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A Deeper Dive into DGWL Podcast Episode #27

“Systemic Racism & Defund the Police”


We talked a lot of shit in Episode 27 AND got all the links to back it up!

Dig your heels in and get to it. Take these questions, articles, and resources into your circles and conversations for an even bigger impact.


What is Systemic Racism?


“Systemic racism”, or “institutional racism”, refers to how ideas of white superiority are captured in everyday thinking at a systems level: taking in the big picture of how society operates, rather than looking at one-on-one interactions. Read all about it here.


What Is Juneteenth?


Juneteenth commemorates the effective end of slavery in the United States. Read more about it here. Did you learn about Juneteenth in school? Us either. Have a read, “What Can We Learn from the Germans About Confronting Our History?


Why are Black and Brown people disproportionately affected by COVID-19?


Well, where we live, learn, work, and play affects our health. And guess who decided those things for us? The US government funded suburbs for white Americans (link here) and redlined areas to make sure we didn’t mix well (link here).


As the CDC states, long-standing systemic health and social inequities have put some members of racial and ethnic minority groups at increased risk of getting COVID-19 or experiencing severe illness, regardless of age. Read more here.


Considering that the pandemic has forced many closures and cancellations, financial hardships are upon a lot of Americans--with a huge emphasis on minorities. For example, big banks passed vulnerable Black businesses in favor of bigger "small" businesses and handed out Paycheck Protection Program money to the LA Lakers, Shake Shake, and others. Read more here.


To make things worse, there’s been no change in the level of hiring discrimination in US labor markets. Check out this study published in 2017, “Meta-analysis of field experiments shows no change in racial discrimination in hiring over time”.


Why do Black and Brown people have worse health compared to white people?


Short answer: racism. Longer answer: BIPOC have higher death rates and illnesses because of more stress and less access to care. For example, Black expectant and new mothers in the U.S. die at about the same rate as women in countries such as Mexico and Uzbekistan. Read more black women’s mortality risk here. And stress? Slavery was definitely stressful. Jim Crow era? Stressful. This trauma and stress gets passed down from generation to generation. Historical trauma affects the health & wellness in communities of color, read more here and here.


What is this School-to-Prison Pipeline?


Students are encountering the criminal justice system as minors and often are pushed into the juvenile justice system with arrests occurring at school! Sound crazy? Well, LA was spending $70 million funding school police, so there’s that. And for a more detailed explanation on the school to prison pipeline, head over to Justice Policy for a good read.


Also, what’s Broken Windows policing about?


The broken windows theory of policing suggested that cleaning up the visible signs of disorder — like graffiti, loitering, panhandling and prostitution — would prevent more serious crime as well. NPR covered this back in 2016, have a read or listen here.


Are cops really racist?


The history of policing is racist. The history of most things in our country are racist. But, the history of police starts with slave patrols, the protection of white people, and treating Black people worse than pieces of property. Did police stop lynchings? Did police protect Black people from being curbed? No. No they didn’t. Instead, Black and Brown bodies are heavily criminalized and taken advantage of by economic institutions like the prison system. And there’s more. Read here.


Defund the police? But what about violent crime?


In case you somehow missed it, we’re spending a lot of money on stupid shit. Remember, $70 million for armed police officers in LAUSD schools? Defunding the police will actually make us safer by spending money where it matters. [On 6/30/2020, LAUSD cut police funding by 35%--roughly $25 million--and ordered that “460 officers be taken off campus and out of uniform until the district can look closer at the agency as a whole.” Were they listening to our podcast?! I hope so.] Police spend the most resources going after minor incidents that actually don’t threaten everyday life but do lead to mass criminalization and incarceration. Read more on the police’s misuse of police funds via the ACLU here. And to answer that question about violent crime, you have a 40% chance of getting away with murder. Does that make you feel safe? More on crime clearance rates and data on Vox here.


What is ‘qualified immunity’ for police?


Qualified immunity shields government officials from being held personally liable from constitutional violations (i.e., excessive police force, murder, coercion, sexual assault, did we say murder?) under federal law. When government officials are sued, qualified immunity is their defense. Why does this suck? Well, it has become one of the chief ways in which law enforcement avoids accountability for misconduct.


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