Day 283: Lies the police told me
Depending on who you are and your experience in life the police are either heroes that are looked up to or they are oppressors that are feared. The truth is that they are all part of the same racist system and that inevitably makes all police bad. You may not agree, that’s fine and I would bet that you are most likely white. To which I would say, it is okay not to notice the systematic racism until it is pointed out. It’s normalized, so why would you notice?
Broken windows, broken windows didn’t start racist police actions, but it definitely helped it. For those unfamiliar broken windows was a racist (and classist) policy created with the belief that small visible signs of crime and “antisocial” behavior leads to other further and more serious crimes. This overwhelming punished poor and minority groups (further reading)(more reading).
Of course, to understand why police are enforcing racist policies we would need to go much further back. Police have a habit of escalating even the most peaceful of protests (further reading) (more reading). Interestingly thanks to the COVID-19 lockdown and the overwhelmingly white (and openly racist) protests we can see that this hyper-escalation that the police engage in with minority protests is not done for white protests (even when the white protesters are heavily armed). I could give several examples of this, but let’s just list two and you can either trust me or google more examples, the first is the aforementioned COVID-19 protest, and another example is the literal nazi takeover of a federal building in oregon.
Police routinely kill people of color and are not punished for the excessive use of force (statistics)(more statistics)(further reading)(more reading)(even more reading). First, notice I am citing a lot of sources for the things I am telling you. This is because they are true and because you (depending on who you are and the color of your skin) will not want to believe it. This push against anti-racist movements is a constant in society. A good example of this is that the black lives matter movement lead to the racist all lives matter movement (further reading)(more reading). The same widespread racism created the blue lives matter push back (further reading)(more reading).
So before we go down the tired and well-trotted road of “not all police.” You should know the history, so when I say, “yes, all police” you will understand that I am not saying that all police are racist, just that all police are enforcing racist policies. This makes all police bad, like it or not. Additionally, we have seen time and time again that police officers are overwhelmingly white supremacists (again literal nazis), yet nothing happens when they are caught (further reading)(more reading)(even more reading)(I could keep going)(fuck it, if you’re not convinced now, you won’t believe me anyway).
My writing isn’t going to change any of this, I know that. These are policies, beliefs, and white benefiting systems that are deeply ingrained in our culture. If you remain unconvinced all this, then that isn’t surprising. It’s hard to advocate against a system that benefits you.
Then again, maybe I have convinced you with the overwhelming evidence I’ve presented. If that’s the case then you’re one less person comfortable with the system and that is one small step towards a real change. It won’t happen overnight, it won’t be comfortable, and it definitely won’t be easy, but it needs to happen.
Lastly, to those of you who have suffered and will continue to suffer because of these policies, I hear you, I see you, and you are not alone.