Police Union Upset Not All Books Paint Cops As Heroes, Calls For Removal Of Titles From School's Reading List

from the will-protect-cops-by-infantilizing-them dept

Nothing says summer vacation like a police union thinking it should get to decide what kids should or shouldn't be reading during their break. The Comic Book Legal Defense Fund (CBLDF) brings us the ridiculous news that the protective coating serving the thinnest skins in the public sector has feelings about teens thinking about stuff.

Community members, cops, and parents in one South Carolina school district are all pushing back against two summer reading books they believe propagate anti-police feelings. The books, The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas and All American Boys by Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely, were on a list of four titles for students taking an English 1 College Prep course. Both books mentioned have received numerous awards and accolades, including the Coretta Scott King Honor.

I wouldn't read too much into the "community members/parents" part of CBLDF's coverage. I'm sure there are some raising complaints, and they're probably the kind that find any criticism of law enforcement unwarranted. But local coverage of the controversy doesn't contain any comments from community members or parents. All it has are the assertions of the local police union boss.

President of the Fraternal Order of Police Tri-County Lodge #3, John Blackmon, says, "Whether it be through social media, whether it be through text message, whether it be phone calls, we've received an influx of tremendous outrage at the selections by this reading list."

He says in just the past two days, he has received hundreds of messages from police and community members.

We'll go ahead and accept these claims of mass complaints at face value just to keep the post moving.

The problem with the books is that neither of these two recommendations (students can pick from a list of eight books) portray police officers as they'd like to be seen, rather than as they actually are. "All American Boys" features a black teenager being assaulted by white police officer who mistakenly accuses him of shoplifting. "The Hate U Give's" protagonist sees her unarmed best friend shot and killed by a police officer. That's what bothers the union: plausible plot lines.

Blackmon says, "There are other socio-economic topics that are available and they want to focus half of their effort on negativity towards the police? That seems odd to me."

It's not half. It's one-quarter. (Reading comprehension appears to be only one of the union's problems.) But even if it were half, the union apparently believes no one should be letting teens know not all cops are heroes. And, as the CBLDF points out, one of the books complained about ("The Hate U Give") features a police officer as its "strong moral center" and a "positive role model for the main character."

Apparently, the police union would prefer teens learn how unpleasant cops can be through firsthand experience.

Blackmon says, "Freshmen, they're at the age where their interactions with law enforcement have been very minimal. They're not driving yet, they haven't been stopped for speeding, they don't have these type of interactions. This is putting in their minds, it's almost an indoctrination of distrust of police and we've got to put a stop to that."

"Forewarned is forearmed," people once said. But I guess today's teens should grow up in a bubble where every authority figure -- especially the shiny blue knights of law enforcement -- are portrayed as trustworthy, honorable, and deserving of respect.

The union's complaint only draws more attention to the books it doesn't like and allows more people to get a glimpse of the "gods among men" mentality that prevails in these organizations. Hopefully, the school won't pull the books from the recommendation list. Teens need to learn the world is far more complicated and ugly than they've been led to believe. This isn't indoctrination. It's not even remotely close to that. It's just two books with plausible plot lines on a list of eight books teens may possibly read over the summer. That they happen to feature officers acting the way officers actually act is an indictment of cops and their mentality, not some low-level brainwashing attempt by the school district. That the union views these selections as a threat speaks volumes about its childish "cops never do wrong" mindset.


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  • icon
    Anonymous Anonymous Coward (profile), 6 Jul 2018 @ 8:49am

    All kinds of crazy

    The first issue is those that will cry 'government censorship', but a union official is not 'the government'.

    Second is the premise that when 'one doth protest too much' the usual outcome is the Streisand Effect, and it is burgeoning.

    Third, does this dufus actually believe these kids live in some kind of bubble where they don't hear about abusive cops, on almost a daily basis, from other sources?

    Fourth, where the hell does a union official get off on commenting on a school related summer reading list? Does he have a child in school? If he does, then he has the right to tell his child which books to NOT read, but others? Now it is certainly his right to comment, the 1st Amendment allows that, but to use his 'official' position as the head of a police union to 'strengthen' his position?

