>> RAMONA PEREZ: Hello, and welcome to our webinar on The Persistence of Racialized Police Brutality and Community Responses to These Traumas This webinar is hosted by the American Anthropological Association and presented by the Center for Ethnographic Study of Public Safety and Community in collaboration with the Association of Black Anthropologists, the Association of Latina and Latino Anthropologists, and the American Ethnological Association My name is Ramona Perez I am a Professor of Anthropology and Director of the Center for Latin American Studies at San Diego State University I currently serve as the incoming, or President-Elect, to the American Anthropological Association I am a light-skinned, Mexican-American woman, she/her/hers, with shoulder white hair, hazel-green eyes, and I am wearing a dark blue blouse with orange embroidery, colorful chandelier earrings, and a necklace of orange seeds, with a large silver heart On behalf of the nearly 10,000 members of the American Anthropological Association, the largest association of anthropologists in the world, I want to thank you for joining us today in yet another step toward addressing the inequities and violence against Black lives, as well as the lives of Indigenous and other people of color We also would like to recognize that this is LGBTQI pride month, and we stand in solidarity with our LGBTQI brothers and sisters and honor the accomplishments you have made for and in your communities As we get started, I would like to give you a brief overview of how our webinar will function today You have logged into the Zoom webinar format This is different from the Zoom conference format that most of us are used to At the bottom of your screen, you should see the category of Q&A For most of you, it will be next to the chat link Throughout the webinar, you can type your questions into the Q&A section for our panelists, and Jeff Martin, the Director of Communications for the American Anthro Association, will read your question You may indicate if there is a particular panelist to whom you would like to address your question Otherwise, it will be open for any of our panelists to respond Please, don’t post your questions in the chatroom as we will leave this to be open for conversations between yourselves and the panelists Again, Q&A for questions; chat for conversations The webinar includes heightened security that includes muting each attendee and preventing anyone from accessing the screen If you have any problems with the Q&A function, you can chat directly to AAA or Nell with your problem, both of which you should be able to see under chat In addition, as I did just a minute ago, each panelist will begin my describing themselves to assure equitable access and closed captioning by subtitle or transcripting is available by clicking on the closed captioning link near the chat and Q&A links at the bottom of your screen I would like to knowledge that we have more than 600 people in attendance today, many of whom are not anthropologists For that reason, I’d like to clarify who we are and why we have something to say about racialized police brutality and our communities’ responses We actually planned this webinar several weeks ago while George Floyd was still alive and working toward his tomorrow What were thinking on planning on discussing hasn’t changed, but it has increased in importance and relevance as the realities of this topic have become a part of many more people’s lives Our discipline, the discipline of anthropology, focuses on the human condition, from the beginning of humanity to the current moment, through archeological, biological, ethnological, and linguistic research, and while many social sciences advance our understanding of culture and society, it is cultural anthropology’s commitment to community-based engagement that documents how people actually experience their world through their voices and their lives that we share with you today Our four panelists are ethnographers who have dedicated their research lives to the communities with whom they work They will start the webinar by talking for about four minutes, addressing how racism and the policing of Black bodies became part of our mundane lives, how policing has grown and evolved since its inception, how trauma is experienced, and why protest is critical to our communities, along with what our communities are actually demanding and what a reimagined public safety program could look like Dr. Shanti Parikh is an Associate Professor of sociocultural anthropology and Associate Director of African and African-American studies at Washington University in St. Louis Dr. Kalfani Ture is Assistant Professor of Criminology at Quinnipiac University in Connecticut,
who has trained and served as a police officer Dr. Donna Auston is an anthropologist, writer, and activist whose body of work focuses primarily on race, ethnicity, gender, religion, media representation, and Islam in America And Dr. Avram Bornstein is Professor of Anthropology, Interim Dean of Graduate Studies, and was Co-Director of the New York Police Leadership Program at John J. College at CUNY, City University of New York Dr. Parikh Let’s start with you Could you first describe yourself as you start our conversation today? >> SHANTI PARIKH: Good afternoon, everybody, or good morning, depending on where you are in the world Welcome My name is Shanti Parikh I am an African-American woman with an Indian father, so I guess I’m mixed I am wearing a beige jacket, a leopard-printed beige and tan top I have a white background with a red painting And I’m a female I would like to begin my remarks and since we only have five minutes, I’m going to read my remarks, and since I’m the opening speaker, I’m also going to do a little bit of framing about the particular historical moment in which we are living, but first, thank you, Kalfani, thank you for organizing this event and for inviting me You had great insight into organizing this, because as Ramona has mentioned, you organized this before the unfortunate death of George Floyd and before these particular protests It’s an honor to be on this panel with brilliant scholars who have given a lot of thought to this topic Much of my talk will draw from work I’ve been doing in the St. Louis region, both before and after Ferguson Uprising, so I begin It is an understatement to say that the current moment is what I call the urgency of Black death, and hence, the urgency of anthropology to show how the ethnographic art of narrative collection and critical analysis as a form and way we can respond We can see this urgency in Black death in the enduring legacy of anti-Black police brutality and the state-sanctioned immunity- impunity in which, that enables, protects, and rewards those who enact anti-Black violence But we also see the urgency of Black death in the COVID-19 pandemic and its grossly disproportionate impact on Black communities and bodies, from the higher rates of