Police and Race: The Research Is Done, We See the Symptoms Every Day

Alex Jacobs

Right now the police and politicians can openly admit there’s a problem in this country over policing and race. And of all cities for this happen to, Dallas was actually doing something about it. There’s no argument to defend the targeting and killing of any police officers, just as there was nothing to justify the taking of the lives of these black men. The police justify by saying they feared for their lives but they take immediate action to judge, shoot and kill the person they are struggling with or confronting. That is the political fault line and most everyone from both sides is trying to say the proper things.

But why is it “both sides” when there should only be one community and aren’t those charged with protecting it part of the community? Perhaps the “other side” are those who never seem to interact with police as targeted or profiled suspects. Paid-for politicians pass bad laws and the police have to enforce “lawful orders” that may not be moral, ethical or even legal. Funding cutbacks in all areas of social welfare, community protection, education and human services provide the tinder for the fires called poverty and repression.

Just as Dallas Police Chief David Brown and President Obama reiterated, “We ask the police to do too much.” Society, its political representatives and social institutions have failed. Corporate media inflames with headlines like “Civil War” or “The New Race War”, and it must seem like a war since we’ve militarized the police and taught them to fear the local populace as potential enemies, in effect dehumanizing the populace just as screaming protesters dehumanize the police. Just as the populace forgets about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan maybe we will forget about this war, since none of these wars seem to affect the mindless pursuit of making money. Perhaps the Dallas shootings will affect us as Americans more than the foreign corporate wars. There is an internet meme that states, “The United States has been at war for 222 years of its 240 year existence.” Why and how is the government spending billions on our national defense, yet our populace and police feel personally threatened, by each other and not foreign terrorists?

Some critics responded with, what do you expect after all these shootings of black men by police? There is no debate those police officers were targeted because they wore blue just as it seems many victims of police aggression were targeted (or profiled by the public) because they were black, poor, brown, gay, trans, Middle Eastern, or speaking foreign languages. Philando Castile was stopped 52 times in his short life for being black, just like Mark Hughes who was at the Dallas protest and had to give up his open-carry, legal gun after being falsely identified as a suspect on social media and national TV.

Now it seems the NRA was proven wrong in Dallas about good guys with guns stopping bad guys with guns. Michael Wood, an ex-Baltimore cop who exposed racist behavior in his department, says while we argue over the 2nd Amendment to buy, carry and use lethal semi-automatic weapons, we have effectively gutted our 4th and 5th Amendment rights. Wood says that in this case the 2nd Amendment is about killing cops since these fanatics are going to shoot at police, law enforcement and government authority. This perspective offers up for debate whether the 2nd Amendment was meant to legalize “a well-regulated militia” or really just put down insurrections by rebels, slaves and Indians. Don’t just argue over guns, read the 4th and 5th Amendments to see where they stand today…on the threshold of a looming police state.

Conservative pundits called Black Lives Matter the new KKK when in actuality, since Reconstruction and the 1920s, white supremacists and KKK members were among the judges, politicians and police that enforced Jim Crow laws against Black people and minorities and had another set of laws for white people. That’s what Black Lives Matter means, just like Blue Lives Matter: All lives matter once we value and treat all lives equally.

The research has already been done. And we see the symptoms more frequently and with social media, it’s every day. We are self-radicalizing ourselves as a society, taking sides, dehumanizing the other, taking arms against fellow Americans, in a divide and conquer tactic that seems to promote the rich vs the poor, the lawful vs the ruled over. Police become the face of that oppression just as young black men become the target of the next politician’s Law and Order campaign.

The social contract has broken down as billionaires purchase politician’s votes to cutback social services which creates the needs of communities to patrol the streets to bring in revenue from all manner of minor traffic tickets. Poor people hustling to get by get criminalized. Rich socio/psychopaths who steal billions get no jail time. The failed war on drugs should end, which would release cops to do community work, get re-trained and do proper investigations. Why are they even out patrolling streets like the military does in areas of insurrection?

Cops don’t have time to think about such politics, they are trained to react and seem to respond with ready violence. Now we can expect riot geared police, two man teams and paranoia, instead of embracing and funding community policing. When police union leaders say they expect more violence against their officers, aren’t they also saying, expect more of the same violent behavior and tactics from us? This is where we are expected to implore the better angels in each of us to reach out.

A smart white man named Albert Einstein said he did not understand the racist thinking of white Americans toward black Americans, but only that it was accepted as tradition, based in slavery. He said, that tradition teaches us good and bad but our growing self-consciousness and increasing knowledge can change our fate and dignity for the better if human relations are ever to change. Einstein called the tradition of racism in this country a potentially lethal cancer and he said this 70 years ago.

Alex Jacobs, Mohawk, is a visual artist and poet living in Santa Fe.

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Sammy7's picture
Fundamentally this is a societal life or death issue. Now the oppressors and oppressed are choosing death. The oppressors are heavily armed with military weapons and the oppressed are armed with weapons as well. Neither show any signs of change except for rhetoric or mostly meaningless mini changes. Top to bottom corruption is systemic. White supremacist organizations are growing as well as Black defensive organizations. Attempts to manage the situations have failed and the oppressors are initiating newer forms of oppression. Death is still the path of choice. The media airwaves are filled with hyped conflict and fear mongering. Drugs are increasingly the escape of choice and the banks are openly laundering drug money guaranteeing its continuance. The First Peoples of America are still being demonized despite being only .8 percent of the population. Traditional Indian Peoples are only .2 percent of the population. The efforts of Mother Nature to re-balance often have devastating consequences. Russia, China, and the United States are on the precipice of World War Three and a likely nuclear war. We have only 10 years remaining of the 52 year Mayan adjustment period leading to the Sixth Age, the Age of Flower. The Age of Flower represents the rising and flowering of female energies. One wonders how are we ever going to get through the next ten years when just one year seems questionable? The answer of the world view of science is death. The answer of the Spirit world view is life, all of life. Attempts to promote all of life on the white folks progressive forums is met with resistance and death. Attempts to promote all of life on the white folks conservative forums is met with resistance and death also. Greed for money and power blinds white folks, and regrettably there is concrete evidence that it blinds some Indians now too. So who will support all of life? One answer is the .2 percent of Indians, the Traditionals. At times like these in the past, sometimes a prophet has appeared and led the people back to life teachings and balance. Is it too much to expect that such a person, a Grandmother, would rise and lead us to the Age of Flower? I’m looking for her!