by Kaitlyn J. Selman and Cori J. Farrow [featured image by Pete Railand] Visionary fiction writer Walidah Imarisha says, “We live in a quantum universe—the possibilities are endless. The way systems of power maintain themselves is to deny us that and to tell us …
by Dylan Rodríguez
The recent and unfortunate statement by Ford Foundation president Darren Walker, “In Defense of Nuance,” defends and affirms the condition of domestic warfare popularly known (though misnamed) as “mass incarceration.” (The “mass” of “mass incarceration” is not an undifferentiated cross-section of the US demography, but is in fact a targeted, profiled, carcerally segregated population that reflects the nation’s racial chattel and racial-colonial foundations and their present tense continuities.) We should be clear that Walker’s missive ignores, dismisses, or otherwise trivializes and caricatures a thriving and growing body of abolitionist scholarship and collective praxis that is rigorously challenging the cultural and political premises of policing, criminalization, and incarceration as normalized protocols of gendered racist state violence in the United States and elsewhere.
Caption this: white ladies hugging Black cops in pussyhats. It goes deeper than the multiculturalist perfection of absorbing a racialized threat as justification for the continued exploitation of those deemed unassimilable. A Black man donning a uniform and a pussyhat at once obscures and reveals the historical relation of the symbols he now sports. This is what an analysis of heteropatriarchal white supremacy must account for, and what carceral psychology cannot. Literally embracing cops illustrates the ongoing investment in police as “benevolent” masters over an abstract notion of safety that criminalizes people of color. A system rooted in racialized social control cannot get an antiracist makeover through a few public dialogues between cops and community members. As Tariq Khan writes, “Heartwarming Barbecues and Hugging Cops Ain’t the Solution.” This obsession with individual acts of peace-making with cops is the liberal face of carceral psychology.
by Durham Beyond Policing
We have been told over and over again that there are “good cops”. Everyday Black people in Durham are targeted by police. Nearly 80% of people held at the Durham County Jail are Black while Durham is only 40% Black. Is that the role of “good cops”? To fill our jails with Black people? Is the role of a “good cop” to disproportionately stop and search Black drivers in Durham? Is the role of a “good cop” to detain and deport family members? Is the role of a “good cop” to murder Black people in Durham without any consequences? Kenny Bailey, Levante Biggs, Frank Clark, these people are not disposable. None of us are disposable.