infection, morbidity, and mortality; to the devastating economic toll from loss of income and the labor of caring for the sick, vulnerable, and quarantined, and I might add that this labor is not just within their household, but in the role that African-American, that Black people play in the service of care in the community The symbolism of “I can’t breathe” should not be lost on us as anthropologists, who like metaphors, for the slow suffocation of the knee to the neck, of COVID’s destroying of the lungs, but also of the structures of racism that drives both of the above, but at the same time, the dramatic collision of these two familiar paths of Black death — extrajudicial killings and medical neglect — have also been extremely generative We have seen it has brought millions of cross section of protestors from around the world from safely sheltering at home, again a sheltering at home is a racialized privilege denied to people such as Breonna Taylor, and into the anti-Black and increasingly militarized streets, as seen in, as what is bringing the protests While the global protests were ignited by the painful, viral videos of George Floyd’s slow death and the hauntingly emotionless face of his uniformed killer, the outrage over the continued suffocating grip of white supremacy has been brewing for some time The Ferguson Uprising of 2014, the Baltimore Protests of 2015, Eric Gardner Protests, Sandra Bland Protests, and again, the ones that we’re seeing this year The rapid speed in energy with which police reform, racial justice, and defund movements have been advancing in the past few weeks makes the task of this seminar, and of our discipline, intimidating, urgent, but exciting This movement can be called, to borrow Trump’s phrase, the Real Operation Warp Speed
But instead of our quest to find a vaccine for a disease, we are finding a vaccine for another disease: the anti-Black police killings and its relationship to white supremacy Like my panelists here and other panelists- other anthropologists studying policing, I argue that anthropology has much to bring to the table, and I have, drawing heavily from work that I’ve done in an upcoming issue of American Ethnologist on Ferguson that I co-edited with JB Kwon, I am going to propose two ways that anthropology can be useful One is in diagnosing the problem and the second one is paying attention to community responses and how community defines needs So first, diagnosing of the problem Placed in its historical, colonial origins, we see that the police killings and brutality of Black people is not the result of a broken system or rogue police Rather, it is precisely how the police was intended to serve the colonial state, to protect white male property and discipline and contain expendable but profitable Black bodies From slave patrols that were critical in maintaining racial and patriarchal order by roaming the Southern plantations and Northern states in search of runaway enslaved people, to the post-Emancipation removal of federal troops, troops that were intended to ensure the newly freed Blacks, and replaced in Confederate states by localized white militias, such as the KKK, Black communities for long have experienced police as brutal and often oppressive This relationship in St. Louis and elsewhere was maintained in the 19th and 20th century, using St. Louis as a case study, I’m just going to rapidly discuss this, because this is important for us to understand how policing unfolds in each locale to maintain certain social orders and then how, as anthropologists, our contribution is to understand how solutions unfold within that So using St. Louis as a case study, in the 20th century St. Louis, we saw an era in which housing policies, zoning covenant deeds, and localized policing were used to enforce geographic, residential segregation and fragmentation or what JB Kwon and I call the anti-Black archipelago, along with economic changes, infrastructural development, and white flight, this has had several consequences Today, the St. Louis region is fragmented into 100 separate municipalities and unincorporated communities, many of which control their own budgets, police, judicial systems, schooling, and all of this ensures very stark racial segregation, and we’re known as the divided city Black citizens become trapped, to borrow a word from Colin Powell’s [indistinguishable] decline In particular areas of St. Louis, and the area is peppered by Black enclaves surrounded by white areas, such as Ferguson In these defense donuts, Black bodies are required to constantly move in and out of white spaces for employment, education, access to ordinary resources, and hence, the heavy policing of Black residents and bodies, and all of this was confirmed in the post-Ferguson DOJ report, which found that, even though Ferguson was 67% black, they made up 85% of the police stops, 90% of the citations, 93% of the arrests, 90% of documented cases of police force, and 95 cases of jaywalking citations, which is what brought Michael Brown into contact with his killer These patterns – RAMONA PEREZ: [indistinguishable] You’re right All of this is really important, and we’re going to let you come back to that in just a minute But Dr. Ture, I’m wondering if you could talk to us a little bit from your perspective >> KALFANI TURE: Sure So, sirst of all, I want to thank the AAAs for supporting and hosting this, I think, all-too-important conversation, conversation that we’re not having enough But I also want to step back and say thank you to Shanti for giving us some context to this problem and helping to historicize it For that reason, I’m going to truncate my remarks, in that vain So my name is Kalfani Ture I’m an African-American cisgendered male I am wearing a white shirt-sleeved dress shirt with a black vest, and I have a beautiful visual background, by way of the internet, which shows me in a highrise, maybe somewhere on the 30th floor, with a nice window view But I am an Assistant Professor of criminal justice at Quinnipiac University, as was stated,
