On one side of this discussion are those who are holding up the shooting of Michael Brown as an example of the racial inequality in this country and in the justice system in particular. On the other side of this discussion are those who see racism as a hoax to be disproved.
Mayor Bill de Blasio's vision of New York as a city that is "safe and fair" is within reach. With welcomed reforms to stop and frisk, he is on the right track. But this progressive agenda will quickly be derailed if the Mayor allows overly aggressive quality of life arrest tactics in poor communities of color to substitute for stop and frisk.
Rather than spending dollars on drones and other questionable, expensive military equipment, it is time that local law enforcement officials shift those resources toward training on how to more effectively engage their local communities, especially young people of color.
I recall visits in grammar school from "Officer Friendly." He would give us tips on how to be safe when walking to and from school. Officer Friendly told us that in an emergency, we should seek out a police officer, because their job was to serve and protect. What ever happened to Officer Friendly?
Both explicit and implicit biases lead far too often to the killing of black men in police-civilian encounters. And they undergird the daily indignity and humiliation experienced by blacks who are stopped, questioned, and searched by police when they have done nothing wrong.
Ferguson has resonated across the country, not because of the merits of this one particular interaction -- where the facts are still uncertain -- but because of other similar, but less deadly policing tactics in certain urban communities.
Has policing in New York actually changed during the first six months of Mayor Bill de Blasio's tenure? The devil may be in the details, but an initial look at the most recent statistics exposes an unforgiving truth: stop and frisk has hardly stopped.
What is predictive policing and how does it work? Predictive policing works by taking regularly recorded crime data -- location, time, and crime -- and inputting it all into sophisticated computer models that predict places of expected criminal activity.
It has taken a long time, far too long, but politicians seem finally to have realized how catastrophically expensive it is for the United States to lock up more people than any other country on the planet.
Gay rights are important and should be mandated at the utmost degree. However, recognize that they are not, nor ever will have, the same level of struggle or oppression that have plagued this country for hundreds of years.
I wish I could have expressed surprise at the Class of 2014's immature reaction to the possibility of hearing conservative opinions at their commencement addresses last month; but my own college experiences taught me otherwise.
The police can now stop you for no reason at all. Law enforcement just needs to add a sinister context to your behavior, and off you go to jail.
So what do we have here: an increased number of decisions to suppress, but fewer incidents of public displeasure with those decisions. So are times changing? Has public opinion, and thus political and judicial policy swung in the other direction?
Instead of pretending that humiliation is the cost of security, we owe it to vulnerable populations among high-crime communities to find law enforcement practices that preserve dignity and security.
Seriously, what makes one group of people OK to target and demoralize versus another batch of humans who are consuming the same amount of the same substance? That's the question.
As the Obama administration continues rallying its allies to hold Russia to its international law obligations in Ukraine, the international community had an opportunity this week to turn the magnifying glass the other way and question the U.S. government.