The Washington Post published a column by a college professor who tied American law enforcement to White supremacy, claiming “the system of policing in America is historically and structurally racist” and therefore, calls to defund the police are justified.
Indiana University associate professor of history and gender studies Amrita Chakrabarti Myers authored the column headlined, “Violence in Portland exposes the real purpose embedded in law enforcement,” which claimed “American policing was designed to uphold white supremacy — not keep people safe.”
“This kind of vicious conspiracy theory – that an American cop on the beat in 2020 America is acting like some kind of runaway slave patrol – needs not just a fact check, but a gut check,” Media Research Center director of media analysis Tim Graham told Fox News.
“It’s amazing that people would be fired over Tom Cotton’s defense of law and order, but this kind of rot is utterly uncontroversial inside woke newsrooms. This seems to be the orthodoxy inside woke newsrooms,” Graham said.
Myers began the tale by taking note of nationwide protests—riots—that have occurred since the custodial death of George Floyd. She quickly blamed “escalated” tensions in Portland on President Trump’s decision to send in U.S. agents “to supposedly protect the federal courthouse in that city.” The Indiana University professor claimed the “president’s deployment of a highly militarized force with no known training in crowd control has inflamed the situation” and then wrote that such behavior by law enforcement isn’t a new concept, Fox reported.
“The death of black people at the hands of the police also isn’t new. For well over a century, black people have been terrorized by those who wear blue,” Myers wrote, before noting claiming that American policing “was designed to uphold white supremacy by surveilling, capturing, assaulting and killing black people.”
Perspective: Violence in Portland exposes the real purpose embedded in law enforcement https://t.co/c7HoEEhgWk
— The Washington Post (@washingtonpost) July 28, 2020
The Washington Post column then dives into the history of police in America, which Myers said “traces its roots back to the institution of the slave patrol” in 1704.
“White people were terrified to see black folks out at night: they believed black people were either conspiring to rebel, committing property crimes or fleeing from bondage,” Myers wrote. “Accordingly, any black person found out after dark was stopped by the patrol, frisked for weapons and made to show their freedom papers or a signed pass from their owner. If they tried to run, they were hunted down.”
Myers noted that all of the original 13 colonies had legalized slavery at some point and Boston had the first publicly funded, full-time police force by 1838. By the end of the Civil War, organized police units hit the South where they were responsible for “many of the jobs the old slave patrols had carried out,” Chakrabarti wrote.
“Trained to be anti-black agents of violence, the police also protected white property, both real and movable. This included the bodies of white women. North and South, the law was used to uphold the tenets of racism and patriarchy, and white women had always been seen as objects to be ‘protected’ from the sexual predations of black men,” Myers wrote. “Without the controlling element of slavery, the police would now be used to rein in the ‘black beast rapist.’”
The column continued to condemn police through the Jim Crow era into the 20th century, Fox reported. Myers wrote that violence by police “against peaceful protesters may have helped to pass civil rights legislation” by shocking audiences, “it didn’t lead to serious reform in the structures of American policing.”
By the 1980s, the war on drugs was ravaging Black communities, according to her article in the Post.
“Drug use and drug addiction were criminalized instead of being handled as an illness or a public health crisis. That’s when money really began to pour into policing,” she wrote. “History reveals that present-day calls to ‘defund the police’ are really calls to dismantle the larger system of white supremacy in the United States.”
The column ends: “While the solution to this problem will be multifaceted, the way forward must be based on understanding that the system of policing in America is historically and structurally racist. To do something to fix it will require that we create a system that is new and doesn’t perpetuate assumptions and practices that are rooted in the slave patrol.”