and I concentrate in the area of policing I’m also a former police officer, and I started my career off with Georgia State Police I transitioned to the City of Roswell Police, which unfortunately was in the news maybe a couple years ago for something really heinous, and I ended my career with Cherokee County Sheriff Department I wanted to experience law enforcement at different scales, so as to be more knowledgeable about policing, as I would develop my, as I am developing my own interventions to improve policing But I also went into law enforcement, I should say, because I wanted to make an immediate impact on the Black and Brown communities that law enforcement is often situated in, and I’ll talk about that in just a second So I’m going to keep my opening remarks really short The first thing I want to say is, for those of you who are anthropologists, I strongly encourage you to read the Association of Black Anthropology’s statement on policing, and I do want to acknowledge that the Association of Black Anthropologists have been at this work for a long time Since its inception, the Association of Black Anthropologists have been not only looking at police violence, but more broadly, they’ve been addressing the issue of white supremacy And so I want to knowledge that, and I want to note that there’s an official, informed statement about this, and I encourage you all to sort of visit that statement The second thing is, I want to talk about policing, just really quickly I’m concerned about policing and race in place I mean, my particular research area involves me looking at the intersections of public safety, law enforcement, and place And in particular, I ask what informs police decision-making when they encounter African-American and Latinx males in urban public space, particularly that space which is characterized by liminality, and what I mean by liminality is either it is an interstitial space between predominantly black and white communities or is it a space that’s undergoing gentrification And I ask what, what informs police decision-making? And I assume that critical areas in that decision-making is the professional training, the prior sort of biographies of officers, as well as the informal and socialization that happens in law enforcement, which all too often tends to invalidate all the things that police officers should be doing in a sort proper way The second thing- the third thing I sort of wanted to mention here is that as a police officer who actually have gone to three police academies, and it was particularly tough, because once I went into law enforcement, I immediately recognized that I was too Black for the blue profession, but because of the history of state-sanctioned violence through police departments, through police officers officers, I also became too blue for the Black community So I, in fact, sat in this really sort of liminal space myself, but it was a particular space that allowed me to gain, I think, really great insights into policing and its tensions and its possibilities for Black communities But when I went into law enforcement and I would begin to undergo my own training in law enforcement, there’s some things I just want to point out here to give some kind of context on my remarks to come I spent maybe eight hours training around deescalation I spent more than 300 hours on defensive tactics and use of force So there’s already this imbalance, right? It didn’t take 9/11, or post-9/11, for us to learn about sort of warrior policing Law enforcement have been trained as warriors That’s just the way that training in fact is instituted And so there’s an issue There’s a sort of tendency for law enforcement officers to sort of revert to violence, versus to sort of draw on more sort of peaceful ways of resolving issues, breaches of civility, as we would call it in law enforcement So I’m going to stop there and then sort of entertain questions as they come in the discussion, but in closing, I also want to be able to state further in the discussion why I think it’s going to be an uphill battle to reform police departments and why it might be appropriate to just totally dismantle them and start from the ground up
>> RAMONA PEREZ: Thank you so much, Dr. Ture I think that’s a really important conversation that we will come back to Dr. Auston Can we ask you to describe yourself and move to the next discussion? >> DONNA AUSTON: Yeah, sure Welcome, everyone, thank you for joining us for this conversation I am Donna Auston I am an African-American female I’m currently wearing a white blouse and a matching white head wrap And I am — my background is a virtual library that does not actually reflect the living conditions, the physical space that I’m currently in, but it’s really exciting, lots of books and a desk and a chair with fluffy pillows And so what I want to do is, I think in some ways sort of picks up where Dr. Shanti and Dr. Kalfani left off, and that is sort of thinking about, briefly, how I approach the problems of, so my research is actually concerned with looking at the ways that Black Muslim communities in the US have been particularly impacted by virtue of sort of the operation of anti-Blackness and Islamophobia in relationship to law enforcement practices, within the context of the Black Lives Matter movement My research was conducted primarily in 2014, 2015, and so one of the things that I want to do to, really, just to give some brief, a brief sort of entry into a discussion around two related, interrelated questions, and that is what is the nature of the problem, right? That we’re talking about here And the second question is, what are possible solutions, right? And so my research, per se, is not — it’s not an ethnography of police officers, per se It’s actually more sort of focused on looking at the ways that the communities that I study responded through their activism and their efforts to sort of directly combat various forms of violence that they experienced at the hand of law enforcement, both on a local level, state level, also federal level This includes, of course, incidents like the ones that are foremost at the top of everyone’s mind at the moment, you know, the murder of Breonna Taylor, the murder of George Floyd, the murder of Tony McDade These are sort of, these all involve, you know, shootings, suffocations, and I did a fair amount of research in Baltimore, and joined the 2015 Uprisings in that particular case It included – the person at the center of that particular controversy, Freddie Gray, was arrested violently by police officers, thrown into the back of a police wagon, and taken on what’s called a nickel ride, or a rough ride, where he was put in the back of a paddy wagon, not strapped in, not restrained, and driven around, you know, in a truck in a rough fashion, which you know, sort of, you know, because he’s not restrained, because he’s not wearing a seat belt, he’s bumped around the cabin and died from, you know, literally having his spine broken So there’s all of those various ways that actual violence, what most of us understand to be violence, physical violence, happens, but there’s also the problem of invasive surveillance, and particularly with Muslim communities, this is one of the ways, and also, Black communities experience this as well, that Black communities that are not also Muslim, right? Experience, you know, cameras in their communities, wire tapping, programs like CDE, countering violent extremism, which ostensibly is sort of friendly interventions, but basically picks on certain communities and people from certain backgrounds as being particularly susceptible to violence and therefore are subject to extra scrutiny and invasive policing practices So there’s a whole spectrum of problems and behaviors and practices on the part of the law enforcement that basically demonstrate Dr. Parikh’s point, when she started by talking about this system is designed to do, is doing exactly what it’s designed to do, right? And so our responses to that, I think, have to consider that I think it’s important for us to consider, you know, sort of the gap between the conversations
