“I’ve said this before: there is no justice where there are dead black people. I’ll continue saying it, because if we’re satisfied with charges and potential prison time, we’ve missed the entire point of #BlackLivesMatter. This isn’t about getting ‘better’ police, ones who exercise discretion in using force, but getting away from ‘needing’ police altogether.
In 1966, James Baldwin wrote for The Nation: ‘…the police are simply the hired enemies of this population. They are present to keep the Negro in his place and to protect white business interests, and they have no other function.’ This remains as true today as it was in 1966, only now we have bought into the myth of police ‘serving and protecting’ wholesale. What do you do with an institution whose core function is the control and elimination of black people specifically, and people of color and the poor more broadly?
You abolish it…
When I say, ‘abolish the police,’ I’m usually asked what I would have us replace them with. My answer is always full social, economic, and political equality, but that’s not what’s actually being asked. What people mean is ‘who is going to protect us?’ Who protects us now? If you’re white and well-off, perhaps the police protect you. The rest of us, not so much. What use do I have for an institution that routinely kills people who look like me, and make it so I’m afraid to walk out of my home?”