This recent interview with Jamiles Lartey is the most enlightening discussions I’ve heard on the topic of race & policing. Complex issues like protest dynamics, reform implementation, and police unions, are all touched upon to outline a bigger picture of our current situation. Specific events, like the Central Park birdwatching incident, are cited as parts of the systemic whole:
And part of the reason that the Amy Coopers of the world feel so comfortable using the police as their own kind of personal racism valet is because that’s in line with how they’ve operated in our society. Which is to say, even if you or I or we have never called the police on a black person for some deeply unserious reason, as a society we outsource the keeping of the racial order to police every day. … And this is so important: Officers themselves do not have to be ideologically white supremacist to be performing that function.
It can be tempting to settle on easy answers when causes of a problem are so deeply rooted. Discussions like this that don’t shy away from reality are vital. You can listen to the full interview or read a partial transcript at npr.org.
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