Chapter eight, “The Militarization of Everything,” was so very hard for me to read. My very first post on this blog was about Michael Brown Jr. and seeing his name is always a painful reminder. I wish this chapter had come with a trigger warning.
As I mentioned before, I recently did a project on how conversations of race evolved over time for a single online journal. There was an article I read called “That Camera Won’t Save You! The Spectacular Consumption of Police Violence.” To summarize this article, I wrote,
“Police brutality cases are spread across the internet, they “go viral,” and yet they still occur, most times without indictments. So, what makes us so sure that police body cameras will ensure a change? What makes us so sure that footage from these cameras will make a difference instead of just becoming another source of viral “entertainment?” As a society, we have become increasingly desensitized to the violence we see on TV. These are the questions and points that Towns makes with this article. He also explores how we see and process black mothers. To conclude, Towns explains that cameras, of all kinds, normalize antiblack violence and make the murder of black bodies profitable.”
Witnessing black and brown bodies laying dead in the streets month after month, year after year is traumatizing. While society is being desensitized, black and brown people across the nation are weeping, mourning. We have been forced teach our children how to raise heir hands above their heads, to say “yes sir, no sir,” to make sure their hoods are not over their heads, to make sure they do not come off as “aggressive,” to never reach inside their pockets, to hope and pray that if they are ever stopped by a cop, they will be seen as human beings.
“This history of policing in the United States is a history of inequality; certain groups, defined by race, ethnicity, or political views, must be controlled, while others quite literally get away with murder” (229).
We watch as racist headlines turn against us. We watch as black children are described as “too big, too manly” and grown white men turn into “boys, just a kid who made a mistake.” We watch as yet another murderer goes free. We watch as an army patrols the streets. Officers with shields, various weapons, tanks, armor. Our streets are turn into war zones. Our playgrounds are turned into burial grounds.
Then, suddenly, all is calm. Weeks pass. All is calm. Until the next time. There is always a next time.