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“How many deaths will it take before *this* is considered genocide?”

March 27, 2012



I grew up watching COPS on television, so I know.

I know that poor people are criminals and that policemen’s bodies are vulnerable. Nevermind the armour, the weapons, the social-legal-political authorization to violate poor people’s bodies and private homes. Not once, did those COPS break down the door of a lawyer or a doctor.

The stories of struggle and violence that belong to poor people (who were usually black) could be narrated for the entertainment of both the viewer and the cops (usually white) who might guffaw over the crisis inside their police cars, on their way back to their precincts.

“He’s scum”, we are told repeatedly during the course of any given episode.

The message was clear. The right to live with dignity and free from violence belongs primarily to upper class, fair-skinned people. The rest of us are trespassers.

Well. COPS hasn’t been on television for a very long time. We are re-writing those narratives, re-telling those stories.  And you can’t tell anyone’s story without first giving them names.

[Image via Roxanne Wright]

R.I.P. Trayvon Martin

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