Being for Black Lives Doesn’t Mean I’m Anti Police

This is not an easy post, nor is it one that everyone wishes to engage in. I get that. It’s a very charged conversation, and can leave people feeling like they sacrificed too much of themselves. I will definitely validate that feeling, as I am completely aware of the consequences of opening up your thoughts for discussion, and I can definitely attest to the times where I have felt nothing but defeat. But this needs to be brought up, and since this does relate directly to me, I will engage in this topic that may be distracting to others.

I am Pro-Black, but I am not Anti-police. I am not necessarily for the cops, but I am not against them either. How does that work? Well, let’s break it down.

I know woke me is screaming at the sleepier part of me for writing this into actual existence. But I am tired of having to constantly answer the same question over and over. It is utterly exhausting, and it doesn’t actually push forward the conversation.

I do not support the police system overall. I cannot support something that is based on preserving the concept of utilizing black people as property and extorting them for capitalist gains. I cannot accept something that is going to say they’re against “illegal immigration”, even though their families literally did the same thing a few generations back. I cannot support a system that hopes to profit off those who are marginalized. I cannot and will not stand for that. The police system overall has aimed to cage in minorities and keep them from having a voice socially and politically. I cannot support something that is so blatantly racist while also claiming my racism at the same time. That is a very hard and easy line for me to draw.

However, I do not advocate for the killing of cops. That shouldn’t even have to be something I say, but here I am. I do not condone the killing of a life due to rage.

It becomes a blur when you know some cops, and you know that some of these cops are actually decent. I know there are cops right now who actually are aware of what is going on and don’t want this police brutality to continue on. I am aware that there are some “good” cops.

But where are they when we continue to see acts of senseless police brutality? Not even just after the fact, where are the good cops going in and restraining the “bad” cops from committing police brutality? And why do we have to have “bad” cops? Why do we need to allow for bad policing in order to emphasize that there are “good” cops?

We live in a racist, white supremacist society. I do not create this situation, only study it and critique it as I experience it. The cops get their salaries from the tax money that everyone pays into. They work for us, yet we are taught from the time we are young to fear them, and that they are in control.

The fundamental goal of prison, idealistically, was to rehabilitate a person so that they can return to society and return to everyday life without having to resort to crime once again. Instead, the prison system consists of quotas in order to make enough profit and using them for cheap labor to the point where it has become legal slavery. The police’s job, idealistically, is to serve and protect the people. Instead, the police aim to make their money and instill fear in order to validate their power. We are going about helping the communities in all the wrong ways, yet we expect for the mass majority to be okay with it. This is because those in power aren’t bothered by the police system. And why would they be? The system benefits them greatly.

It is 2015, about to be 2016. In my nineteen years of life, I have witnessed the power and the authoritative nature from the police. I have seen them cover up and protect their own, often at the expense of the people that they claim to serve and protect.

People of color have been Otherized by Whiteness. That is a fact, and it manifests itself in so many ways. We have been here to see them senselessly beat, kill, and rape so many bodies simply because they need another way to show that they truly have this power. We have witnessed the system become so drunk in its power that they are convinced that they can do what they want. And they have been validated and continue to be validated, not just by the elite, but by those who continue to those who benefit from the system and those who believe that the system is built for them when in reality, the system couldn’t care less about them.

I deserve the right to live without being senselessly killed just as much as the next person. Now does that mean that I am necessarily going to be guaranteed a long and happy life? No, because life honestly suck sometimes, and that’s just something that we have to accept. But there are things that we need to stop accepting. And allowing officials that we pay to brutalize us is not something that we need to accept. I have had so many people tell me that it’s simply a matter of race, and if those people of color were just smarter about how they treated cops, then we wouldn’t be in this situation. It actually isn’t, especially when you see that everyone you know is subject to this brutalization, regardless of race and background.

I shouldn’t have to preface things with the disqualifier “not all.” In a dream world, we wouldn’t need it because no one would ever dare to even think of the things that have been going on. But I need people to understand that even in things that may seem completely opposing, there is room for intersectionality and there will continue to be.

Many people judge people like me for wanting to completely get rid of the system for being so hateful. But looking at the context, can you blame us.

I am exhausted of people dying. That has been traumatic as hell. But what people don’t understand is that there is a collective exhaustion toward the instance of police brutality. We are tired, and we are unapologetic. We aren’t just going to sit here and allow ourselves to continue to be hurt for doing simple things like walking around in a hoodie.

I shouldn’t have to say that the police matter, and I don’t, because the police are not marginalized to the point of being silenced. They do not face oppression to the point of centuries of built up tension. They are not the ones who have been attacked for years for something that they cannot control. The police are not the Other, they are the establishment. They are part of Big Brother. They cannot sit here and tell me that recording them doing their job equals a level of hate as them owning me back in the day. The amount of hate that I receive as a queer black women is not going to be something that the police can level up to.

I grew up around a few police officers. I went to school with their kids, hung out with them, talked. I did not grow up to hate the cops. The cops were the ones who disillusioned me. I want nothing more than to see the best in groups, and while that may be naive, I do want to value that positivity that I like to put around me. However, I cannot sit here and accept the fact that people around me are dying and that I could be next.

I feel empowered to have such a platform and ability to speak freely. But I know that this isn’t something to settle for. I’m calling these breadcrumbs exactly what they are, and letting others know that this has got to change. I understand that every life matters, but people don’t understand that black lives matter, that queer lives matter, that trans lives matter, that Muslim lives matter, that brown and yellow people matter, that Otherized people matter. And people can’t understand that you can have both of these sentiments at the same time. It should not be my responsibility to scream this in your face. I shouldn’t have to put my hands up in order for the cops not to shoot.

I want to see the end of killing, but more specifically, I want to see the end of police brutality, which continues to be mis-labeled and not recognized due to the system of white supremacy. If that is something that offends you, then you need to seriously think about what you value in this society.

-JW

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