Chief of Police Philip Banks II, the highest-ranking black official in the New York Police Department, has resigned. He was to have been promoted to First Deputy Commissioner, a civilian office, to replace Rafael Pineiro. Mr. Pineiro retired from that position last month; he was the highest-ranking Hispanic official.
Whenever shifts occur at high ranks, especially under new management, it's notable. In this case, the high officials are from two important minorities--Hispanics and African Americans. The prospect that a white person will replace each man causes me worry now, when it wouldn't have in the past. Now that I am so much more aware of the ongoing tensions between whites and nonwhites in the United States that I worry about what will happen next.
Maybe nothing will happen and it will all be fine. Yet my sense that minorities, especially African Americans, are getting more separated from the white majority, not less -- and the perception that incoming non-African-descent groups are edging out the opportunities for jobs and education so needed by African Americans -- all combine to make me wonder what the future will hold.