that are at least currently happening in particular, in the public, in the mainstream public discourse, between reform and practices that, you know, as a collective, are leading more towards dismantling and abolition, right? And there are different categories of responses that I think it’s important to sort of begin to think about how they are different I want to very briefly try to share something on my screen that’s sort of from the last week or so that illustrates this If you’ll give me one quick second to pull this picture up Okay So this is a picture of a street in Washington DC that was recently, recently painted in this particular matter, in the last week On the lefthand side of the picture, you’ll see the word painted in bright yellow paint that is used to typically divide the line between the lanes in a street is used to spell out Black Lives Matter You can’t see the whole phrase, because it’s too long I couldn’t find a photo long enough that includes the whole thing on the one hand This was actually done by the City of DC, the mayor of DC, Mayor Bowser commissioned this to be painted right near the White House In the street itself, it says Black Lives Matter, right? And this is on the one hand, sort of indicative of, you know, our response of, that at least on the surface indicates, you know, some sort of commitment on the part of the municipal authorities in Washington DC to do something different with regard to law enforcement excess And then the second half of the photograph, you can see, you can see or, you know, it says, “Defund the police”, also in yellow paint, but that part of this graphic or this mural that’s painted in the asphalt was actually later added a couple of days later by activists in Washington DC Because there’s a gap between what, what the government or the municipal government was offering in terms of redress to these problems and what many of the activists on the ground are pushing for, and that’s sort of how visibly, you know, heuristically dividing a line between reform and abolition, right? >> RAMONA PEREZ: And Dr. Auston, I think the defund the police, the question of what we mean by defund is one that I think a lot of people have misunderstood over time, and I want to come back to that I want to give Dr. Bornstein an opportunity to also talk to us from his experience of working with the New York Police Department in terms of integrating anthropology and anthropological perspectives into police training and what that might mean, but I definitely want to come back because one of the things we really need to talk about is what is it that we’re asking folks for? How can we make this a more known topic? Rather than one that people are speculating on Dr. Bornstein I’m wondering if you could share with us >> AVRAM BORNSTEIN: Great Thank you so much for inviting me So I’m a 51-year-old white bald guy, sitting in a blue-collared shirt, in my living room near the window here in New York City I’ve been the Dean of Grad Studies for a few years and will return to faculty, and I before that directed the criminal justice master’s program and co-directed the NYPD Leadership Program at John J. College, which we’ve had for about 20 years I’ll say something more about that Let me quickly make four points, and we can circle back if you want to discuss more of those things Points 1 and 2 are about possible transformations that are basically, that come out of some of my work on the ground in the — with NYPD at our college and then points 3 and 4 are more macro systematic analysis and anthropologists like to do both of that, on the ground and that big, system stuff So, first, let me speak about education in policing, and Kalfani already really hit an important point, right, about training Right now, police across the country are in something like 1500 different departments, municipal, county, state, federal police, with extreme variations in requirements in training, that they’ve seen the way that Kalfani spoke about that, around warrior, and the imbalance that he spoke about Here in New York City, the NYPD has a very impressive academy, building Recruits spend about six months training before hitting the streets where they’re supposed to receive field training, which could be good or horrible, and he spoke to that and in various kinds of in-service training over the years around use of force and auto theft and all kinds of things Applicants to the department don’t need a college degree
They need sixty college credits Now, at John J., we have had a mission that has pushed a different kind of model in policing, one that would make it more like professions, other professions, in which you need like at least a two-year degree to be something like a constable, and you know, that’s like in England and many other countries, and nationally accredited degrees are part of a promotional process to make it more professional Twenty years ago we started what I thought would be a pilot program leading towards this The bad news is is that it remains kind of a pilot program after 20 years The good news is, I guess, it remains, and we have this slowly growing, we’ve got a lot of experience in creating higher education and a different model So the first point is just to rethink police education The second point is that the call to defund the police are a really good vehicle for us to think about how police work and workers are organized While there are really big differences across the country, about 66% on average, it ranges from like 30 to 90 something, 66%, two-thirds of police work is being on patrol and answering calls for service Now, while fire and E.M.S. have pretty defined jobs, police get called to handle everything else, loud music, public intoxication, rowdy teenagers, you know, everything Much of this could go elsewhere with the support, this underlying support of police, right, to this elsewhere, to these other groups We still might want to fund detectives to do investigations or warrant squads or special units like that, but the job of patrol, which is the largest thing and where people have the most interaction with police often, could be completely reconsidered But that depends on real partnerships with health services, school systems, housing and business and development, business development and all those other kinds of areas of society There are some amazing models for these things out there, but they’re really the exceptions, not the rule So the second point is to rethink patrol, the major part of policing, which is main draw on their resources So next two points are much quicker Third, if we step back, take a more macro look, we can see that policing and criminal justice systems are part of particular