When I saw the white police officer chasing Adam Toledo, my mind went to my friends and associates in education. I thought of teachers of young teens and the students they guide.
Toledo was only 13. He was maybe 120 pounds, clearly small, young, and running away. We can assume that he was running for his life, into the night’s embrace, into a final embrace. There was absolutely no reason for that police officer to pursue him. There was no threat to the officer from a child running away from him. There was no threat as the child rose his hands to God.
But in the deadly whispers of white hegemony, perceived noncompliance IS a reason:
Our society is obsessed with punitive consequences. As I was watching the video of white police officer Eric E. Stillman chasing a child through the night, it reminded me of a slasher movie. But the real motif was punishment, the discussion topics in many of the prior educational meetings I’ve had the displeasure of attending. At those meetings, I listen to teachers discuss with great stress their fear that their students might be cheating and how the norms breaker MUST face a consequence.
Teachers claim to love students but subject them to intense suspicion and mistrust. Often, this suspicion is with zero proof and yet they spend hours of their valuable free time going to Facebook and Zoom meetings to discuss new methods in entrapments and punishment. They have become parodies of Michael Foucault’s “Discipline & Punish: The Birth of the Prison.”
“It’s about the principle. You can’t just go around cheating.”
It’s this doctrine in white supremacy that resulted in Adam Toledo and many others being slaughtered. He didn’t do anything, but this white man thought he might have. Adam’s actions to not be submissive immediately, is the justification for a wannabe Judge Dread to act as judge, jury, and executioner.
In the U.S., people without white privilege can’t be assertive, autonomous, or even make a mistake in the time of stress.
When conflict arises between the Privileged and the Others, the police are called to enforce the hegemony.
“The rules say no music in the park. I’m calling the police to get this sorted out!”
Or in this case privileged used the artificial intelligence (A.I.), ShotSpotter, a technology that Jamie Kalven reported in Intercept as having a high false positive rate in dense urban areas. Meaning alerts may not be gunfire.
White hegemony is a malignant devil that whispers suspicion and mistrust into ears of the willing. It distorts the lives of those who indulge in it, into racist caricatures that even the Portrait of Dorian Grey would abhor.
It ruins the lives of the targets, retaliating against all the social infractions resulting in simple yet harmful mischaracterizations to outright fabrications.
Those who indulge in those fantasizes and react with state power are destructive to themselves, their targets, and the trust in their communities.
My condolences to the Adam Toledo family.