We look around our neighborhoods, witnessing despair and desperately wanting a solution. But the police aren’t it. They are not disciplinarians. They are agents of the state whom we have authorized to use force, often with impunity, against mostly black youth. But when you believe the answer to “these kids are bad” is police intervention, and then don’t take into account what those interactions often entail—harassment and disrespect, sometimes violence—you’re damning those children even further. Instead of pushing for more police intervention, while simultaneously chastising black youth for their behavior (much of which is not, or should not be, criminal), we need to find the political will to invest in the things that actually work. Affordable housing, recreation, education, food security. These are things that will build the type of neighborhoods and communities we want to see.
US police force was modeled after the British Metropolitan Police structure ; however, the modus operandi –especially when policing poor working class, migrant, brown and black neighborhoods- in the present, resembles the procedures of the 18th century Southern slave patrols, which developed from colonial slave codes in slave-holding European settlements in the early 1600s.
Essentially every colony in the western hemisphere, be it French, Spanish, Portuguese or English, had difficulties when it came to controlling its slave population and designed similar systems to manage the problem.
As early as the 1530s, runaway Indigenous and African slaves already presented a problem for Spanish invaders in the regions now known as México, Cuba and Perú. Some of the first recognized precursors of slave patrols deployed in the 1530s were the volunteer militia Santa Hermandad or the Holly Brotherhood, which chased fugitives in Cuba. The Hermandad had been established in Spain in the 15th century to repress crime in rural areas and then transferred to the Spanish colonies. The Hermandad was later replaced by expert slave hunters known as rancheadores, who regularly employed brutal tactics. These slave catchers used ferocious dogs to capture escapees. In Perú, enslaved and free blacks “owned by the municipality of private individuals” aided the Spaniard Cuadrilleros in Lima in the apprehension of runaways starting around the 1540s.
Administrators of the Spanish and Portuguese empires passed laws to handle slave-related situations, including the capture and punishment of renegades. Eventually, every Caribbean island and mainland settlements created their own rules and regulations and used a combination of former slaves, paid slave catchers, and the militia as apprehenders, all of them forerunners of patrols.
By the 1640s, Barbados, an English colony, had put in place a formal military structure which included white males, obviously but also indentured servants and even free blacks whose primary functions were patrolling slaves and protecting the island of foreign attacks.
“Though there be no enemy abroad, the keeping of slaves in subjection must still be provided for.” - Barbados Governor Willoughby
History repeats itself and repeats again. That is not to say we cannot change these cycles, making new ones that perpetuate the things that can work for us and not for Them.
But the 8-hour workday is too profitable for big business, not because of the amount of work people get done in eight hours (the average office worker gets less than three hours of actual work done in 8 hours) but because it makes for such a purchase-happy public. Keeping free time scarce means people pay a lot more for convenience, gratification, and any other relief they can buy. It keeps them watching television, and its commercials. It keeps them unambitious outside of work.
We’ve been led into a culture that has been engineered to leave us tired, hungry for indulgence, willing to pay a lot for convenience and entertainment, and most importantly, vaguely dissatisfied with our lives so that we continue wanting things we don’t have. We buy so much because it always seems like something is still missing.
I used to think I was the strangest person in the world, but then I thought there are so many people in the world, there must be someone just like me who feels bizarre and flawed in the same ways I do. I would imagine her, and imagine that she must be out there thinking of me too. Well, I hope that if you are out there and read this and know that yes, it’s true I’m here, and I’m just as strange as you.
hahaha that’s cool :)
S - Sunshowers - M.I.A.
Y - Ya Halali Ya Mali - Mohammed Assaf
N - Nicki Minaj & Trey Songs - Bottoms Up
D - Double Bubble Trouble - M.I.A.
I - I AM A GOD - Kanye West
K - Kimnotyze - Lil Kim & Dj Tomek
K - Kelis - Milkshake
A - Art Groupie - Grace Jones
T - T-PAIN ft B.o.B - Up Down (Do this all day)
Oh shit AND you put a Grace Jones track on there