The Racist History Of Policing In America

The Racist History Of Policing In America

Understanding the origin of the police.

Presently, in the United States of America, the police force serves as a necessary function to promote order and protect citizens. The police department is an institution that is integrated in the very fabric of American society. Unfortunately, not everyone in American society views the police as the beneficial establishment they are supposed to be. It's no secret that the police force has never had the best relationship with communities of color. In recent years, the American public has been reminded of the brutality that has been forced against people of color since the inception of this country. The question to ask should be, "Why is there such a difference in experience with police between White Americans and Black Americans?" In my opinion, the answer to that question is simple.

Black Americans have an overall different experience than White Americans because of another institution called racism. The truth is that the United States was founded on racism. Many times to understand how anything functions you have to go back to the beginning. According to The Rebel Press, "As an instrument of oppression and control, modern police departments are deeply rooted in some of the most racist and repressive colonial institutions in the United States". Policing dates back to colonial times in the United States. "As Southern colonies developed an agricultural economic system, slave trade became indispensable to keep the economy running." "African slaves soon outnumbered whites in some colonies and fear of insurrections and riots led to the establishment of organized groups of vigilantes to keep them under control".

According to Therebelpress.com , "All white men aged six to sixty, were required to enlist and conduct armed patrols every night which consisted of: searching slave residences, breaking up slave gatherings, and protecting communities by patrolling the road". So, as early as colonial times, an organized policing force was created to continue the oppression of the enslaved Africans. The policing force was just an extension of the brutality the enslaved Africans already faced in early America. So the institution of policing in colonial America revolved around racism. Think of America as a tree. Racism is integrated into the roots of this tree and trickles up into the trunk of the tree and the branches. The police force is a branch on this tree. It is simply an extension of the racist institution America is. Rebel Press states, "Rather than punishing, the primary purpose of this racially focused law enforcement was to prevent mischief before it happened". "Racial profiling became the fundamental principle of policing and the definition of law enforcement came to be white- and whitewashed- patrolmen watching, detaining, arresting, and beating up people of color".

So the function of the earliest policing forces in America was to control people of color. So for those people who argue communities of color are often filled with more crime than white communities, and therefore attract more cops, it's not that simple. The function of these first policing forces in America was to keep the enslaved African subservient and comply to the will of the state. Racism was the law of the land. Eventually, these slave patrols would evolve into what would become the modern day police departments. Rebel Press informs, "Establishing the exact date to mark the beginning of modern policing in the United States since the evolution of older systems like Night Watches, and slave patrol into "new police" were slow". "However, we can take the mid 1800s as the years in which the present system of law enforcement dependent on a permanent agency with full-time paid officers were first conceived."

Rebel Press says, "Among the first cities to create such agencies were Boston in 1838, New York in 1845, Chicago in 1851 and St Louis in 1855; and again the motive behind the creation of these "peacekeeping" forces was the need to control the "unruly" classes as the emerging industrial economy and new Victorian standards of "morals" demanded it". In short, a policing force was needed to control the economic inequality, as well as racial inequality faced in the United States". "Starting in the early 1830s, a chain of riots triggered by race, religious, and labor disputes, swept across various cities in the northern region of the country and authorities responded by assigning their Night Watch patrols, the riot control function, but they soon learned that a volunteer watch system was ineffective". "Day Watches also proved to be useless. "Full- time police officers were needed.

Organized policing forces were created to suppress riots from people of color, but also the working class population. Once the United States entered an era of industrialization, the economic gap deepened and authorities were concerned they wouldn't be able to control the dissatisfaction already brewing within the states. Rebel Press states, "The concept of a professional police force was copied from London's Metropolitan Police Department, which had been established in 1829". "These "peace" agents were called Peelers or Bobbies, after Sir Robert Peel, founder of the institution". The American version of these agents were known as coppers, because they wore copper stars as badges on their uniforms. "They were available 24/7, carried guns and were "trained to think of themselves as better than the working class they were recruited from".

Furthermore, this isn't an anti-cop article. To understand any institution, you have to go back to its roots. The modern-day police departments we see started with slave patrols in colonial America and evolved into the federally authorized organizations we see today. Many people ask, "Are the police racist?" and fail to understand that the function of the institution from the very beginning has been to harass people of color. So the next time a person of color is brutalized by the police department in America, do not say it is a coincidence. I'm not saying every cop out there has the worst intentions for a person of color. I am saying begin to doubt a institution that has a history of brutalizing certain people. Communities of color aren't crazy or misled for not trusting the police a lot of times. They understand that the police, from the very beginning, has not had their best interest at heart. Many times a person of color is killed and people say, "Well , what did they do wrong?" instead of asking was it absolutely necessary to take a person's life. Obviously, police brutality in communities of color isn't a new problem. In fact, it's a problem older than the United States of America. Reform is certainly necessary in police departments.