social and economic systems with their cultural meanings systems that are all connected together And so, for example, you know, stop and frisk, here in New York, which many people have heard about, was in large part driven by a new economic model based on finance, real estate, and entertainment So point 3 is really that a real police reform requires a significant shift in the domestic and global organization of racial capital You can’t change one part of it without thinking about these larger structures to which that part is really just an appendage So fourth and finally, in about 170 years of policing in New York City, there have been many, many marches and moments calling for major police reform 1850s, 1890s, all through, some successful and some not Today’s reform movement, the one I’m sketching out here sounds a lot like the one put forward actually in Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society Plan in 1964, in which police reform was only part of a larger civil rights agenda for socioeconomic development, something like the Marshall Plan that had saved Europe The theory was that economic development would minimize the problems of poverty, like street crime But just four years later, this plan was opposed and undermined by the election of Richard Nixon in 1968, who rode to victory on a law and order platform, and that law and order theory posits that the problems of poverty like street crime need to be heavily policed to make the world safe for business development So before it was really born, this great society was declared a failure Now, after 50 years, a law and order discourse seems to be on the ropes, but not defeated So, in conclusion, we can recreate police education, and the organization of police work, but these things are linked to larger systems that must also be part of any kind of reform Thank you >> RAMONA PEREZ: Thank you so much, Dr. Bornstein Dr. Parikh, I wanna come back to you You were talking about space and the way in which space and place really enact a kind of violence against the Black body as it is I’m wondering, could you go ahead and finish that thought and take us where you were going to? We need to open up to the Q&A for our various participants, and thankfully, we have a bunch of questions for all of you, but I want to make sure we come back to that >> SHANTI PARIKH: Yeah, thank you So one of the things that is going on in the national conversation is something that — Avi just alluded to, is how to reconceptualize the police in thinking about which aspects can be grounded more in sort of a community-based approach versus which one still does need to get situated elsewhere And one of the things we’ve been thinking about here is, what does that mean to have these local sort of more localized levels of community policing, when, indeed, the community level is what has been oppressive to Black people, since it’s so fragmented?
So that’s one of the ways in which I think anthropologists can really help to partner with communities and understand how do some of these national recommendations sort of unfold locally, depending on what’s going on So can I just share, since we will probably talk about it, can I share two slides that I think are part of the conversation that’s going on, that I’m sure we will touch upon, and one of, ops, if I can get this, okay One of them is this, which is the 8 Can’t Wait This one emerged, the 8 Can’t Wait Police Reform emerged out of Ferguson, and I’m sure we’ll be talking about this later These are sort of things that are being implemented locally, and then this one, which is what Donna and I spoke about, which was the abolition approach, or abolishing opressive structure and shifting the resources to infrastructures that can enable the community So in terms of what is going on here, it’s very much about how do we redistribute wealth in an area that is so fragmented >> KALFANI TURE: You know, if I could just interject really quickly, just share my perspective about race and place In my work, and also in my research, my prior research is around actual displacement from public housing, and what I’ve concluded is that there is certainly a spatiality, as we probably would all agree, a sort of a spatio dimension to white supremacy, and what’s really important for anthropology, at least what anthropology can offer is that we don’t look at physical places as just sort of an insignificant backdrop in our work We understand that the actual built environment, social environment, natural environment represent important constitutive dimensions of one’s identity, or in particular the cultural phenomenon at which we’re looking at So what I found is that, at least what I’ve concluded by way of my earlier research is that there is this sort of dialectic at play, right In order for white society and the white power structure to in fact be maintained, it must in fact have this contra distinctive place or people or et cetera And so spatially, then, African-American people or Latinx people, people who are otherwise in this society, they are tied, in fact, they are sort of forced to occupy or live within spaces that represent the contra distinction, the opposite So, for example, you take public housing, you take what’s referred to as African-American urban ghettos, or what Tony White had out of University of Maryland would call racialized urban ghetto [indistinguishable], these are intentional spaces, right, because we don’t define ourselves as the, the larger society, the white society, don’t define themselves by who they are In fact, whiteness becomes a sort of silent standard, if you will We’re defined by who we’re not And so when we create these sort of, we tie these sort of marginalized people to these spaces, and we disinvest from them, we put polluting industries around them, et cetera, we’re basically setting up or establishing that contra distinctive other And then we use policing to maintain the countours, to maintain the boundaries, or to in fact police that interstitial space So I think it’s really important for us when we think about sort of this sort of policing issue, we need to think about it’s sort of connection to race in place Anyways, I’ll stop there >> RAMONA PEREZ: That’s great Thank you Donna, Avram, was there anything else you guys wanted to add? We have a good number of questions coming in from the panelists, or from the participants, and I just want to say, I apologize if anyone perceives that I was cutting anybody off We had agreed ahead of time to a certain amount of time and part of that reason is to make sure that we could address these questions since there’s so many folks on it So I deeply apologize, Shanti, Donna, if you feel that I have, I owe you both a very, very sincere apology That’s not my intention My intention is just to make sure that everybody gets a chance to be heard and share We have so much to share, we have so much to say, and I want to be sure that everybody feels like they’re being included So to our many participants, I apologize if that was the perception But, Donna Avi Is there anything else that you guys would like to add before we start opening it up
