trouble with equality In ten polling AT laws, especially In London. Although many say It Tale, London police instituted a mandatory anti-racism training for its officers (Webb).
A famous comedian, George Carline, once said that there are two attributes that should be required for a police officer; intelligence and decency. Hiring someone onto the police force that needs anti-racism training may not be a wise decision especially if the police force is already experiencing race related issues. Even hiring police officers that are minorities doesn’t seem to help relive this problem. In Heathenishly, Maryland two African American officers were targeted by their own department after they spoke up about brutality and discrimination against minorities that they had witnessed (Constant).
Even police that try to make a difference in the relationship between minorities and police can be put at risk. With the police either unwilling or unable to help solve crimes in these neighborhoods members of the communities take the matters into their own hands creating characters like Easy Rawlins. On page thirty three of “Smoke” Easy talks about his involvement in helping with crimes around the neighborhood saying, “People, black people, got all kinds of difficulties, you know that.
A kid gets mixed up with the wrong crowd, a car goes missing. Calling the police, many times, Just makes something bad worse. In that kind situation I would come in and give a little push. Nothing criminal. Nothing bad. ” There are a lot of good points that Easy makes in this quote. First of all, he makes a remark about how contacting the police when something happens can sometimes complicate the situation or make it worse addressing the problem between his community and the police.
Something the officer he is speaking to seems to understand very well. Secondly, Easy talks about the “little push” he would give to help solve some of the problems. Later in the story readers discover that the “little push” can occasionally be attacking someone with a assessable bat but it seems to be more effective than the police’s apathetic approach of just taking a report. Lastly, there’s the line “Nothing criminal. Nothing bad. ” here Easy decentralized what he and anyone else like him do.
The sergeant he is talking to seems to agree with him calling Easy an “unlicensed private detective. ” In this story Ease’s semi-vigilantism is approved by the officer by calling it something else. In real life taking care of these kinds of problems within the community can cause even more trouble with the police even though it’s something they should have taken care f in the first place. Overall, this story greatly reflects the relationship between police and minority communities.