Regarding the Feb. 24 news article “Police union votes not to boycott Beyoncé concert”: It is quite unfortunate that during Black History Month, the Raleigh police officers union considered boycotting Beyonce’s concert over her salute to the Black Panthers.
The claim that the Black Panthers were “anti-police” or “terrorists” cannot be supported by the historical evidence. The Black Panther program called for “an immediate end to police brutality and murder of black people.” It also called for a halt to the mass incarceration of black people.
In actual practice, the Black Panthers may have been provocative, but again history records that there was far more violence carried out against them by local police and the FBI than they ever carried out against those agencies.
In the end, the police union got it right but for the wrong reasons. Uninformed insensitivity to the experience of African-Americans only widens the gap between them and the African-American community.
There is an urgent need for more effective diversity and equity training for our nation’s police. I have participated in such efforts and seen them work.
Joseph L. Graves Jr.