I Don’t Hate Police Officers

I have quite a few friends and acquaintances who hate the police, who hate the military, etc.  “But Ashley, don’t you?!  Traitor!” you say.  

Give me a break, I completely believe that so many systems, including criminal justice and the miliary, are fundamentally flawed.  AND it is absolutely possible to believe that a system is flawed and not hate every individual within it.

That’s my problem with this status-symbol, one size fits all, hatred.

Beyond my general disdain for disingenuous activism, which you all have come to know so well, my issue is with the universal hatred.  It’s not a personal, individualistic problem.

Think about individual officers, police or military.  First of all, for how many of them to do you think this was a real choice?  If you’ve grown up in poverty and someone comes to your highschool in a fancy hummer or pick-up truck decorated in propaganda in all of its glory, offering you a chance at a paying future, you’re most likely going to take it.  The system has set it up so that option is a real one for you.  It’s counting on it.

You may look at a uniform and see someone you hate, but I see a back story I’ll never truly know or understand.  I see my privilege making me judge that person.  When our lens is one in which every person can easily make choices not to do something like join a system that guarantees a wage, that’s privilege.  That’s unrealistic.  And to hate the person who makes that choice is simply unfair.

More than unfair, it’s unrealistic.  We’re not going to change anything by targeting individuals who are simply trying to keep a job, to have a career.  But we will change everything by dismantling oppressive systems.  And it’s folks within those systems who can help change them.

Hate all you want – I can’t stop you.  But I can ask you to think about how your own privilege leads you to target individuals rather than systems, and why.

I don’t hate all police officers and I don’t hate all military personnel.  I hate oppressive systems.  Period.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s