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By Scotty T. Reid
Before going into the issues concerning abolishing the police, abolishing prisons, and the incorrect conclusion that policing and prisons are rooted in White Supremacy, let’s give Colin Kaepernick his due and recognize his sacrifice to elevate a nation’s consciousness on matters of the intersection of race and the police state.
My criticism of the ideology of abolishing prisons and police which isn’t new but has gained traction in political discourse over the past several years as documented by the award-winning podcast New Abolitionists Radio is not an attack on Kaepernick the man but rather an intellectual challenge to the conclusions he and others before him have come to that abolishing said governmental institutions is the solution to address issues in those institutions.
Over the next month, Kaepernick wrote that he hopes that readers will confront the “white supremacist underpinnings of policing and prisons and the state-sanctioned oppression, destruction, and execution of Black and Indigenous people and people of color.”
“Another world is possible, a world grounded in love, justice, and accountability, a world grounded in safety and good health, a world grounded in meeting the needs of the people,” he concluded. “Abolition now. Abolition for the people.”
I fully believe in abolition as a prison slavery abolitionist looking at the fact that slavery was never abolished. It is true the police or law enforcement enforced the laws that regulated slavery like the Fugitive Slave Act. Yes, it is true that the police grew out of the community slave patrols made up usually of poor non-land owning whites. We no longer have slave patrols, they were abolished after the American Civil War but what replaced them were police who enforcing a new form of slavery made possible by the 13th Amendment which represents the North’s over-eagerness to appease the states and people who supported the Confederacy and allow them to maintain slavery by another name.
Racism isn’t the root of policing, policing has been used as a function of population control. The root of both racism and policing is slavery which proceeded the legal codification of race in the 1600s.
Abolishing the police will never happen, its a pipe dream in a society with so much gun violence and as Kaepernick intimated community solutions, well quite frankly, a portion of the gun violence in the community could be described as vigilantism where you kill my homeboy so I kill you and your homeboys. I also do not believe the majority of US citizens will buy into abolishing prisons. I do think there is a chance we can transform these spaces by reducing societies’ reliance on them and creating humane conditions for those who have committed heinous crimes against persons that seek to treat the underlying conditions of how people become rapists, murderers, and robbers.
I am looking forward to reading the essays that will be presented by Mr. Kaepernick and breaking down whatever is put forth.
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