That Pesky ‘N-Word’

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Shona

McKeesport made national news this week when a Snapchat photo sent by a McKeesport police officer went viral on the internet; and not for a good reason. The offending office took a selfie in her police uniform and included the caption “I’m the law today nigga”. Here, see for yourself:

McKeesport Police Woman Snapchat photo

A cute, but stupid young woman for sure!

Given the current state of affairs, the media has generally painted this as a case of a racist cop who is blatantly waving their authority around. And the majority of the public seems to have the sentiment of ‘Good riddance racist cop’; as can be seen by the responses to the official statement from the mayor:


I fully agree with the decision to fire this woman (and she took it upon herself to resign from her other position as a police officer for Versailles Boro.). But I think she is right when she says that she is not a racist. She’s a fool; and she may even have racist tendencies (like the majority of White Americans). But what she has done represents a completely separate problem than what is currently going on in regards to racially charged police brutality.

Racism in McKeesport

McKeesport is a suburb of Pittsburgh, PA; which has been slated as on of the more racist and segregated metropolitan areas of the United States. However McKeesport is one of the areas that have a good number of Black residents; about 26% of the city’s residents are African-American — compared to 13% of Allegheny county as a whole. Black culture is pretty influential overall in McKeesport. Many, if not most, of the young White people are into Black music, date interracially, and have close friends and neighbors that are Black.

Unfortunately, this does not automatically translate to them being well-rounded and racially conscientious.

Maliciousness vs. Stupidity

While I do not personally know Ms. Adamson, judging from the area and what I personally live through day to day, I do not believe that she would have been the type of police officer to use her position to carry out injustice against Black people. Plenty of White people in that area use the word ‘nigga’ in conversation. It shows the pervasive negativity present in the area…that people of all races stoop to the lowest levels of admiring and trying to act like crime loving thugs instead of decent citizens. But of all the areas of the Pittsburgh metropolitan region, McKeesport is probably the least segregated and one of the few where you can pretty much live in any area of town, and not be singled out or feel uncomfortable as a Black person.

With that being said, there is a baseline of expectations and professionalism that comes with many professions…regardless of where you hold them. A police officer is one of them. Police officers everywhere are public servants. They are supposed to uphold a certain moral standard. And most importantly, they should know that when they where a uniform and tote that badge, they represent their respective city or municipality and need to leave personal preferences and biases aside.

Policing the Police

As I said before, I am glad that the mayor acted swiftly and relieved this woman of her duties. It’s a comfort to know that there is one less immature, thoughtless police officer running around. But in a day and age when we have incidents like what happened to Kelly Thomas going on, we need to get serious about the hiring and screening process of police officers. Our speech and how we conduct ourselves in general is a reflection of how we see ourselves and the world around us. It’s like a window into our soul. We would be smart to take heed.

Author:
Real estate professional with an MBA in Marketing ~ writer and multiculturalist.