Resources: Racism, Policing, and Prisons

Something More is Required of Us Now. What? – FANTASTIC article from author Michelle Alexander: “I know many people believe that our criminal justice system can be “fixed” by smart people and smart policies…  I used to think like that. I don’t anymore. I no longer believe that we can “fix” the police, as though the police are anything other than a mirror reflecting back to us the true nature of our democracy.”


5 Facts That Will Absolutely Infuriate You About Police and Racist Violence 

What To Do Instead of Calling the Police: A Guide, A Syllabus, A Conversation, A Process – “The police exist to protect white people and respond to white fear. That is their core function. That is what white supremacy means in practical terms. So until white people say “We don’t need you, we don’t want you killing for us anymore, we are going to stop paying you to kill for us, you’re fired.” Then the killing will likely continue and escalate.”

Here’s the Data That Shows Cops Kill Black People at a Higher Rate Than White People 

18 Examples Of Racism In The Criminal Legal System

Sacrificing Black Lives for the American Lie – “In these high-profile cases, it is not just police officers who are on trial. America is on trial. Either these deaths are justified, and therefore America is just, or these deaths are unjustified, and America is unjust.”

20 Examples That Prove White Privilege Protects White People From the Police

I’m a Black Ex-cop, And This is the Real Truth about Race and Policing

VIDEO: Victim Blaming and Police Brutality

Know Your History

A Presumption of Guilt – Excellent article on the connections between lynching, the death penalty and the history of state-sanctioned racialized violence towards African Americans… “the criminal justice system remains the institution in American life least affected by the civil rights movement…”

VIDEO: Slavery to Mass Incarceration, a five-minute video, narrated by Bryan Stevenson of the Equal Justice Initiative, that concisely contextualizes mass incarceration as an evolution of slavery. cf2w56kwyaavhin

4 Reasons Why the US Police Force Is an Extension of Slavery and White Supremacy (That You Were Probably Never Taught) – Historical and contemporary truths about the police and the criminalization of Black people in America

The (Really, Really) Racist History of Gun Control in America

Angela Davis: ‘There is an unbroken line of police violence in the US that takes us all the way back to the days of slavery’

How White Liberals Used Civil Rights to Create More Prisons – article in The Nation: “In their quest to wipe out extra-legal racial violence, white liberals created a system that continues to kill black people—legally.


Reforming and Abolishing

Abolish the police? Organizers say it’s Less Crazy Than it Sounds. – Grassroots groups around Chicago are already putting abolitionist ideas into practice. tumblr_n2onuwr0ns1qfzh16o1_500

Those who Focus on Police Reform are Asking the Wrong Questions – “Fortunately, some among us demand another way. Young black activists are not just asking, “How do we make cops stop shooting us?” but instead, “What do our communities need to thrive? How do we get free?” They’re not begging for scraps; they’re demanding the world they deserve. If there’s a future for any of us, it’s in asking these questions, demanding fundamental shifts in resources and organizing like hell.”

The Case For Disarming The Police – Some history of policing in the U.S. “But here’s the catch… there was no such thing as police officers when the Constitution was written….”

Summer Heat – Great, thoughtful article with practical suggestions.“History offers evidence of the intractability of the problem of police violence… The hegemony of police is so complete that we often can’t begin to imagine a world without the institution…. Why have we become so comfortable with ceding so much power to the police? Any discussion of reform must begin with the following questions: How will we decrease the numbers of police, and how will we defund the institution?”

Thinking Through the End of Police – readings to help those who are interested in abolishing the police to think more deeply about the possibilities…

15 Things Your City Can Do Right Now to End Police Brutality – Great article. “There’s a strong case that the problem with policing isn’t actually the police, but us — the police are merely enforcing our democratic will. Yet the real-life benefits of this umbrella term we’ve dubbed “police reform” — decriminalization, commitment to reducing prison populations and community oversight, to name a few — can still be impactful, if not quite a cure-all.”

Big Dreams and Bold Steps Toward a Police-Free Future – from Rachel Herzing, a cofounder of Critical Resistance, a national grassroots organization dedicated to abolishing the prison industrial complex