No place for race: Making leadership accountable
11/6/2013, 11:07 a.m.
Viewers of CBS' reality show, "Undercover Boss" know that CEOs and company owners learn valuable information when working undercover within the ranks of their business. By the same token, spend 24 hours with veteran homicide detective, Rodney Demery and chances are the gut-wrenching scenes will haunt you forever.
Frustrated at what he calls the lack of action by the nation's leadership to keep communities safe, Demery cites real-actionable solutions in his book, "No Place For Race: Why We Need to Address Economic and Social Factors That Are Crushing Us Every Day."
Demery believes that people need to stop sensationalizing racial division in the media and get to the root of the problem. He challenges the leadership to take responsibility and to stop the racial rhetoric – which he says only promotes fear. "The truth," he says, "is that racial profiling is an irrational assumption when the police policymakers and management are increasingly black. He further says that, "the most likely threat to a black man is another black man; not a white man as the media and black leaders would often have you believe.”
"This isn't a race thing,” says Demery. "I know because I am at the crime scenes when the yellow "crime scene” tape is put up. I am with the coroner when the autopsy is performed. And I am one of the detectives who hears the excruciating wails of the grieving family when I tell them that their child has been murdered. We must take action to stop these senseless killings … and the time is now.”
Demery admits that civil rights have come a long way. This includes overcoming denial to attend top universities, as well as the right to vote. Blacks are heading police departments, serving on Supreme Courts, nationally and across states and even serving as the president of the U.S. One wonders, then, with so many black leaders, why are there so many blacks dying in the streets?
"Leadership and politicians have done a disservice to our communities,” says Demery. "Simply put, our so-called leaders are not leading. It's a fact that 94% of black people are killed by black people, but what is being done about this? Nothing – only finger pointing and accusations stemming from things that happened more than 40 years ago. Worse yet, many leaders (both black and white) in our police departments and government choose not to speak up for fear of repercussion. The question we need to ask is what are we doing to change these statistics today?”
A decorated veteran of the United States Navy, Demery has served as an officer of the peace for 25 years. He served in both Operation Desert Storm and Operation Desert Shield, attended Louisiana State University and earned a bachelor of science in criminal justice. Throughout his career as a police officer, he has worked in three states.