Exposing murderous police can enlighten white people
The police are estimated to kill three white people and two Black people every day.
The U.S. Government does not compile or publish annual statistics on the number of people killed by the police. The Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health states, “no reliable data exist on the number of persons killed by the police” (December 8, 2015). There are estimates of over 2,000 killed per year, and the respected web site “The Counted” reported 1,146 killed by police in 2015, 581 of these people killed by the police where white. To this day, The U.S. Government, which is arguably influenced by money, has refused to compel police departments to keep records of those killed, despite the fact that it has been known for decades that police departments have a bloody history of lies, cover-ups, intimidation and violence reinforced by a code of silence. Thus the U.S. Government is complicit in keeping hidden the true numbers of those murdered by the police every day.
To better understand the roots of the murderous police, we must return to the early history of the American Colonies. The first slavery in the U.S. was debt slavery and the first so-called bond slaves brought to America were English men and women. The Virginia census of 1624/25 listed 507 English bond slaves and only 23 Negro bond slaves. There was an armed rebellion in 1676, the first rebellion in the American colonies, led by Nathaniel Bacon. It was an alliance between mostly English and African bond slaves against the brutality of their conditions. Fearful of another rebellion against their rule, the Virginia colonialists, those who could vote, rich English men and landowners who would go on to become our Founding Fathers, passed a series of laws known as the Virginia Slave Codes of 1705, which then spread rapidly throughout the colonies to become the law of the land.
The Slave Codes stripped from Blacks the rights they previously held and legalized violence, terror, segregation, and lies. The “Christian white people” and the African Americans were subjected to the propaganda of white supremacy. These laws were designed to break the natural bond of solidarity between English and African laborers and prevent rebellion. Each spring and fall the new laws were read out in every Church in the land, the first propaganda to control the public mind. Two odious examples are: the law prohibiting the mating of English and Negroes as producing “abominable mixture,” and the law subjecting Negroes to thirty lashes at the public whipping post for “lifting his or her hand” against any European American.1
Enforcing these slave laws was the job of the Slave Patrols. Following Bacon’s Rebellion, the wealthy landowners, the top one percent of their day, created and funded the Slave Patrols in 1727, which were established by the military academy of their time. Their job was to protect slavery, and racial hierarchy while preventing rebellion. Slave Patrols where uniformed and armed, with the right to search, detain, arrest, whip and kill. These Patrols became the model upon which was built the modern police departments some one hundred years later.
The Supreme Court in 1985 granted police the authority to use deadly force in every state in the nation (Tennessee vs. Garner). Today our modern police force is protected by laws in many ways similar to the Slave Patrols. Just as the rich landowners made the laws for the slave patrols, today also “the political system is sensitive only to the needs of the wealthy.”2 The top one percent has immense influence over legislation and thus the state laws governing police practice. States have passed laws to protect the police. One such law is the Maryland 1974 “Law Enforcement Officers’ Bill of Rights,” which protects the police against charges of excessive force and murder. The courts have also extended the power of the police to stop, search and arrest. Marked similarities can also be seen in the power of the now highly militarized modern police and the Slave Patrols in maintaining the racial social hierarchy. In full knowledge of decades of proof that police departments have a history of lies, racism, brutality, cover-ups and a code of silence, the Supreme Court has gone on to “eviscerate Fourth Amendment protections against unreasonable searches and seizures by the police.” Additionally, “it is constitutionally permissible to stop question and frisk…even in the absence of probable cause.” In 1987 the Supreme Court ruled “that racial bias would be tolerated-virtually to any degree—so long as no one admitted it.”3
Michelle Alexander writes, “I no longer believe that we can “fix” the police.”4 This is because the system has, for the last 300 years, maintained at its heart racist police terror, a deliberate design by and for the top one percent. This system of racial hierarchy also provides us with: ten million whites living in poverty, along with ten million Blacks. Millions more are unemployed, underemployed and homeless.
What is needed is a total transformation to an egalitarian society, free of racial hierarchy. Such a transformation can begin with a body blow to the core of the system, when white people in larger and larger numbers see the need to join the movement against racist police murder.
Whites will not be free from killer cops until Blacks are also free.
—Dr. Nayvin Gordon, October 19, 2016
1 The Invention of the White Race, Theodore W. Allen, pg.250-251
2 Scientific American, September 2016
3 The New Jim Crow—Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindess by Michelle Alexander, pg. 61,63,109
4 “Something More is Required,” by Michelle Alexander, Socialist Viewpoint, July/August 2016