Reflecting On 2015: The Year In Race RelationsPlay
The Cleveland police officer who fatally shot 12-year-old Tamir Rice last year will not be indicted, a grand jury decided Monday.
Cuyahoga Country proscecutor Timothy McGinty said Tamir was drawing the toy gun from his waistband when he was shot. He called the shooting "a perfect storm of human error" — but he said no crime was committed.
"I call for the leaders of our community to now respect the process and the decision of the grand jury," said McGinty. "And, to urge others to express their opinions in a peaceful and lawful manner."
The community — and the nation — will now debate this decision. But what's not under debate is that it's the latest in a long series of police-involved shootings that is sharpening a national conversation about race in America. And, it's having a profound effect on the way we think about race.
Not long after the election of President Barack Obama, a Wall Street Journal-NBC poll found more than three-quarters of Americans said that races relations in the country were fairly good or very good.
But the most recent poll on the same questions finds that today, just one-third of Americans, and only one-quarter of black Americans, see race that way.
Peniel Joseph, founding director of the Center for the Study of Race and Democracy at Tufts University. He’s also a professor of history at Tufts. He tweets @PenielJoseph.
More In This Series
Radio Boston: Reflecting On 2015: The Year In Health And Medicine
- "Continuing our series on 2015 in review, we discuss the latest in health and medicine with Dr. Neel Shah."
Radio Boston: 2015 A Great Year For Art In Boston
- “Our 2015 year in art with Sebastian Smee.”
Radio Boston: The Year In Sports With Investigative Sports Reporter Shira Springer
- “We look back at the year in sports with Shira Springer, and preview what 2016 holds in store.”
TIME: U.S. Race Relations At 20-Year Low, Survey Finds
- "Perception of U.S. race relations have reached a 20 year low after several high-profile deaths of black Americans at the hands of police officers, according to data from a new Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll."
WBUR: Here's Why Obama Said The U.S. Is 'Less Racially Divided'
- "President Obama says Americans feel worse about race relations not because relations are worse, but because we're talking about them more.Obama offered that analysis during a year-ending NPR interview. In a 40-minute talk just before he left Washington for the holidays, he gave clues to his thinking about his final two years in office."
CBS: Chicago Police Kill 2 During Domestic Disturbance Call
- "A Chicago police officer responding to a domestic disturbance call Saturday accidentally shot and killed a 55-year-old woman, who was among two people fatally wounded, police said late Saturday...The Cook County medical examiner identified the man killed as 19-year-old Quintonio Legrier and the woman as 55-year-old Bettie Jones. Both victims were black and from Chicago. Jones was described by her family as a mother of five."
This segment aired on December 28, 2015.