The Dig

A podcast about the politics of race, sexuality, class, and other things that matter.

Matt Cicero's "insensitivity"

 A Cleveland police officer named Matt Cicero took to his Facebook page with the following eloquence:

"Tamir rices momma just want money. Lets make the proper changes……raise your kids not to play with fake guns stupid bitch. All this media because the are notgetting what they want…… Again pleeeeze anyone who does not like what I post…..unfriendly me or block me your not worth my time"

...he has since deleted the remarks and is on paid administrative leave (also known as vacation). He was (is?) a school resource officer in the very district where Tamir attended school before the 12 year old was shot and killed.

The Cleveland Metropolitan School District has called Cicero's comments inappropriate and insensitive, but such adjectives are better suited to lighter matters. It's "inappropriate" to wear pajamas to a cocktail party. This man's words and his toxic attitude toward the families and children he is sworn to protect... these are reflective of a much larger problem. We cannot pretend that there is no relationship between such hateful rhetoric and the police brutality we see playing out in our cities. This "us versus them" mentality is as poisonous as it is pervasive. It is killing our children. 

We have a toxic police culture in this country. LeBron James sitting out a game or a few body cameras aren't going to fix this.

5 things you should stop saying. Now.

1. "I hate the PC police."

Okay, I feel you. The real injustice on these streets is people calling for respectful language. Fight the power! Long live hate speech!!/Except no. Shut up.

2. "What a bunch of social justice warriors."

Right? I mean, social justice? How obnoxious!/Just kidding shut up.

3. "I don't see color"

That's really weird. You should have that checked out. I mean, Stevie Wonder knows he's black and he's literally blind. Shhhhh.

4. "I have black friends"

I thought you didn't see color though.

5. "I'm the least racist person you'll ever meet."

First of all you sound like Donald Trump. Is that what you want? And also, that just seems really unlikely. I mean, this isn't a contest, being a decent human being. Not being racist doesn't earn you a prize. But if it did, I'd put my money on that Malala Yousafzai. She's fantastically non-racist. Or John Lewis? He's dedicated his whole entire life to civil rights. He's faced hate speech and fire hoses and racist idiots literally spitting in his face and he STILL puts up with white people. No but wait - an innocent baby would totally win, right?/See how stupid this discussion sounds?

Don't say these things. You sound stupid. And racist.