America has, and likely will forever be, completely divided despite all of its people seeking to take advantage of the promises it makes. The freedoms, the peace, the unity (which is in our name), the never ending opportunity and so on and so forth. And yet, headlines and articles are riddled day in and day out with news of our black citizens being murdered, mishandled, mistreated and silenced.
Many of these stories bring about horrifying arguments when we find out the hand that deals such torture belongs to our police officers. In 1963, the Los Angeles Police Academy adopted the motto “To Protect and Serve.” That is their duty and what they instill into their trainees. Now, that has become the mantra for American Police in general (I would venture to guess the reason that motto has made it through the grapevine is likely because throughout time, police officers in America have had to defend their questionable behavior, it’s easier to do so when it sounds like you’re doing your job, but I’ll save the analysis of the nuances of a 4 word sentence for another post).
Now, this begs the question, what do police protect and serve?
The words “policy” and “police” both come from the medieval Latin word “politia” which means citizenship or government. As language has evolved and developed, globalization takes place and modernity rears its head- Policy becomes another word for rules or laws and police becomes the term for a person whose job it is to protect us. But they are, originally, the same word.
Here is my point: The police do not protect and serve the American people. The police protect and serve the policies they are employed to enforce. The policies put in place by old, racist, white American leaders of yesterday. How could ANY person enforcing laws in a country that was not created for people of color to succeed possibly be morally just?
By what moral code do we employ these people? There is no argument to be made that a cop is ever justified for shooting and killing a person without reason. Period. But, whether inadvertently or purposefully they’re fulfilling their duties of enforcing policies and laws that are meant to oppress populations of our American people. At the end of the day police answer to people the same way a cashier answers to their manager. Police are not autonomous, they do not govern themselves. They may not be told to go out and shoot a person at the start of every day, but they do report back to higher ups and they are employees of their states.
I’m not urging anyone to stop protesting or to change their feelings about police in any capacity, that is everyone’s right and I am with you. But, their is a bigger picture here and there are many, many more people responsible who should also be protested against and the political system in general will need to be upended and changed in order for EVERYONE to flourish in the freedoms of America, as promised.