This story could have really used some contextualization on how racism and bias works. I don’t know whether Sheskey is racist or not, but he was operating within a society that for centuries has constructed an ideology of danger and fear around Black men.
One doesn’t have to consciously hate or dislike Black people as a race to still react within a societal context that says Black men are inherently more dangerous, more violent, and needed to be subdued with lethal force. This matters in heated split second circumstance.
This is why I say again and again, covering race, racism and racial inequality requires expertise just as much as covering any other subject, because a story where a neighbor vouches for someone’s inner feelings in a society where open racism is shunned doesn’t tell us much
I mean, the fact that he grew up in Waukesha tells you a LOT. Waukesha is nearly 90 percent white and 2 percent Black even as it borders Milwaukee and has a torrid history with discriminatory housing.
To point out his neighbor in a white-flight suburb doesn’t think he’s racist — and again, he may very well not be — without pointing out they are in a white flight suburb in one of the most segregated metro areas in the country is not, shall we say, helpful context.
Why? Because this officer likely did not grow up around many Black people, but did grow up in a suburb known to be hostile to Black people moving in, and now he is charged with policing Black communities. This matters in that ultimate interaction.
Raised in Waukesha and now works under this police chief.
You can follow @nhannahjones.
Tip: mention @twtextapp on a Twitter thread with the keyword “unroll” to get a link to it.

Latest Threads Unrolled: