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A Letter on Race and the Eric Garner situation

December 6, 2014

Dear Opie and Jimmy,

Hi, I’m a fan of the show, and I am still very upset that Anthony got fired; I’m happy what you guys are doing without him, and I wish both of you the best. I was drawn to your radio show by the occasional appearances of Patrice Oneal (RIP) and seeing him and you guys argue and have debates on racial issues helped me to evolve to the point where I, as a black person, was more willing to engage in racial conversations with my white friends, who before hand, I would simply ignore.

I was listening to clips of your radio show on youtube the other day, because I wanted to hear your opinions on the Garner issue, and I was disappointed at your responses, but I kept listening, because I wanted to hear the reason why you believed what you believed, and then I realized that you had very little understanding as to the why, black people react to cops the way they do. I figured I write an email and explain why, not necessarily to change your opinion, but to provide some context.

The average white person, who lives in a middle class white neighborhood, has a completely different interaction with cops than that of a black person growing up in a city. For instance in the suburbs, you mostly see cops overseeing construction or taking their breaks at Dunkin Donuts. If you have a concern, maybe someone creepy is walking outside your door or there’s a break-in at your house, you call the cops, and in a timely manner, they come by, take a report, and possibly even investigate that complaint that you made. I know this because for most of my life, I’ve lived in middle class white neighborhoods.

In cities with black people, it’s very different. Mostly when you see cops they are driving around your neighborhood, you see those blue, red and white lights all the time. You see cops walking up to black people simply walking down the street and randomly asking them questions. If you’re black and you live in the city, when you call the cops due to a concern like a car theft, break-in, robbery etc, they tend not to come in a timely manner, or in some cases actually say you should come in instead to file a report. Now of course, one could rationalize and say that this is due to the fact that the cops are busy since there’s so much work for them to do, but you tend not to buy that, when you see cops everyday stopping people for the equivalent of petty crimes as Eric Garner was. Not to mention that this is from people who don’t look like you, and tend not to show you respect.

I could go on, but I don’t want to bore you or seem like I’m preaching or anything. I have a ton of respect for you guys because in an era where men are being castrated in terms of their ability to take controversial stands on anything, guys like you have continued to do so. Plus I’ll always have a ton of respect for all you’ve done for Von and Patrice’s family. I just figured I share a different POV on race, so you could better understand why a guy like Eric Garner would react the way he did.

Sincerely yours,


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