OP-ED: Forget the Confederate statues for now — let’s start with putting bad cops in jail

Leonard Greene
New York Daily News (TNS)
A statue of Christopher Columbus is seen defaced on Public Square, Friday, June 12, 2020, in Wilkes-Barre, Pa. (Dave Scherbenco/The Citizens' Voice via AP)

I don’t care about Christopher Columbus right now.

I don’t care at the moment about removing old statues honoring dead Confederate generals.

I don’t care what black movies are playing on Netflix, or what folks at Amazon think are the best books to read about the African American experience.

I just want to be able to drive to the store and back and not have a cop treat me like a pinata because I have a busted taillight or because he thinks I’m cruising through the wrong neighborhood.

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I’m not impressed that New York City is planning to paint “Black Lives Matter” on a street in each of the five boroughs, or that HBO is removing “Gone With the Wind” from its streaming service.

And members of Congress wearing kente cloth don’t move my needle one bit.

I just want the cops who killed George Floyd in Minneapolis to go to jail and pay the price for callously stealing a life.

Enough with all the platitudes, the empty gestures and the Zoom guilt. Another black life was stolen by racist, cowboy cops, and no “Roots” marathon or Motown protest song playlist is going to bring him or any of the others back.

I don’t want any of that. Not right now.

Here’s what I do want. I want you to show me the same apartment that you showed the white family after you told me it was already rented.

Yeah, I know. You still do that stuff.

I want you to leave me alone and let me drink my hot chocolate in peace without calling the cops because you think I’ve been hanging out in Starbucks too long.

I want you to hire me when I’m more than qualified for the position we discussed instead of trying to convince me that the white man or woman you gave the job to was a better fit despite having only a fraction of my experience or talent.

And when you do hire me, I want you to pay me what’s right.

That’s what I want.

I don’t even need you to defund the police. I’m not even sure that’s a good idea.

I need you to stop defending the police when they put their arm around my throat or put their knee in my neck and keep me from being able to breathe.

Let’s do that. Let’s start there. Then, maybe, we can worry about the statues.

— Leonard Greene is a reporter and columnist for the New York Daily news.