The adage, “A picture is worth a thousand words,” is defined by the Merriam-Webster dictionary as a way of noting how it is often easier to show something in a picture than to describe it with words.
When it was first used here in the United States in the early twentieth century the person attributed it to a Japanese philosopher. Shortly afterward, another American used a variation stating, “A picture was worth ten thousand words,” and attributed its origins to China.
A researcher later claimed, “The arbitrary escalation from ‘one thousand’ to ‘ten thousand’ and the switching from Japan to China as the source [of the saying] leads us to smell a rat with this derivation.”
Part of San Bernardino’s vision is to create a city which, in part, capitalizes on “the ‘diversity’ of its people. However, just looking at a picture of the leadership of San Bernardino’s Police Department (see front cover) compared to this vision has led many of us to “smell a rat” regarding what’s real.
Now, before anyone gets offended, I am not saying or calling anyone or anybody a rat. Just as questions about the origins of the Chinese or Japanese phase led some to smell a rat, I am sharing the picture I’ve found of the police department’ management team and you can draw your on conclusion of the agency’s past 114 years without a single Black chief—all you have to do is look at the current face of leadership in the agency.
Most of you know that I have been advocating that this department needs more diversity when it comes to including Blacks and Latinos in the ranks and especially in management.
The one Black female lieutenant the agency was so proud of, just left to become Chief of Police of Riverside Community College Police Department. From my own personal experience people know when they are being used by their employer as a front to the public. She was given public relations articles in the paper after I placed some ink on them for assigning five White officers to implement the cities Community Policing Program.
We were told by Acting Chief Eric McBride at a WAG meeting, in essence she was too valuable in her current position to supervise a staff and be a face representing the department in a community, that is nearly 80 percent Black and Latino. So, what did she do? She left to run a police department where she is the chief.
When Edison told me in 1970 that I must wait in order to be promoted into management after I was serving the company’s need in race relations, I left. Kaiser Permanente Medical Care Program hired me as a manager to help them implement a program to bring more Blacks and Latinos to the company. Currently, a Latino now heads the Fontana Medical Center and the CEO of all of Kaiser Permanente is Black. Kaiser did that in half the time.
The city of Montgomery, Alabama elected its first Black Mayor this week and that city is known as the cradle of racism and discrimination. The Los Angeles Airport Authority just hired a Black Police Chief, while San Bernardino is apparently continuing its practice of a system of hand picking “look-a-likes” from its ranks. He looks like the one that went out on sick leave before he retired and now, they want to pick another one—like him—because the police association says, “it is someone they can work with.”
Well, the police department is made up of 235 officers and 133 (57 percent) are White and 9 out of 10 White males in the top management positions according to the picture on this week’s cover. Also, only 16 (7 percent) of the 235 officers live in the city. According to the U. S. Census quick facts of San Bernardino, Hispanics make up 64 percent and Blacks 14 percent of the city’s population. The racial make-up of the city’s police department is way out of line with the community it serves.
They have already sent the signal that Acting Chief Eric McBride will be appointed Chief and Greg Green will be Assistant Chief.
The police association said on their Facebook page, he—McBride—knows not only the City of San Bernardino, but also, ‘the organizational structure of the SBPD, our policies and procedures, our personnel, and our culture.’
I put heavy emphasizes on “culture” because the association is talking about their culture—not, the Black or Latino culture. They go on to say, “With his appointment, Eric McBride will hit the ground running and there will be no learning curve. He knows the City, our residents and the concerns within.”
I must ask the question—Who in the Black community really knows McBride and can they vouch for him?
McBride has some baggage according to an article printed in the San Gabriel Valley-Tribune. In 2015 he turned down the chief position after the Latino community compared him to Sheriff Joe Arpaio of Arizona. Joe is the same man that President Trump loves to hold up as his favorite sheriff in the country. McBride, while serving on the City Council in Hemet, had pushed an anti-illegal immigration policy that had no legal authority, but it aligned with his belief about immigration. I will assume he still lives in Hemet where his loyalty resides; and he will retire there and take his San Bernardino pension with him.
The city is treating management positions as succession-planning positions tied to the police association (union) and with that practice no Black person will ever become a captain or chief. A lawsuit is the only way to stop this systemic discrimination unless a federal or state Consent Decree is forced on the city. I would hope that it will not come to that but as they say, old habits die-hard and when you wrap racism into a bad habit—it starts to smell . . . like a rat.
So, what I am doing is painting the picture for everyone to see. You draw your own conclusion.
Header Photo: Hardy Brown, Sr. Contributor. Photo by Benoit Maphettes