Wednesday, May 27, 2020 - Police Brutality - Sean Crain
Over the course of the last couple of weeks, we've had two high-profile incidents of blacks being killed for no other reason than skin color. Almost immediately, the media tried to find bad things they did to justify the behavior of their murderers. This has to stop.
We need to stop pretending like police brutality is a good cop/bad cop issue. Every single police department on the planet is corrupt in some way or another, and this pattern of systemic violence has everything to do with the militarization of the police over the last forty years.
A culture has developed over this period, and that culture of policing involves overwhelming force as a standard method of operation. Thie that in with the plague of racism being exploited in order to protect an elitist economic order, and it's no wonder why so many of our black citizens are being senselessly killed for the crime of being black.
If this sort of violence is going to stop, we have to completely reorder our policing system.
In the 1980s and 1990s, the era of "tough-on-crime" produced the largest number of incarcerated citizens per capita in the world, more than even communist China. The War on Drugs started under the Nixon administration, not targeting drugs because of any harm they caused, but because it allowed Nixon to target minorities and his political opposition. Blacks are far more likely to be stopped or arrested by police even though whites commit crimes far more often.
We've also allowed police departments to get their hands on surplus military equipment. These things should not be legal for any civilian to possess for any reason, their sole purpose is to kill on the battlefield. We have to change the culture of the police to use force as an absolute last resort, not a first or second. This policy would also be good for military intervention, but that's another issue.
The role of race on its own plays a huge component as well. During the tough-on-crime era, the word "superpredator" came into use. These policies were nothing more than thinly veiled efforts to target black communities and keep them living in constant fear.
Racism didn't end in 1865, or in 1964, or in 2008. It remains an institutional scourge that operates on the stereotype of the 1980s crack-addicted gangbanger.
Black neighborhoods also happen to be overwhelmingly poor thanks to centuries of slavery followed by decades of injustice. Police departments love to prey on poor people because the private prison industry makes a lot of money locking up as many people of possible, and those who can't afford to fight them through the court system often don't.
Demagogues have also sprouted up in the last few years, and have managed to redirect the white working class's anger away from multinational corporations screwing them over with a trade policy designed by and for CEOs and towards blacks.
What I am going to post next might be one of the most disheartening things you ever read, but to get context of how our policing policies and drug war have affected the black community, this is something important to see.
This is a direct quote of Nixon staffer John Ehrlichman.
"The Nixon campaign in 1968, and the Nixon White House after that, had two enemies: the antiwar left and black people. You understand what I'm saying? We knew we couldn't make it illegal to be either against the war or black, but by getting the public to associate the hippies with marijuana and blacks with heroin, and then criminalizing both heavily, we could disrupt those communities. We could arrest their leaders, raid their homes, break up their meetings, and vilify them night after night on the evening news. Did we know we were lying about the drugs?"
"Of course we did."