Did you know that the police’s original mandate in the Southern United States in the late 1800s was to protect slavemasters and plantation owners’ rights?
“In the History of Policing in America,” author Gary Potter explains that the first formal slave patrol was created in the Carolina colonies in 1704 for three primary functions: To chase down, apprehend, and return to their owners, runaway slaves; to provide a form of organized terror to deter slave revolts; and to maintain a form of discipline for slave-workers if they violated any plantation rules.
“Following the Civil War, these vigilante-style organizations evolved into the modern police force,” Potter said. Their duties later evolved in Boston and other industrial areas as protection for the factory owners and industrialists, the most powerful in society.
Throughout history, the more powerful races have been mostly concerned about the deterrence of the Black race and retaining the economic, political and military powers.
Deterrence is the action of discouraging or instilling doubt or fear of the consequences. Those actions are being beaten, being blatantly shot, public death from excessive force. The consequences are death, imprisonment, and, most importantly, for Blacks to remain socioeconomically poor.
So you wonder and want to ask, what was the purpose of the treatment in slavery and Jim Crow Laws post-slavery? Deterrence and retention of power.
What caused President Lyndon B. Johnson in the ’60s to declare “War on Crime in America,” which most people know was a war on the Black race post-1965? Deterrence and retention of power.
What caused the “War on Drugs” in the ’80s and ’90s? Deterrence and retention of power.
What causes the precipitation of police brutality, excessive force, unwarranted deadly force by police against Black men and women like Rodney King, George Floyd, Jacob Blake and others? Deterrence and retention of power.
What was going through the current POTUS’ mind when he appointed 198 federal caucasian judges who will sit for the next 40 years on the bench? Deterrence and retention of power.
Many of us refer to this as systemic racism. Yes, we could say that. Racism is the negative manifestation of this all. How then, can we continue to fight systemic racism but not also include a plan to build our power?
If we continue to fight without building, we will not succeed because the powerful race uses the same strategy used for 400 years during the slave trade and slavery. These are different times, different dates, different people but the same mentality, same strategy and same oppression.
Let’s build our power as well as protest. Can we? Are we ready?