This post has already been read 113 times!
End Code of Silence for everyone
Southwest News-Herald Newspaper Jan. 11, 2013
By Ray Hanania
I don’t understand Chicago Police Chief Garry McCarthy.
One day he’s in front of the cameras arguing that a recent court ruling on the Police Department’s “Code of Silence” is bad for the city.
Then the next day, McCarthy is telling reporters he wants to enlist celebrities to support a campaign to make snitching on criminals a good thing.
Is McCarthy bi-polar? Or just a typical government hypocrite?
McCarthy wants to end the practice of redefining the negative image the public has of “snitching” to be a good thing. He is reaching out to former basketball great Michael Jordan and other football and basketball stars including Derrick Rose, hoping their popularity can help make snitching by members of the public a good thing.
But McCarthy didn’t seem to eager to end the same practice involving his police employees.
Last November, a jury concluded some Chicago police adhere to a code of silence to protect their fellow officers. The jury awarded $850,000 to bartender Karolina Obrycka who was brutally beaten by off-duty police officer Anthony Abbate. Abbate’s supervisors and colleagues tried to cover up his crime.
Let me be clear. Snitching is a good thing. But is it ever a bad thing?
The other day, my son came home from school and asked me what the meaning was of an Arabic word he heard two of his Arab school buddies using. It’s a bad word in any language. It started with Kha— and is the Arabic word for Sh–.
But the Arab kids were saying it loudly and the teachers didn’t know what it means.
At first, I suggested that my son tell his teacher. Then I stopped and said, no, don’t tell your teacher. Let me have mommy call your teacher. And then I thought. Why is it my responsibility to put my son in a predicament where he might have to suffer for blowing the whistle on a few classmates who can get away with swearing in their parent’s language because the teachers are unprepared?
It was a dilemma.
What’s the difference between saying “s-t” in English and then saying it in Arabic, “Kh—a?”
And what’s the difference between a member of the public not turning in a relative who may have been involved in an act of violence and a fellow police officer not testifying against a drunken off-duty colleague who beats the crap, or “kh—a” out of a female barmaid at a local bar?
The truth is we have exceptions to ethics and principles.
Of course it is wrong to swear in English, but is it swearing when the word is in Arabic and the teachers and most of the class have no idea what’s being said?
So why should McCarthy argue that the public should snitch on their friends and relatives to identify people who commit criminal acts and not demand that the people he controls does the same thing?
In the case of school, my son shouldn’t tell on his friends. It should come from me or from his mom. After all, we’re the adults. He’s still a child.
But what is Chief McCarthy, then, when he is inconsistent with ethics?
Or does it come down to how we do say it?
“Crap” and “poop” are okay but “kha-a” and “s—t” are not?
Doesn’t the meaning of what’s being said – or done – have any meaning in this debate?
If you ask me, it’s a lot of “kha—a” … oops! I mean, a lot of “crap.”
(Ray Hanania is an award winning columnist. Reach him at www.TheMediaOasis.com.)
This post has already been read 113 times!
Hanania loves to write about American Arabs in politics, and focuses on Arab life in America.
Currently, he writes weekly columns on Middle East and American Arab issues for the Arab News in Saudi Arabia at www.ArabNews.com. He writes on American politics for the Des Plaines Valley News, Southwest News-Herald, The Regional News newspaper and the Reporter Newspapers. He also writes for the online websites TheArabDailyNews.com and NewsAmericaNetwork.com (Illinois News Network at IllinoisNewsNetwork.com).
Palestinian, American Arab and Christian, Hanania’s parents originate from Jerusalem and Bethlehem. Hanania began in journalism as an activist publishing Chicago’s first English-language American Arab Newspaper “The Middle Eastern Voice” from 1975 through 1977. In 1976, he was hired by the Chicago community newspaper The Southtown Economist (Daily Southtown) and in 1985 was hired by the Chicago Sun-Times and covered Chicago City Hall for both. In 1993, he launched the “The Villager” Newspapers which covered 12 Southwest Chicagoland suburban regions. In 2004, he published “The National Arab American Times” monthly newspaper which was distributed through 12,500 Middle East ethnic food stores in 48 American States.
Hanania is the recipient of four (4) Chicago Headline Club “Peter Lisagor Awards” for Column writing. In November 2006, he was named “Best Ethnic American Columnist” by the New American Media;In 2009, he received the prestigious Sigma Delta Chi Award for Writing from the Society of Professional Journalists. He is the recipient of the MT Mehdi Courage in Journalism Award. Hanania has also received two (2) Chicago Stick-o-Type awards from the Chicago Newspaper Guild, and in 1990 was nominated by the Chicago Sun-Times for a Pulitzer Prize for his four-part series on the Palestinian Intifada.
Hanania’s writings have been published in newspapers around the world. Formerly syndicated by Creators Syndicate, Hanania also has written news, features and Opinion Columns for Al Jazeera English, the Jerusalem Post, YNetNews.com, Arab News, Saudi Gazette, Newsday in New York, the Orlando Sentinel, the Houston Chronicle, The Daily Star, the News of the World, the Daily Yomimuri in Tokyo, Chicago Magazine, the Arlington Heights Daily Herald, and Aramco Magazine. His political columns are published in the Southwest News-Herald and Des Plaines Valley News, Regional News and Palos Reporter newspapers in Chicagoland. Hanania is the President/CEO of Urban Strategies Group media and public affairs consulting which has clients in Illinois, Florida, Michigan and Washington D.C.
Hanania is Palestinian Christian from prominent Bethlehem and Jerusalem families. His wife and son are Jewish and he performs standup comedy lampooning Arab-Jewish relations, advocating for peace based on non-violence, mutual recognition and Two-States.
His Facebook Page is Facebook.com/rghanania
Email him at: RGHanania@gmail.com
Latest posts by Ray Hanania (see all)
- News media bias is primary cause of racism - January 23, 2017
- Presidents Obama, Trump and the “complacency of hope” - January 20, 2017
- A glimmer of hope in a Trump presidency - January 18, 2017