to folks for their questions? >> DONNA AUSTON: Well, I think one of the things that hasn’t been mentioned, which is where I was going, in part where I was going, in addition to, you know, sort of considering the whole ecosystem, right, of policing, right, with, you know, connected to property and real estate and those sorts of connections, I think it’s also, it’s vital to sort of think about the ways that policing, the practice of policing has become increasingly militarized over the course of, you know, several decades, right And this is part of where I was going with like, the nature of the problem, right? Because it includes sort of these individual incidents of brutality, but it also sort of includes the fact that police departments have been receiving federal grants of military-grade equipment for quite some time now I know we give a lot of attention to this in the post-9/11 era, but it was in fact happening long before then, particularly in relationship to, you know, initiatives like the war on drugs and the war on terror, right, where Black communities and Black Muslim communities also have been in particular impacted by these specific initiatives That come at the federal level, but also have local reservations and repercussions, and it’s why we saw or how we saw, for example, in response to protests after the death of Mike Brown, the teargas and tanks and, you know, by a small, suburban, Midwestern police department really occupying, and not as hyperbole, but really actually occupying the streets of, you know, of a largely Black township, right? And so these questions, I think, are also important, particularly as we begin to talk about what the possible solutions might be, because, yes, we have to sort of think about what it means to, what it means to provide safety And, of course, a part of that is, it’s not, it’s not, in most cases, it’s actually not increased policing You all have sort of covered that very well It isn’t attention to, you know, making sure that people have access to food and making sure that people have access to good housing and all of these other things, right? But it’s also sort of thinking about the ways that we have been equipping and authorizing police personnel at the local, state, federal level, right, to really behave And we’ve seen how this has really, like, you know, been unleashed in cities across America in the last couple of weeks, right? We’ve seen, you know, we’ve seen teargas, you know, we’ve seen all of these things happening, and one of the ways that this is, one of the ways that this is possible, of course, is because, you know, we’ve allocated the resources at whatever levels of government our funding these particular police entities to basically function as paramilitary, you know, forces, that act without, you know, any type of measures of accountability, really, that have been actually capable of restraining and keeping, keeping this weaponry from being deployed on largely unarmed communities And that’s, I think, a really important part of the question And certainly when we start to think about why abolition as a direction for solution becomes something that we actually have to take pretty seriously, because it’s not just a problem of an individual officer’s training, although that matters, and though that may have some impact We’re also dealing with something that’s a lot more systematic, and quite frankly, much bigger than what an individual officer might do, as tragic as the consequences of those individual actions might be and are and have been, there’s also something else at work here that I think we also need to think about >> SHANTI PARIKH: Ramona, if I may interject, in addition to Donna’s about the militarization, and I’m sure this will be part of the discussion, two other protective mechanisms are certainly the Fraternal Order of the Police or the police unions, and then the pair of Supreme Court decisions in the 1980s, Tennessee v Gardner, and Graham v. Connor, which basically gave, which in effect, said that you could use, police officers can use excessive force, deadly or not, against citizens who are constructed as threatening And in the historical context whereas the black body is perceived as threatening, that becomes an easy, as we’ve seen in these cases, has become the easy defense
And actually one of the cases in St. Louis, with Jason Stockley, Officer Jason Stockley, who murdered somebody, he actually used that, the judge used that in his defense He said, from what we know, the construction about the, an urban drug dealer is likely to be armed with a weapon So he himself in his verdict relied on those tropes and stereotypes So the police order, the unions that kind of protect police officers, but also, the law and the Supreme Court decision which allow it >> RAMONA PEREZ: Yeah, there were two fabulous reports that were just submitted over to Congress, and we can make sure those reports are made available to the audience that hit on exactly on what you’re saying, Shanti, hit exactly on what you’re saying But, Kalfani and Avi, I’m wondering, you know one of the big questions that we have is how can the anthropological perspective, how can anthropologists who understand this very kind of lived experience begin to really make a change, how they can really begin to impact policy, how they can begin to empower communities, and how we can have a more dominant voice in this understanding of the fusion of the two >> KALFANI TURE: Avi? >> AVRAM BORNSTEIN: Well, I think that there’s, you know, anthropology as this holistic discipline, right, covers a lot of different possibilities with the answer to that question, right, and even as you can see this panel here, that people working on very different kinds of questions, community-based, resistance-based, you know, I’m working with NYPD 13:49:39 So there’s all different levels of this 13:49:54 I think that, you know, my own interest has always sort of been in the anthropology of work, and then it became anthropology of violence, right, because I realized how much violence shapes work And so I’m really interested, things like the militarization that Donna is talking about, and Shanti are talking about, there’s aspects of this that are more subtle, and in the organization of work, right? And that we can see, if we’re looking closely as anthropologists So I’ll just give one quick example is that the way we’ve had a shift in terms of militarization, in terms of like, th way reporting structures happen, in terms of policing and such There were times in New York history where housing police officers and school police officers reported to housing managers and school principals, and they’re basically, they were in the background and the school principal said, come with me I give the orders, right? And