Former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani has been all over television and radio lately talking about the deaths of two black men, Michael Brown in Missouri and Eric Garner in New York, during encounters with white police officers. He has complained about protests nationwide against the decisions by grand juries in both cases not to indict the officers, and he has insisted that the real problem isn’t police overreaction but, rather, violence by blacks against other blacks. A verbal fight on NBC’s “Meet the Press” with Georgetown University sociology Professor Michael Eric Dyson gives some of the flavor of Giuliani’s remarks, such as this exchange about violence in black areas, taken from the transcript of the show:
RUDY GIULIANI: What about the poor black child that is killed by another black child? Why aren’t you protesting that?
MICHAEL ERIC DYSON: Those people go to jail. I do protest it. I’m a minister. They go to jail. Why don’t you talk about the way in which white policemen —(OVERTALK)
MICHAEL ERIC DYSON: — undercut the ability of —
RUDY GIULIANI: So why don’t cut it down so so many white police officers don’t have to be in black areas?
MICHAEL ERIC DYSON: They don’t have to be. It’s a matter of the effect of the state occupying those forces, sir.
Well, Giuliani has now gone in another direction in his remarks, bringing in, of all things, the teachers’ union in New York. The problem, or a part of it, is that according to the former mayor, teachers’ unions are opposed to certain school reforms (such as vouchers, which use public money to pay for private tuition, and merit pay systems that reward teachers for their students’ standardized test scores) to the whole controversy. On Geraldo Rivera’s radio show on WABC on Dec. 8, he said:
Liberal guilty … whites have to stop refusing to say the bigger part of the problem here is black crime and not police overreaction …
“The energy that [Al] Sharpton and everybody else is spending protesting against police would save a lot more black lives if it would start talking about improving black education, if it would talk about improving the family situation in the black neighborhoods, if it would talk about dealing with police officers with respect …
“Maybe all these left-wing politicians who want to blame police, maybe there’s some blame here that has to go to the teachers union, for refusing to have, uh, for refusing to have schools where teachers are paid for performance, for fighting charter schools, for fighting vouchers, so that we can drastically and dramatically improve education.”