Reclaim All Lives Matter, End Police Brutality

Of course all lives matter, nobody in Black Lives Matter has said differently. The simple phrase has become, however, something that people hide behind to avoid addressing the uncomfortable realities of racism in American society. I would like to reclaim that phrase. Oppressed groups have long reclaimed the words that are used to oppress them e.g. nigger, bitch, faggot, queer. I want to use it to show that police militarization and brutality are not just black issues. All people of color, no matter how respectable they think they are, are subject to this brutality. The statistics for police violence against native Americans and Latino Americans are proportionately way higher than incidents of police violence against whites. Whites have long seen the police as protectors and well off whites call on police more than twice as often as member of minority groups to protect their persons or property. The recent Amy Cooper incident wherein a white women purposely lied to police about a black man simply to get her way, is only the latest incident in which whites use the police structure against nonwhites. By now it is probably not even the most recent. White women fraudulently claiming to be attacked, disrespected or raped has led to lynchings, imprisonment, beatings and murders of black people for hundreds of years. The current internet memes of “Karen” (that is white women) calling police to complain about black folk simply going about their business, are all too common. White males have not only used the police to enforce white superiority, but as the black man Ahmaud Arbery shot dead while jogging in southeast Georgia shows, they have taken vigilante actions themselves.

Note however that whites themselves have been the victims of police brutality too. White LGBTQ groups have long been the target of police violence. The police violence¬† (using rubber bullets, tear gas, and shields as battering rams,) has most recently been turned against white protestors. Rural and poor whites even have a mythology about fleeing the police exemplified by the “Dukes of Hazzard” for example. While a disproportionate number people of color are killed by the police, the police still kill more whites than blacks each year. The whites safest against police violence are those who show up at state capitals armed to the teeth.¬†Ninety five percent of police killings of whites occur in neighborhoods where people earn less than $100,000 annually. There is thus a class bias in police killings. There is also a regional bias: people in Oklahoma had 6 times more police killings than Georgia in 2015 for example. Police killings have actually decreased in big cities and increased in suburban and rural areas. In 2019 there were only 27 days in the year on which the police didn’t kill someone. Let that one sink in for a minute. Whites who mock George Floyd are most likely not police supporters but racists who are willing to support things against their own interests to bolster their beliefs of black inferiority and white superiority.

Yet, only 1% of police are even indicted for police killings. The decrease in police killings in the big cities show that methods can be introduced to improve the situation. Shining the media’s light on the police can help the situation only if the people we elect to positions of power decide to do something. “Logical” police want to end police brutality because it prevents community support and makes their jobs harder. Tragically, entrenched police culture, police unions, wimpy civilian oversight, and timid politicians make reform difficult. If you truly believe that “All Lives Matter,” then you should work to end police brutality. If you, like the president, believe that police should meet the public with force, then brutality will happen and you don’t truly believe that all lives matter. You are lying to yourself. It is that simple.

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