An often defense mechanism coming from the white majority when a person of color discusses their struggles with police brutality is being confronted with: “well, what about (insert colored race)-on-(insert colored race) crime? They aren’t any better.” So many things come to my mind when I get confronted with this question.
First and foremost, crimes committed between black persons exclusively is not point you can use to justify the continued acts of police brutality against unarmed black and brown people. Just stop. Think about what you are telling someone of color when you say these lines. You’re saying that because people of their race commit crimes toward each other, it’s okay for authority figures to kill members of their race for unjustifiable reasons? Your logic is seriously flawed, and I would suggest you do some reading.
Any group that hasn’t fit into the sphere of whiteness has faced white supremacy in the form of multiple systems in laws, as well as outright individual racism. There have been and still are laws that openly discriminate those of color, like the stop and frisk laws, the “show me your papers” rules enacted by some cops, and the criminalization of crack. In addition, there has been a very long history of redlining and pushing Othered groups to house in places away from Whites, and a long history of preventing Othered people from having the ability to move up or out of their locations. This has led to many systems that are looked down by the mainstream community, despite the fact that the mainstream society participates in the same acts. Crime rates do not by far indicate the true rate by which people of color are jailed, as cops have systems within their corporation design to entrap people of color at higher rates than white people, which is due to the police force’s origin as slave catchers.
We see the criminalization of black people so much that many don’t even realize that the number of black men in jail hasn’t been higher than the number of black men in college since 2001, or that black women are the most educated group of people in this country. We are constantly thriving, yet we never see the good side of Black people or other people of color, because the media is so intent on justifying the imprisonment and murdering of Othered people.
This is going to be split up into two parts, so stay tuned for the next installment.