Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Everyone Should Read This: ”Policing Is Doing What It Was Meant to Do. That’s the Problem. Blaming racist violence on ‘bad apples’ misses the point.”

From the June 21, 2020 edition of the New York Times, this piece by philosophers Todd May and George Yancy was so powerful.

“That is the question we should be asking of the police. Not why do they regularly fail to perform their duties correctly and thus need reform, but rather, what duties are they succeeding at?

Once we ask that question, the answer is entirely clear. They succeed in keeping people in their place. They succeed in keeping middle-class and especially upper-class white people safe, so long as they don’t get out of line. They succeed in keeping people of color in their place so that they don’t challenge the social order that privileges middle- and upper-class white people. And, as we have recently witnessed in many violent police responses at protests, they succeed in suppressing those who would question the social order.

If we look at individual police officers divorced from the structure in which they operate — if we simply look for the ‘bad apples’— we fail to see the role of the police as a whole. Whether individual police officers are racist is not the fundamental issue. The fundamental issue is whether the police — the institution of policing as it exists in the United States — is racist. And once we look at this clearly, we understand that the answer must be yes.”


And as Todd and George conclude:

“To truly confront problems of racist violence in our society, let’s not once again begin with the question of how to reform the police. Let’s instead start with the question of how to build healthy and safe communities of mutual respect and see which institutions we need to reach that goal. If anything that is to be called policing emerges from that inquiry, it should be at its end rather than assumed at the outset.”

Read the full opinion piece here.

The light in me recognizes and acknowledges the light in you,

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