that was one model And that ended And police in housing and police in schools started reporting to NYPD And you know, a totally different model of subject and job and the way things are shaped making a much more militarized force So that kind of granular level of the organization of work, the organization of policing, the way police kind of think, that Kalfani is studying about the decision-making processes that police are in These are things, there’s so many aspects to this complicated job, and there’s multivariable things that I think we all have a part of it, a part of that And then, of course, together, we can pull it together It seems like at the macro level, we have a lot of agreement here that we’re talking about a systematic oppression that’s economic and social and political and violent And we’re all looking at different pieces of it >> KALFANI TURE: So I would just quickly add that, first, you know, I think disciplinary boundaries are blurring evermore each day that pass by, and I think that’s a good thing, because, particularly as African-American anthropology, as least what I’ve gathered from my colleagues, we want to pull theory and methods, et cetera, from anywhere that helps us answer the question But what I would say is I think is particularly unique about anthropology and what attracted me to anthropology towards these sort of larger questions about public safety, race, and place, was that, you know, anthropologists sort of privileges culture, and what I mean by that is, I mean one of the first ethnographers who looked at sort of race and place and sort of urban crime, if you will, was W.E.B Du Bois, but he understood that you can’t quantify culture, right? So, he offers us in his classic work on Philadelphia, the Philadelphia Negro, he gives us sort of statisticial sort of demographics He gives us the profile in stats, but then he says, you know “To really understand a people, you have to immerse yourself within those people, to understand the phenomenon, the sort of contingencies that they deal with day to day And I think anthropology, as anthropologists, we’re well suited for that But then I also say that, you know, like we understand the importance of sort of the evolutionary
perspective, the comparative perspective, the culturally relative perspective, but also the holistic perspective So when we go into these communities or embed ourselves in these sort of work spaces, whether they be police stations or police academies, local, state, or federal levels, we’re not just looking at the sort of socialization or professionalization of officers in that location We want to understand it against the law so when Shanti talks, cites the sort of jurisprudence around this, and I would just sort of add to that list, Dred Scott, the Dred Scott decision where the Chief Justice Taney said that Black lives have no rights that white folks are bound to respect, which actually occurred not too distant from where you are presently located Plessey versus Ferguson, and I would actually go before Tennessee versus Gardner, or Graham v. Connor, and I would say that when the Supreme Court decided to come up with its own law with qualified immunity, right, qualified immunity in 1967 and its most recent sort of [indistinguishable] decision was in 2009, it sort of insulated law enforcement, insulated sort of this culture of violence, insulated white supremacy and this institution, this coercive institution, that is often utilized, right, particularly in this post-racial world, where its sort of mode of production is changing, et cetera, they rely on it more heavily So from a holistic perspective, I also know that I need to look at sort of legal jurisprudence I need to look at what the law says But I also need to look at the historically, what are things that anthropologists, we don’t just privilege culture, but we see that culture changes over time And it changes within sort of interlocking structure And so we want to look at culture both historically and what are the institutions that come in and out So I think that doesn’t get to the answer, but I would say that, you know, ethnography by way of anthropology is certainly an important part of that solution It’s how we study the problem >> SHANTI PARIKH: To that I would add, I think that a role that anthropology has played in a lot of what we do is exposing how public discourse shores up particular sentiments and fears and racializations So Kalfani’s point, the police do that, but then how the American public buys into this idea that if you get rid, if you defund the police, then there’s vulnerability of subjects A particular, can I share my screen just to show this one, I was amazed as I was preparing for this, this is what displayed in the local newspaper yesterday And if you can see, this came out just yesterday Sort of playing on discourses of fear, to Kalfani’s point, this idea of violence, of playing on white people’s fears, and it was, it was supposed to be a critique of the defund, so already, they’re trying to mobilize people, probably for elections that are around the corner, and this idea that if you vote Democrat, this is what’s going to happen So the police, sort of our attempts to reform police are also caught up in the moment that we’re in, which is the election And I think now is the critical time, both to, for anthropologist to put forth an agenda that is tuned to local specificities and it takes into account the communities that are marginalized that are being overpoliced but also do want a police presence to protect them in other ways, but also this very aggressive counter narrative that’s going to try to disrupt or confuse the public imagination and definition of some of these terms So, for example, the idea of abolition or the idea of reparations that becomes so politically coded and heated So part of our role also is to help disentangle for public consumption what that means, and what it means in local instances >> RAMONA PEREZ: And how we could imagine some kind of alternative to public safety program that takes the warrior out of it and puts the caregiver back into this, right? And that’s what a lot of the defunding is about, is that moving of those funds into those areas where we could actually care again for each other and care for our communities If you guys are comfortable, I want to go ahead and have Jeff begin to summarize some of the questions we have We have about 44, 45 questions that are out there Some of them are the same, so I know that, Jeff, you’re going to have to condense them maybe and create opportunities for the panelists to really dive into this
