Policing

Truth - law and order, when administered fairly, prevent anarchy. Society needs boundaries, rules, and regulations to avoid chaos. If the natural order of the universe is to gravitate towards disorder then humanity is diametrically opposed to the way things are. We have to give up some of our freedoms to gain protection, parameters, and oversight. That sacrifice however is supposed to come with the insurance that more often than not what we have gained will outweigh the cost of what we have lost. In a time where civil unrest regularly is part of the national conversation, this is policing.

"To be a Negro in this country and to be relatively conscious is to be in a rage almost all the time." James A. Baldwin

We need law enforcement. We need authority. We need police. We need policing. We need police to to think better, do better, and be better. Police play a critical role in ensuring that our society does not denigrate into dystopian catastrophe. They are charged with addressing situations to ensure the safety of all. They carry out the laws, demonstrate strong discretion, and deescalate critical situations. Serve and protect is the model of the organization. Making meaningful connections with community members is imperative to that mission. Trust, comfort, and reliability are cornerstones of strong relationships. Accountability though above all else is what upholds our systems of checks and balances. There can be no power that goes unchecked. Absolute power corrupts absolutely. Can you imagine if we kept this same suspended disbelief about other professions that dealt with mortality? If a doctor kills a patient, they are a bad doctor. They have literally failed at their job. They have done their job incorrectly. You cannot be a doctor if you are going to kill your patients. You cannot be a police officer if you are going to murder your charges. Screw it, I'll even give you suspects, or even better yet perpetrators. Your job is not to kill, terminate, execute, or murder, but rather incapacitate until due process can be applied for a detainee to be tried by a journey of their peers.

With that being said I do not believe there are "good" police officers. Good is a relative term. People do and say good or bad things, but they themselves are not inherently one or the other. Secondly, if we stick with the fallible logic of "good" police officers, where are they to hold their colleagues accountable? Where are they to call foul play, to say someone has gone to far, to police their own? Someone who is "good" or at least has some sort of moral compass would speak up, say something, or do something. Instead we hear a deafening silence that communicates an insidious permissiveness and an endorsement, whether intentional or not, of wanton behavior. I can only imagine the politics and power plays that exist within a police force. Being mindful of who you confide in and how you do so could be a labyrinth of delicacy and intentionality. Here's my issue with even entertaining this idea that there is too much at stake for someone to come forward, challenge their peers or superiors, and expose corruption within an organization. People are literally dying left and right, frivolously, uselessly, unnecessarily. You cannot keep silent if people are being killed because of your inability to be active in interrupting nefarious behaviors. This is the kind of stuff you actually lose your job over, and you do so gladly. How can you sit in the same room knowing someone has this bias so deep it caused them to use extreme force and end someone's life? You know it's wrong and yet you do nothing? I don't get it. What stops you from taking action? Are you that afraid of retaliation, blackballing, or loss of connection? What you could do will literally save lives, tangibly. I'm waiting for a good cop, until then I'll continue to put my faith in the people.

There is a significant portion of the population that believes that these social justice movements are some newfound hyper-liberal attention-seeking methods of divisiveness. The reality is that there have ALWAYS been mistreatment of marginalized populations ever since the inception of this country. Let us not forget this country was literally founded in a time where land-owning Protestant white men defined a human being as someone who fit those descriptors. Slowly over time that definition has expanded to include others, and yet those marginalized communities still face institutional and interpersonal disparities for nothing other than being who they are. This is not new. This is not news. Now there are platforms and ways to document what has ALWAYS been going on. The fight for equality and equity in our stratified society has been the women's suffrage movement, the LGBTQIA* movement, civil rights, etc. Know that none of those movements has ended or will end until people do not have their identities counted against them in post tangible (loans, housing, access to education, jobs etc.) and intangible ways (undermining, silencing, hypervisbility & invisibility in spaces). These marginalized communities have been aware of their humanity from genesis, and now they are asking, no demanding, and rightfully so, that those who benefit from their erasure, oppression, and subordination recognize their inherent humanity. That's it.

That is the daily task to hold an identity that is not valued in all facets of society. It is proving your worth, no scratch that, your humanity to others who are unable to recognize it. It is only by denying our humanity that the atrocities both big and small people face can be justified. I need people to stop tone policing others. We are quite capable of understanding what people are conveying to us whether it is perfectly packaged according to Eurocentric masculine standards of respectability, that is even-toned, decisive, and emotionless, or not. It is an abysmal cop out to write off the entirety of someone's story because they display emotions in speaking. What we want is really for them to not be speaking, to lower the pitch of their suffering, to check the tone of their oppression. We want them to shut up, sit still, and to neither be seen, nor heard so we don't have to acknowledge that their reality is genuine. We criticize the delivery of those most impacted because in actuality what they say does shatters our belief about our society, our lives, and us. It is an interruption. It makes us uncomfortable. It makes us scared. It's the underlying motive of those who yell back "all lives matter" but who are nowhere to be found in making that statement a truth. It's saying "my life matters" because they know what is going on across this country, and they do not want to be mistreated, profiled, harassed, shunned, belittled, battered, beaten, destroyed, or killed the way people of color, women, queer and trans peoples, people with disabilities, people of low socioeconomic status, people with mental illnesses, people of diverse religious backgrounds, etc. are. It's fear by proximity. No change is on the agenda, just a desire to avoid the same fate bestowed upon others.
The #blacklivesmatter movement has been misappropriated, misconstrued, and misunderstood. Read the founder's statements and know what their mission was/is before it was co-opted by media, radicals, and antagonists. Regardless of its delivery, the intent has been nothing more than calling for national reform in concrete ways that give dignity, respect, and humanity to black people, people of color, and all marginalized identities, because all oppression is linked. I'll speak for myself here. I do not hate the police, I do not hate white people,  etc. Hate only breeds hate. I would not wish the injustices I and people who look like me, and even more who don't have faced in our society. I do not want the responsibility or weight of knowing/being ignorant of other people's humanity on my heart or soul. I do not want the blood of slain people on my hands. What I do abhor is the systems, stereotypes, stigmas, narratives, representations, etc. that allow certain populations to cause harm, in all senses of the word, without accountability. I do not want the downfall of anyone, I want the uplifting of all those made to be lesser. I want reform, change, and dynamic reconstruction of institutions, systems, and cultural norms to be inclusive, to celebrate diversity, and appreciate difference. I want equity until we can have equality. I have hope and faith. I want peace and love. I want to be treated with the same humanity bestowed upon those who have always mattered; nothing more and nothing less. There is room enough in this world for all of us if we are willing to remove barriers, shift cultures, and dismantle toxic belief systems that separate us. X

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