Truthout - June 16, 2020
"There is a (real or imagined) privilege in being able to believe in, let alone to realistically rely on, the police.There is an Amy Cooper, who so easily called on the police to attend to her manufactured white fear and tears, in every workplace and predominantly white neighborhood. She readily weaponizes her white womanhood to incriminate and punish Black communities. This violent form of comfort and reliance upon criminalization makes police violence possible. "
How we understand the current uprising in the wake of multiple police killings is critical. It is not only a protest. If we are fortunate, it stays an uprising — against a whole system built on anti-Blackness. This is not about a few “bad apples,” but an entire institution that has a monopoly on the definition of “justice.” It is about people’s psychic, emotional and economic investments in a heavily resourced system that functions to protect white supremacy through anti-Black violence. It is about George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, Oscar Grant, Sandra Bland, Rekia Boyd and so many others, as well as the hundreds of years’ worth of violence against Black communities. As such, and as the world is witnessing — because of the gravity and depth — every strategy to disturb, let alone upend this world, will be taken.
But in recent days, I have received too many messages and phone calls that essentially ask, “I know you’re against police violence, but are you in support of looting?” Before a long pause and depending upon my mood, I will talk about how the United States is built upon the looting of land, resources and human life from Indigenous peoples. I will emphasize that this nation is made possible through the theft of Black humans, life, labor, cultures and families — through the legacy of chattel slavery, the prison-industrial complex, the child welfare system, the medical-industrial complex, the educational system, and the culture vultures who love all things Black but have been extremely quiet during this time. On other days, I simply say, “Black lives over property every day.”
Sometimes, people ask why the uprising is happening. I am forced to recall that the U.S. educational system has done an incredible job in inducing historical amnesia and reproducing multicultural white nationalism while policing Black youth and Black culture. As a former educator, I don’t remember teaching about the depth, breadth, gravity and ongoing implications of the transatlantic slave trade, the genocide of Native Americans, nor the U.S. occupation and colonial wars in Vietnam, Philippines, Guam, Hawaii, Samoa, Laos, Cambodia and elsewhere. I am reminded that this schooling system does not teach about the legacy of anti-Black violence, including the 1951 “We Charge Genocide: The Crime of Government Against the Negro People” petition, which was submitted to the United Nations. This petition documented 152 killings and 344 other acts of violence against Black communities in the U.S. between 1945–1951. We have barely learned about the important work of the Chicago-based We Charge Genocide campaign that continued in the legacy of resistance. Nor has the nation learned about the history of the Chicago Police Department with torture and the brilliant organizing to win reparations for the more than 100 victims, most of whom are Black men. Instead, I am aware of the ongoing history lessons and political science courses that drill down the importance of the Constitution and of the history of the U.S.’s purported greatness. I am also reminded that schools do not only help craft a white nationalist narrative and identities, but the policies and practices have historically and foundationally been anti-Black. ...
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