Q & A on Race and Police Brutality: Responses to White Friends

  1. How Do You Think This Started (Police Brutality on Black People)?

Well if you must know, everything starts from slavery. Now, you’ll probably say that, “Slavery is over and it’s no longer a problem anymore,” and before you do I want to say, “So is the Civil War, and the Confederate flags still wave; So is the Holocaust and Germany still has American military bases there; So is WW2 in general, and Hiroshima and Nagasaki is still infected.” All this to say, simply, the past affects the present.  In fact, not only does the past affect the present, but this specific historical occurrence is the birth of blackness. This doesn’t even go on to mention America’s Jim Crow Era that came directly after slavery, and then, the fight for civil rights that came during and after that, then, the unfair discrimination that emerged in various sectors of America via de-facto discrimination, i.e. housing markets, war on drugs and mass incarceration, police brutality, etc. Nonetheless, police brutality, in a certain sense, started with slavery through the physicalization of brutality on the black body and the creation of various black myths. I will talk specifically about the perpetuated stereotype and outright brutal discrimination of the “black male brute” and “the black matriarch” which still permeates through most of society today. The logic that all black men are athletic, hypermasculine, and brutish is not only false, but it is also detrimental to the outlook and view of black men. The logic that all black women are negative, attitudish, and angry is not only false, but detrimental to the societal outlook and view of black women. Since the ideology is so fixed in the culture of America, it becomes so difficult to break that even if I present statistics showing the contrary to your views, it doesn’t stack up with any strength against the ideological bloc of “black hypermasculinity” or, “black female negativity.” This is because the idea of the black male and female being this brutish slave and thus as Fanon calls it, “in the zone of nonbeing” (not-truly-human insofar as what is human is what is white) are so entrenched in our society that they hold more significant weight in your thoughts than anything that proves the contrary; and this ideology started during slavery and continues to this day through media perceptions and household dialogues.

  1. How does this relate to police brutality?

White police have a set of fears, misunderstandings, and an embedded (due to the position and due to their whiteness) sense of superiority of, and over, black men and women, especially potentially criminal black men and women because of the idea that they are more brutish, more deadly, more masculine, more angry, more dangerous, and less human. So it is easier to deal with them with weaponry and force than with proper, humane police procedures. For not only are you a “potential criminal,” you are a potential black criminal, which truly is a double criminalization. Now, before we go on: This is only about police brutality on behalf of blacks. And if there must be a shout out to my white brothas and sistas who are also, as you insist upon making known, persecuted, here it is: The police brutality, I believe, generally occurs under the similar feelings on behalf of the officer, i.e. fear, superiority, and misunderstanding. But, the fact of the matter is these three factors in police brutality are increased for blacks because police often are white persons, who live outside these predominantly black neighborhoods, but have superiority over these black neighborhoods, and henceforth, they struggle greater from their feelings of fear, superiority, and misunderstanding. The police are therefore overseers on a plantation that isn’t their own.

  1. Do I think that the black community has any responsibility for why they are being targeted?

First and foremost, we have to understand white supremacy capitalist patriarchy and the effects it has on the social structures that provide limited options for black persons and the effects it has on the unconscious internalization of the white ideals for black people. White supremacy capitalist patriarchy formulates and maintains institutional racism that binds and confines black people into certain neighborhoods, certain opportunities, and certain disadvantages. By this institutional racism, blacks are given very limited options to succeed and break through the white supremacy capitalist patriarchal glass ceiling. However, this is why feminism, specifically black feminism, is so important for black men and women because it attempts to break free the psychological chains of the binding structures of that patriarchal thinking that originates in white structures and assist in the persecution of black lives. Henceforth, what occurs because of these structures is an internalization of these white supremacy capitalist patriarchy ideals. This internalization, then, facilitates participation in certain acts, competitions, and actions of “surreal manhood” by men. And, considering that much of what truly personifies this hypermasculinity is not obtainable or feasible by a poor, urban youth, much of the criminalization of black men is an exertion or an attempt to measure up to this ideal. For what defines masculinity more than provider, guardian, and/or strongman? And “what will drive a man more insane,” than not being able to provide for his family, protect himself, or his family? And “what will drive a man more insane” than not being able to live up to the idea that a man must be athletic and with that must be strong? For example, the goal of being an athlete is the goal of being a beacon of American masculinity, which many black kids wish to become, but when this reality falters, then what are they left with to express their masculinity? School and its cycle of obedience has often been considered “feminine”, but however, I digress.

These structures oppress black women far more, especially since they can often become an objectified tool to which black men attempt to exemplify the ideal masculinity. The condition of black women in America, however, would be much greater explained by a black women; therefore, I shall leave it in their hands to explain themselves to you. And leave it to you to find ways of doing so.In conclusion, once again, do blacks have any responsibility in them being targeted? In a way, yes, but that responsibility exist only because structural determinism doesn’t. However, structural influence plays the most influential role on the racialization of criminal activities. This participation in the illegal becomes an attempt to produce the white supremacy capitalist patriarchal ideals of masculinity and to provide for a family or oneself. So this participation after internalization is a case in which blacks are responsible, because they could do something different, but you can’t even begin to offer that as an option without considering the minuscule extraneous options offered or, the potential consequences of them potentially choosing against the illegal. And if you make such an accusation, you are then, “attacking a deeply rooted issue by just poking at the surface,” as you’ve probably heard before.


***Two black revolutionary women bloggers that I know personally who never shy away from the political:

Korey Johnson

Bilphena Yaewhon

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