[Monsters Are Not Monsters 24/7]
Today I read this message from Jennifer Hartshorn, who is white. Please read what she wrote about monsters. #BlackLivesMatter #NotOneMore
I’ve seen a couple posts regarding “good cops.”
Here’s the thing. Yes, I know there are good people who are cops, people who go into it for the right reasons, who are willing to lay down their life to protect their fellow citizens and the rule of law, and that is amazing and I am tremendously thankful for those people.
But I also know people who go into the military and law enforcement because they like to exert unearned power over the powerless. Because they get their rocks off being a bully. It terrifies me how many people fall into that category, but I know it’s not all of them. And furthermore, I know that not everyone who is a bully is an asshole all the time. They have people that they love, people that they care about. They may be good parents and Boy Scout leaders and help people out when they’ve got a flat tire. The fact that they love their kids does not erase the fact that they’re a little too quick on the trigger finger, that they taze people who obviously pose no physical threat to them, and much worse.
This picture has stuck with me ever since I first saw it.
It’s not soldiers, for the most part. It’s a bunch of secretaries, local girls who lived near the military base, and a couple of the guys on base they were friends with. They’re giggling and having a good time, and there’s a guy with an accordion. I bet he was hilarious, and I can totally see myself wanting to be friends with them. The economy was shit at the time and it was a well-paying job, with a bunch of cool people who were doing their patriotic duty.
They’re staff from Auschwitz.
I’m sure they were nice people. I’m sure most of them had nothing to do with the actual business of what Auschwitz was there for, and many of them probably would have denied they had any idea what was going on. And even if they did know, they would say they were just following orders, that they’re patriotic and loyal and all the virtues that we ourselves celebrate every 4th of July.
Monsters are not monsters 24/7. They have people that they love, they do good deeds, they pay their taxes. That doesn’t excuse the evil that they do, either for the rush of power it gives them or because they’re a good soldier following orders. Just because someone’s good to you doesn’t mean they are good to everyone.
I drew a comparison talking to someone between #notallmen and #notallcops. Yeah, you’re right – not all men. The trouble is, we don’t know from looking at a guy if he’s one of the good ones or someone who’s going to beat and rape you. And lacking that information, you have to go with your gut, or assume it’s the latter until proven otherwise. And just like men who laugh at sexist jokes and turn a blind eye to the behavior of other men are facilitating it, white people who see racism – even microaggressions – happening and don’t say anything are facilitating it. It’s incredibly uncomfortable to call someone out on it. God don’t I know it. But nothing is going to change until we do. And until and unless cops call each other out and turn each other in when they’re racist bullies, all police departments are going to bear the stain of racisim — even the ones who are really nice people, good parents, and good samaritans.