Mar 7, 2023
When we first released this episode, it was roughly two months after George Floyd had been murdered by the police and it was perhaps the first time that non-Black Americans, and in particular, White Americans, realized that this police violence wasn’t isolated to a few communities, but indeed was a national problem.
And now we’re sitting here, a month after Tyre Nichols was murdered by the police, and thought it was important to revisit this topic based on the discussions that we’ve been hearing, and reading, on the topic of police. We’re now 2.5 years away from this original recording - how have your own thoughts on the police changed since that point?
In the end: the history of policing in our country is America’s history. If we don’t understand this history, we won’t be able to keep ALL of our communities safe in the future.
What to listen for:
The colonial form of policing, and how informal it was at the very beginning.
Who funded the police force in 19th century America - and what they wanted the police to focus on protecting? Hint: motivations split between Northern and Southern lines.
Given this, what do YOU think? Can an organization with roots like this be race-blind in its policies and actions? If not, what would it take to change?
We offer some personal histories as we reflect on policing, and how ordinary people can make a difference.
If you want more, we mention this episode of NPR’s THROUGHLINE a lot here.