Former President Bush Speaks Out On Racial Divide

Dwight Wade

Amid increased racial tensions stemming from the recent Michael Brown and Eric Garner grand jury decisions, former president George W. Bush spoke out recently about the racial divide across the country.

Former President Bush recently sat down with CNN in an interview that will air in full this weekend. The former president expressed sadness at the racial issues that continue to tear at the country.

"I thought, how sad. The verdict was hard to understand," he said. "I haven't seen all the details. But it's sad that race continues to play such an emotional, divisive part of life."

Bush said he thought "we've improved" since he was a kid in the 70s, but also recounted a conversation he had with former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. The two discussed race relations and the distrust of law enforcement within the black community.

"She just said you have to understand that there are a lot of black folks around that are incredibly more and more distrusting of law enforcement, which is a shame, because law enforcement's job is to protect everybody."

President Bush's interview comes at a time where protests continue to increase following the grand jury decisions, and police are feeling demoralized by the demonization of forces across the country.

Maki Haberfeld, professor of police studies at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, told the Huffington Post that the officers involved in these cases are just following orders, and called on politicians to do a better job of explaining the motivations of law enforcement.

"Everyone is just demonizing the police. But police follow orders and laws. Nobody talks about the responsibility of the politicians to explain to the community why quality-of-life enforcement is necessary."

While the verdict in the Michael Brown case was understandable given multiple conflicting witness statements combined with physical evidence on the scene, the Eric Garner verdict has been much more perplexing to critics.

As reported by the Inquisitr, even though the medical examiner ruled Garner's death a homicide, police argued that his death was the result of Garner being overweight, and claimed that if he could repeat the phrase "I can't breathe" it meant he could.

As tensions continue to rise, the only thing that remains clear about the issue is the breadth of the divide between both sides. Minorities continue to feel oppressed, and police continue to feel demonized. With a lot of finger pointing from both sides, resolution doesn't appear anywhere on the horizon. That, as President Bush said, is truly sad.

[Lead image via Politico]