By Leonard Adame
Here’s the thing about a society that ignores police brutality. It sews the seeds of fascism, and that terrible ideology will destroy anyone that doesn’t totally adhere to its requirements: extreme nationalism, more and more concentration of wealth among ruthless oligarchs, and eventually the arbitrary imprisonment of those who dissent.
Despite the preceding, most of us, especially upper-class White people, believe that they will never be beaten or shot by a cop. This happens in most nations on their way to totalitarianism. This means, of course, that the people who believe themselves above the brutality of the cops, including many people of color, also think themselves superior to people of color and the poor in general. After all, they pay taxes, go to work every day and go to church, leaving behind more than a few dollars. All of which proves that cops would have no reason to hurt them. Well, one thing is for sure, having white skin is somewhat of a protection against cop bigotry. Still, poor Whites are getting beaten more and more. But mostly, it’s people of color who suffer profoundly the brutality from cops.
I say this again: This violence occurs because too many people live smug, even delusional, lives, think themselves superior, and that if a person gets beaten and arrested, he or she must have done something to deserve the violence. Even if that were true, no one deserves to be mistreated inhumanely. The fact that cops mostly get away with their brutality tells us that in fact Black lives don’t matter. How could they if a country’s citizens ignore the out-of-control cops?
The genesis of racism and brutality and slavery in this country began the moment Europeans slogged ashore in this hemisphere. They brought with them the worst of White culture: superiority, bias, arrogance, greed and a keen sense, so they’ve said over and over throughout history, that God approves of their actions. In fact, Thomas Jefferson led the charge of Manifest Destiny, a doctrine that he said was sanctioned by God and which allowed him to acquire more and more territory, killing indigenous people if he had to.
You’d think that people like Jefferson, with their professed love of democracy and justice and rule of law would know better. But it turned out that those principles applied only to wealthy White people, who in turn became oligarchs. Keep in mind Jefferson, for all of his egalitarianism, was a slave owner, and we can be sure he had notions that he was superior and blessed because he was rich and White.
Until citizens understand that it’s their own arrogance that’s causing the beatings and deaths by ruthless cops that are lining the road to fascism, these terrible things will continually get worse. And we can be sure that one day, the militarized cops will turn on the White upper class. The Nazis did.
Leonard Adame has retired from teaching college English. He now plays drums in various bands, takes photographs, reads mystery novels to a fault and has published poetry in college anthologies. He most enjoys re-learning about human beings from his grandkids. Contact him at giganteescritor@ hotmail.com.