Hands Up, Don’t Shoot

“Violence and brutality have always defined the police’s relationship to African Americans. There is no “golden age” of policing to which elected officials can point, and there is little reason for optimism that American police can truly be reformed.”

In Chapter 4 of “From #BlackLivesMatter to Black Liberation,” Taylor discusses the relationship between the police and the black community in America, and its historical relevance. She brings up an interesting point about how the long standing relationship between the two social groups has always been negative. We are now living in what most Black scholars call the “New Jim Crow” era, due to the immense arrest rates within the black community. Not only the arrest rates, but when looking at the murder rates of black men at the hands of officers, it is important to note the amount of force that is almost always involved. Taylor reminds us of the comparison of police brutality among most developed nations, giving the numbers of police shootings of each nation in the past seven years with the US at a record 7,427, Canada at 78, England at four, Germany at zero, and China at 12 (130). These numbers are outrageous. They show that the police force in this nation is by far more endangering to the people than it is helpful. The level of force police are using to serve the community is more than any other nation, even communist nations. As police funding has been increased, the methods of policing seem to be getting more militarized. People should not be dying for running. If unarmed, people should be treated as such, not like violent animals. This is the reason for Black Lives Matter. Black people are the main target for such violent and unhinged aggression by police.

I shouldn’t have to be terrified if I get pulled over. I shouldn’t be afraid for my life ¬†or anyone I care about when I see a police car on the street. People who don’t understand the historical relationship with black people and the police will always argue “if you abide, you won’t get hurt.” Ignorance is not bliss, and it’s not attractive. Police have not always presented themselves within the black community as a force of service, but more as a force of surveil.