    Fifth, one wonders about all those messages received by a union official? If the public has problems with the school issued reading list, wouldn't they contact the school? That the (supposedly) contacted a police union official smells very fishy. Maybe he is taking his cue's from Ajit Pai.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      JEDIDIAH, 6 Jul 2018 @ 9:44am

      Re: All kinds of crazy

      There are all kinds of idiots that want to suppress stuff. It comes from all over. This just happens to be an example of a self serving reactionary (Cop) versus virtue signaling leftists (librarians). It's all the same nonsense.

      You at least expect this kind of stupid out of cops. Whereas you hope to expect better out of librarians.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      I.T. Guy, 6 Jul 2018 @ 10:06am

      Re: All kinds of crazy

      "union official is not 'the government'"
      But he is authorized to speak on behalf of the members he represents. In this case it's government employees. He is advocating censorship on behalf of Government employees. As of yet, as far as I can tell, nobody from the upper ranks in blue have come out against it.

      "features a police officer as its "strong moral center" and a "positive role model for the main character." "
      Appears the idiots didn't even read the book they are trying to censor.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 6 Jul 2018 @ 12:20pm

        Re: Re: All kinds of crazy

        Reading isn't encouraged among the rank and file officers. They don't like to hire people with IQ's too high as they can easily see through the bullshit and double standards.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 6 Jul 2018 @ 3:05pm

          Re: Re: Re: All kinds of crazy

          One could start to believe that a dislike of reading could be a positive on the job application for police. Since they are apparently excused from crimes on account of not knowing the law, they probably want to be as certain as possible that they haven't read much of it.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          SteveMB (profile), 7 Jul 2018 @ 8:43am

          Re: Re: Re: All kinds of crazy

          Reading isn't encouraged among the rank and file officers. They don't like to hire people with IQ's too high as they can easily see through the bullshit and double standards.

          Court OKs Barring High IQs for Cops

          A man whose bid to become a police officer was rejected after he scored too high on an intelligence test has lost an appeal in his federal lawsuit against the city....

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • icon
            That One Guy (profile), 7 Jul 2018 @ 6:07pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: All kinds of crazy

            Makes twisted sense. A smarter cop is more likely to know the law, and therefore have less 'good faith exception' wiggle room, along with being more likely to question their orders and/or actions rather than just do what they're told

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • icon
              The Wanderer (profile), 8 Jul 2018 @ 4:20am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: All kinds of crazy

              I think the actual rationale was something more like "someone too smart is more likely to become bored in the job, and either start breaking the rules, or quit (after expensive training) and need to be replaced".

              Although, in the real world, the "more likely to question rules/orders" analysis is almost certainly also a factor.

              (I do doubt that the "plausibility of good faith exception" angle was considered, at least consciously.)

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

              • identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 11 Jul 2018 @ 9:48pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: All kinds of crazy

                All things considered... that is pretty fucking dumb rationale. They're essentially claiming that police work is routine to the point where they can't afford to have any thinking muscles on the job. So if that's the case, why is the training that expensive if you literally have to turn away people whose prior education and other qualifications would typically put them in such a position?

                Also, someone smart might actually realize that, you know, that gun is actually a smartphone or a WiiMote. Or maybe it doesn't make sense for the "kidnapper" to come out of the house naked with no weapons and he should probably not be shot. But fuck it, whatever gets cops their precious plausible deniability.

                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        lucidrenegade (profile), 6 Jul 2018 @ 5:52pm

        Re: Re: All kinds of crazy

        The president of the FOP could very well be a police officer himself. If he is, it would be censorship.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 6 Jul 2018 @ 9:42am

    All students must drink the Kool-Aid!

    Whether on the school lunch program or not!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    spikerman87, 6 Jul 2018 @ 9:47am

    Rambo

    Should we get rid of Rambo First Blood too? Or anything that paints any cop in any bad light?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 6 Jul 2018 @ 9:56am

    Well, I wonder how many teens will change their summer reading to those two books since the police union wants to ban them.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    NoahVail (profile), 6 Jul 2018 @ 10:04am

    Spot the influx of outrage

    "Whether it be through social media, whether it be through text message, whether it be phone calls, we've received an influx of tremendous outrage at the selections by this reading list."

    Lets play Spot the Outrage

    Here's tweets to/from the FOP Pres
    https://twitter.com/search?q=%40fopjohnb&src=typd

    Here's tweets to/from the Tri-County FOP
    https://twitter.com/search?q=%40scfop3&src=typd

    Hmm. All the outrage there seems directed AT the FOP & it's Pres. Certainly Pres Blackman isn't a bald faced liar. The community outrage must be elsewhere.