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Appreciate Teachers, Respect Teachers, Value Teachers

They really don't just sit around and do nothing!

What’s the first thing you think of when you hear the word “teacher?” Pure hatred? The memories of your evil 5th-grade math teacher who was completely out to watch you fail? Or do you smile, reminiscing about that one teacher who made you feel appreciated, talented, and loved?

Whatever it is, we all need to remind ourselves of the havoc teachers must deal with every single day.

From kids coming into class late and asking for papers that were given out an hour ago to kids being absent for a week and then coming into their teachers’ office to ask for all their missed work, teachers certainly don’t have it easy. Though we may have had them for one class a day, we often forget that that’s not all they teach. That teacher who you had for geography may very well also teach 3 sections of algebra and 2 sections of history, all while coaching the softball team every day after school. On top of their insane workload and having to adapt to changing situations, teachers also put in just as much work at home as we do.

Yeah, so we have extracurriculars, rehearsals, etc, and can’t always get our work done in a timely fashion, but the immense amount of work teachers have is just as substantial. Many teachers have a family to feed, groceries to buy, and 100 tests to grade by the next day before getting angry emails from parents about their kids' grades not being up yet. And parents, they’re a whole different story!

The constant emails and appointment requests are enough to fuel another full-time job. Imagine teaching your students everything you possibly knew, racking your brain to re-educate yourself on these topics, and purging yourself of every detail you could possibly give, only to get a phone call from an angry parent that their child didn’t pass the test you gave.

Immediately, the fault is on you. How dare you fail to educate that child well enough? You try to explain that the child should have studied, that failure is not always due to teachers, but no luck. The parent still blames the teacher. It’s plain blasphemy! But it’s all part of the job. Not getting out nearly as much as you put in. In short, teachers are the miracle workers of our generation's future. Without them, children wouldn’t know how to form sentences, to read, or receive valuable life lessons.

And though some classes seemed as though they dragged on for 2 days, our teachers really did put their heart and soul into their class, and I don’t think that deserves any complaints.

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The Problems Of Online Classes

If you aren't able to take a class in school, in order to get the required credit your only option is to take the class online. But how hard are online classes compared to real ones?

Many students have heard over and over how many credits they will need in order to graduate, and they also all know the struggle of juggling your schedule to make sure that you have everything. Students are required to have four credits of literature, science and math.

Three credits for social studies and then it's optional to have three credits of a foreign language. That leaves two slots open to fill with what that student wants to do. In the state of Georgia, students are required to have a credit of P.E. and a credit of health. But the problem is this: what about students who are unable to fit this into their schedule? Well they have the option of paying to take the class online for a specific amount of weeks that they choose.

For those who go to Lambert High School, their schedule might include a pathway, whether it be business, culinary or healthcare. They might also be in band, chorus, or musical theater. Maybe their freshmen year, instead of taking a social studies class, they took AP Human Geography which is for some odd reason not a credit for social studies. Say this same student is also in band, in the healthcare pathway and does not plan on quitting either during their high school career. This specific student now has to take P.E. and Health online. The thing is, P.E. online is not the same as P.E. in an actual high school.

In P.E. at an actual school, students take quizzes with their notes and may occasionally have to participate in actual physical activities. If you dress out and participate when asked and do the Fitnessgram tests when the time comes, PE is a relatively easy course. Not online though. Depending on whether you are taking the summer course or spring/fall course affects when you have to turn things in. People who take this course in the summer have to turn something in every single day while those taking it during the school year have to turn things in every Wednesday. So, for the purpose of continuity, let's say that the student we used as an example is taking the online spring course for P.E. After having read the syllabus and schedule, they are required to fill out a fitness log each week which consists of the normal "which activity did you do" and "how long," but also consists of your resting heart rate, heart rate after exercising and the amount of calories burned. For those who don't have something that can monitor their heart rate, this can be a struggle even though they tell you how to calculate it. Other than just the fitness log, students have to participate in a discussion by writing a post and replying to one, and they have to complete multiple assignments online. In both the syllabus and actual real time, all of this takes three hours a day to complete. Not only this, but the school hours are 8-4 which for a high school student is not very doable. This student, gets to school at around 7:45 and is unable to get home until 4:30 so they will be unable to take part in the live online lessons which are extremely helpful when confused on something or if there is a project that makes more sense explained verbally. These are also the times that the instructor responds to emails. Because of these time hours, it's almost like online learning was made only for the summer or students who are homeschooled.

Online school, while a great advantage for students unable to take certain classes in school, is also not always the most convient use for students, especially when it comes to the hours the teacher is online and the extreme amount of hours that they have to put into the class, especially when this is coupled with all of the other work that they have from the actual school.


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