It feels like every week, another story appears in our newsfeeds about an unarmed Black man being killed by law enforcement officers.
Another name. Another hashtag.
Our country is hurting. Emotions are running deep. We are a nation divided.
However, where in the past I have watched responses to crises like these fall distinctly along racial lines, I now see more and more of my fellow white folk willing to consider that there may be more to these stories than we previously thought.
Below are some resources for us to learn more about the intersection of race and law enforcement in America.
Some of what I post or recommend will be a critique of the history, culture, and practices of police departments, as well as the entire U.S. justice system, of which they are a part.
Most of what I write will not be against, or even about, individual law enforcement officers. However, the system they are a part of is, in many places, corrupt, broken, and unjust. And that needs to be addressed.
As a white person in America, I was raised to believe that our system of laws (and its enforcers) are for me. As long as I obey those laws, comply with officers of the law, and entrust myself to the legal system, I will be treated fairly. And that has been my lived experience.
But that has not been the history or lived experience of my friends of color.
As white Americans, we need to interrogate our beliefs about how the American justice system works, and catch up on huge swaths of history that were white-washed out of the textbooks we read in school.
Check out the resources below to learn more.
ORGANIZATIONS TO SUPPORT AND LEARN FROM:
- Campaign Zero
- Black Lives Matter
- Equal Justice Initiative
- The Marshall Project
- The Sentencing Project
I also highly recommend finding and getting involved with local organizations doing work to stop police violence near you.
ARTICLES TO READ:
- Police Forces Are Sending A Message To Black Suburban Residents: You’re Not Wanted by Albert Samaha
- Why Cops Shoot by Ben Montgomery
- I Was A Racist Cop by Randy Shrewsberry
- I’m A Black Ex-cop, And This Is The Real Truth About Race and Policing by Redditt Hudson
- Aren’t More White People Than Black People Killed by Police? Yes, But No. by Wesley Lowery
- 15 Things Your City Can Do Right Now to End Police Brutality by Zak Cheney Rice
- Someone Else Was Killed By The Police On My Timeline. What Can I Do? by Derecka Purnell
- The Only Solution Is to Defund the Police by Alex S. Vitale
VIDEO PLAYLIST: Race + Law Enforcement
R+JE POSTS TO READ:
- The Origin and Evolution of Law Enforcement in the U.S. (Part 1)
- The Origin and Evolution of Law Enforcement in the U.S. (Part 2)
- The Origin and Evolution of Law Enforcement in the U.S. (Part 3)
MOVIES + DOCUMENTARIES TO WATCH:
- When They See Us (available on Netflix)
- The Hate U Give
- Fruitvale Station (available to rent)
- Slavery By Another Name
- Do Not Resist (available to rent)
INDIVIDUAL PODCASTS TO LISTEN TO:
- The Systems That Protect The Police (The Daily)
- The Case For Defunding The Police (The Daily)
- Why Are The Police Attacking Protestors? (The Daily)
- From Freddie Gray To George Floyd: Wes Moore Says It’s Time To ‘Change The Systems’ (Fresh Air)
- Policing Is An ‘Avatar Of American Racism,’ Marshall Project Journalist Says (Fresh Air)
- Brooklyn Borough President On Fighting Police Brutality From The Inside (Fresh Air)
- The Militarization of Police (Fresh Air)
PODCAST SERIES TO LISTEN TO:
- The Code Switch Guide To Race and Policing
- Undisclosed (Season 2): The Killing of Freddie Gray
- 74 Seconds
BOOKS TO READ:
- The Black And The Blue by Matthew Horace
- Between The World And Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates
- The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
- The End of Policing by Alex S. Vitale
- Zeitoun by Dave Eggers
- Slavery By Another Name by Douglas A. Blackmon