    Can anyone locate the Community Outrage on Facebook or other social media?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Christenson, 6 Jul 2018 @ 10:07am

    College Prep

    Well, it's a college prep course...so, with chance helping out, some kids that wouldn't otherwise be at risk of abuse from the men in blue will learn how things can go down and start thinking....

    Now me, I'd rather see a bit more focus on the much more common, but much less dramatic and non news-worthy ways people get shot and killed: ~20K per year suicide, ~10K per year in anger, *mostly* in drug deals. Oh, and we are up to 45K or so from overdoses.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Pixelation, 6 Jul 2018 @ 10:11am

    "They're not driving yet, they haven't been stopped for speeding, they don't have these type of interactions."

    Looks like he wants it to be a surprise. How thoughtful!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 6 Jul 2018 @ 10:24am

    "propagate anti-police feelings"

    Yeah, you know what else propagates anti-police feelings? The police being insecure censorious asshats...

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      ShadowNinja (profile), 6 Jul 2018 @ 10:49am

      Re:

      I think murdering unarmed black people and acting like oppressors with things like stop and frisk does a much better job at that then trying to censor a few books.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 9 Jul 2018 @ 8:02pm

        Re: Re:

        I think murdering unarmed black people and acting like oppressors with things like stop and frisk does a much better job at that then trying to censor a few books.

        But murdering Caucasians, Asians, Latinos and others is okay? How thoughtful of you.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          The Wanderer (profile), 10 Jul 2018 @ 5:12am

          Re: Re: Re:

          Are the people in question (a certain subset of police officers) doing that? On anywhere near the same sort of scale as the other?

          If so, your implied point might have some validity.

          If not, you're just trolling.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Chris Brand, 6 Jul 2018 @ 10:28am

    A better solution

    How about stopping your members from behaving this way (and working to get rid of those "few bad apples" so that these kind of stories are no longer plausible?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Hero, 6 Jul 2018 @ 10:53am

    Kids shouldn't read Superhero comics either, as they portray cops as unable to protect the public from Supervillains.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Iggy, 6 Jul 2018 @ 11:24am

    What a time the 90s were!

    Being a kid in the 90's, I spent a huge chunk of time in front of the TV watching The Disney Afternoon. What a time! On TV, the cops spent almost all their time fighting thugs wielding baseball bats or organized criminals or chasing after escaped convicts in striped prison outfits.

    My favorite TV show was Gargoyles where one of the main heroes was a NYC police officer struggling to make the city safe. In one episode, she gave a touching speech about how its the duty of police to "protect and server". Another episode featured an undercover operation to take down a mafia protection racket. I don't think they once showed an officer writing a parking ticket or pulling over a motorist.

    I was a fan of Batman and Superman: The Animated Series. The cops did what they could to protect the city from "super villains" and when there was something they couldn't handle, Batman or Superman would pick up the slack. The cops never seemed to have any time to stop and frisk youngsters.

    Whatever happened? Seems like the whole thing changed the moment iPhones with cameras came out and people could record videos of cops being cops.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 6 Jul 2018 @ 12:08pm

      Re: What a time the 90s were!

      >Whatever happened?

      Cars and radios allowed the police to retreat to central stations, and disconnect from the public. When they were on foot, and had a whistle to summon aid, it was important to be well connected and respected in the community, so that aid arrived, and they knew who they could trust.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Iggy, 6 Jul 2018 @ 12:40pm

        Re: Re: What a time the 90s were!

        Ha! Cops have driven around in cars and used radios way before the 90s. See the huge antenna sticking out of every municipal building? Those were there before cell phones I would guess.

        Movies have long showed "bad cops" in the south during the civil rights movement but were supposed to believe it only happened in the south and magically ended after the 60's?

        For a long time, we've heard anecdotes about racist and abusive behavior by cops. Now that cops don't have complete control of information, the new evidence corroborates it.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 6 Jul 2018 @ 12:47pm

          Re: Re: Re: What a time the 90s were!

          Maybe, but those writers grew up in an earlier age, as did the senior cops of the 90s.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          SGOR, 7 Jul 2018 @ 9:36am

          Re: Re: Re: What a time the 90s were!

          A real eye opener is how deeply in bed cops are with the Anti Defamation League and its tentacles in community policing.

