Wednesday, 17 November 2010

finding ways not to call the police

i'm so impressed by this. beautifully written, compassionate and thoughtful article, with homework! and a resource list too. ohhh, good work.
"...As we paced in the cold night, we moved through our questions, anger and frustration. We thought about how everyone we know—even in a community that mostly wants a world without prisons—has had different experiences with harm and violence, different experiences with police, and, most likely, has a different “threshold” at which they can imagine not calling the police..."
i'm trying to surround myself with prison abolition info at the moment, because it's still a politics that doesn't come automatically to me. i still find it hard to care what becomes of someone who has benefited from abusing. and all repeat abusers benefit. i want to see real sanctions against abuse. and prison is a sanction. but but but. at the very least i remind myself that sending abusers to jail is pretty shit for more vulnerable people there. i remember a couple of years back being taken aback when i learned about queer opposition to hate crimes legislation (e.g. here and here). but it didn't take me long to get that sending racists and homophobes to jail is not very cool for the people of colour and gays already there.

and. regardless of that it's not the answer to racism and homophobia and abuse, either. i do know. but as i say it doesn't always come naturally to me yet. and that's why i love this article for its articulation of why those of us with enough privilege still buy into the idea that the police can be a force for protection:
"...When I think of the moments in which I could possibly imagine calling the police, I think of people I love, and of things I hope they never experience. Why do we feel afraid? Sometimes we feel afraid because we have experienced harm, because we have experienced trauma. Sometimes we also feel afraid because we have bought into aspects of racism, classism, and media-perpetuated images of danger. Sometimes it’s the complex combination of all these things—imagination, memory, and prejudice..."
so the writer of this has thought through real, practical ways in which we can all challenge ourselves on when we might involve the police, and whether we can push that threshold back. and how we can be more prepared for having to make that decision in a crisis.

genius. essential reading.

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