Activism

Too Radical-Or Not Radical Enough?

The main critique I would have of the liberal/left/BLM approach is not that their perspective is “too radical” but that it is not radical enough. Much of this kind of activism is focused solely on police killings and the racial disparities involved. Fair enough. Murder by cop is a bigger deal than vandalism or perjury by cop. Of course, black folks and the civil rights-oriented left are going to emphasize racial disparities. But the critique of the police state shouldn’t stop there.

A wider emphasis should be on police misconduct generally, not just murder by a cop (which is obviously the most egregious, but hardly the limit) along with overcriminalization generally. Many from these milieus lament mass incarceration.  But how many of them really challenge the wider apparatus of criminalization that exists at every level of government and, unlike “official” misconduct by the police, actually has the sanction of the state behind it? And emphasizing that anyone can be attacked by the police state is important to the actual building of the resistance.

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  1. Another problem is that BLM and their allies never acknowledge disproportionate black-on-white crime. In fact, they pretend it is nonexistent.

    • There is also black-on-black crime, which is statistically horrific. My experience has been that black activists and white leftists regard police brutality as a collective attack on the black community, with black-on-black crime being an in-house/intra-mural problem, and fear that calling attention to disproportional rates of white-on-black crime will fuel racism toward blacks. I tend to think the opposite is true, i.e. effort by black activists and white leftists to reduce both black-on-black crime and black-on-white crime, while continuing to oppose police brutality and “hate crimes,” would reduce racial animus toward blacks because black activists and white leftists would be seen as paying attention to these issues and making an effort to address such problems in a reasonable and equitable manner.

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