          Google Ferguson Activists and mysterious suicides.....

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 6 Jul 2018 @ 12:50pm

        Re: Re: What a time the 90s were!

        When they were on foot, and had a whistle to summon aid, it was important to be well connected and respected in the community…

        The stereotypical Irish or Italian beat cop dates from an era when newly-arrived Irish and Italian immigrants held extremely high status among the well-connected and respectable community.

        Now the Pinks who beat low-class workers and striking coal-miners back in that era…

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Mr. Chu, 6 Jul 2018 @ 12:03pm

    Blackmon proves he's clueless

    Blackmon says, "There are other socio-economic topics that are available and they want to focus half of their effort on negativity towards the police? That seems odd to me."

    The mere fact Blackmon thinks this is odd shows me just how far out of touch some PD can be. Yes, he's right, there are LOTS of socio-economic topics that the school could have chosen from. The fact that they chose these subjects is a sign that it is a much bigger problem than Blackmon think it is.

    Rather than take it as a sign that there's room for PD to improve its image through action, he instead hints at some some sort low-level conspiracy on the part of the school system to sway young people's opinion about the police. Almost as if school systems are known for encouraging students to think freely and not unquestioningly follow the orders of adults in charge! (/s necessary?)

    It's odd to you because you have a vested interest in it not being true, but its common sense to everyone else.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    ECA (profile), 6 Jul 2018 @ 12:41pm

    Parts and Parcel

    Its interesting that the Laws and Rules for police are so complicated, that EVEN THEY dont know them..
    Which is funny as THAT is what they are supposed to be Taught and shown, in training..

    Part of this, is LIKE(Dont know if they are doing it) having meetings showing HOW COPS are being killed. And thats ALL they get to see. On TV, in Meetings, everyplace they look, its another cop killing.
    HOW would you feel, seeing this ALL the time?
    You become predigest, Paranoid, Scared..and the only thing you can depend on is IF THE PERSON ISNT ALIVE, THEY ARE NOT GOING TO SHOOT/stab/fight YOU..

    Not sure about this, but Why is it that we only train them to use Guns?? Where is the self defense? Where are the Psych classes?? for me to get a Job that earns $40k per year, I NEED ALLOT OF EDUCATION..

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Madd the Sane (profile), 6 Jul 2018 @ 2:17pm

    Banned Books of Boston

    I am surprised that Barbra was only brought up once. She's not even in the tags.

    Then again, it might be too early to call it the Streisand effect.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 6 Jul 2018 @ 2:37pm

    Blackmon says, "Freshmen, they're at the age where their interactions with law enforcement have been very minimal."

    Huh. And here I thought South Carolina had folks whose skin wasn't white...

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 6 Jul 2018 @ 6:34pm

    I think we found out_of_the_blue, guys!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    SGOR, 7 Jul 2018 @ 9:31am

    ADLification of speech

    Google ADL and school textbooks.

    Its an eye opener to see how deeply the Anti Defamation League is involved with school textbooks, and curriculum.

    Worse, how deeply involved American police are, taking it up the ass(and in real estate transactions) from these putzes.

    Google privately paid junkets to Israel/Gaza/Ich, Du

    Yummi, pork.

    All 13 preskinned centimeters of it.

    Hahahaha.

    The ADL eats pork, or pork eats the ADL?

    The real question is: do pigs of a feather fly together?

    www(dot)researchorganizedgangstalkung(dot)wordpress(dot)com

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    SGOR, 7 Jul 2018 @ 9:33am

    ADLification of speech

    Google ADL and school textbooks.

    Its an eye opener to see how deeply the Anti Defamation League is involved with school textbooks, and curriculum.

    Worse, how deeply involved American police are, taking it up the ass(and in real estate transactions) from these putzes.

    Google privately paid junkets to Israel/Gaza/Ich, Du

    Yummi, pork.

    All 13 preskinned centimeters of it.

    Hahahaha.

    The ADL eats pork, or pork eats the ADL?

    The real question is: do pigs of a feather fly together?

    www(dot)researchorganizedgangstalkung(dot)wordpress(dot)com

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Cowardly Lion, 8 Jul 2018 @ 12:45pm

    No

    "The real question is: do pigs of a feather fly together?"

    No. The real question is whether your police are accountable. I have to say it seems they aren't.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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