We have about 30 minutes left before we lose our closed captioner, so I want to make sure that the folks that have logged on have an opportunity to ask you guys the kinds of questions that need to get answered So does anyone else have anything they want to say before I have Jeff start to pull these questions together for you, which is going to open up a whole deeper conversation hopefully >> DONNA AUSTON: Just very quickly to add on to what anthropologists can do, I would say also it’s important to consider that anthropologists already currently function in spaces outside of the Ivory Tower in the academy and they’re, are contributing in ways that are sort of, you know, across the spectrum, drawing upon their anthropological knowledge and practice and how they interact with communities, how they’re speaking to, how they’re actually activists themselves, how they’re actually working in government offices, you know Where, I mean, anthropologists are already doing a lot of this broad spectrum work on these issues in ways we would often sometimes think of as applied versus sort of theoretical And so it’s important to sort of consider that as well >> SHANTI PARIKH: And putting pressure on our universities Sometimes, we work in institutions that are large employers in the landscapes in which we, and they sit at the table with a lot of power, so even encouraging the institutions that we work at One other thing I think it would be great, and I know this is something we all thought about, is the project that race that AAA has Can we do that? Can we first start by just creating a tool, a database of how these different reforms that are being sort of sort of circulated nationally, whether it’s the 8 Can’t Wait or the movement for Black lives, their platform These are platforms, or the Congressional Black Caucus, these are platforms that are being picked up by a lot of localities, and as anthropologists situated in different locales, can we start to document for our own database as we start to analyze it over the next year how these are, one, picked up locally, how they’re applied locally, which ones resonate locally, given the particular instruments of power, sort of maintenance of social order that is in local locales So just two other thoughts >> RAMONA PEREZ: Yeah, absolutely I think one of the great things about this webinar is the ability to understand what people want to know over here with these questions, so any questions that we don’t actually get to, we will have a chance, hopefully, to begin to address those and put some up so that they can be accessible so that people can feel like they’ve been engaged with the conversation But to your larger point, Shanti, yes I mean, we’ve had our race project has been one that has been very instrumental in getting communities to talk And we’ve had the task force on racialized brutality and extrajudicial violence, and we want to move that into the same kind of project where communities, it’s something communities can pick up and becomes a tool and a resource that anthropologists in their local communities who can help them put these kind of things together That’s one of the intents of this webinar, is really get at how anthropology can begin to address this But to everybody else is okay? We good with me having Jeff summarize some of these questions so that we can get to them? >> JEFF MARTIN: Thanks, Ramona I am Jeff Martin I am a white male with black framed glasses and graying brown hair, graying brown beard Too much gray for my purposes And I’m the Director of Communications for the American Anthropological Association I’m glad you ended that with what you just did, both, both Donna and Shanti and everyone else Some of the questions that I can encapsulate were really how do we as university faculty and students, what steps can we take towards minimizing racial bias and subconscious discrimination in our institution, and subsequently, too, how do we bring this further into K through 12 so that it starts young, when they’re younger? >> DONNA AUSTON: So I can maybe start to address that After Charlottesville and the incidents there a couple of years ago, I was actually asked by the AAA to contribute a short blog post about what was happening in that particular moment, and one of the things that I, it was very short, like 500 words or less, but essentially
the main point that was urgent to me in that moment was, now see often what happens in moments of crisis, you know, we have all of this sort of inward-looking, sort of existential, what are we supposed to do, in this moment of crisis about the racism that exists somewhere out there? So what do we do about Charlottesville, without often, particularly within academic spaces, often sort of doing that introspective work, didn’t look around at perhaps the graduate students that are in your program, maybe that one Black graduate student that your program has and taking a hard look at your recruiting, retention, support for students from underrepresented backgrounds It looks like doing work with the academic disciplinary canons that we construct, we completely often marginalize, or completely ignore, or completely erase, you know, which works and which thinkers are considered essential and important to shaping the discipline and the disciplinary practices You know, so we have canons full of, you know, to use the common phrase for this sort of thing, dead white men who we all sort of rely upon to tell us everything that we ever needed to know about the human experience You know, it looks like looking at the hiring practices in your department It looks like not waiting for the moment of crisis to have conversations about race, to teach about race, not to marginalize scholarship on race, because I know as somebody who actually works on race within the academy, you know, when I started my program in 2011, it was like, you know, sort of, at I guess peak-post-racial moment where a lot of people sort of thought that race was passe and a parochial field of study and we really need to do that anymore, and so the funding agencies that sort of support scholars doing this sort of work are not prioritizing scholarship on race at those particular times, and then when there’s, you know, sort of a rupture, it’s like, “Oh my god, wait, we have to look at this again.” But it was always important It was always relevant It was always key to sort of understanding so many of these other things that we understand to be epistemological and submjet matter priorities because it shapes everything about the social world that we live in, particularly in the US, right? Even though, you know, it’s different in other parts of the world, but white supremacy is a global phenomenon, right? It’s not something that just exists in the U.S., you know The particulars, you know, whatever, tomato, tomato, right, but it’s very important that we understand that this is essential work, essential knowledge, and we support not as a Band-Aid matter, like sort of after the fact, like I mean I don’t know about you, but I have been inundated with solidarity statements from my academic department and my university and from this office and that office and from, you know, Starbucks and from, you know, from everybody who now decides that, oh, my God, we have to pay attention to this, and we need to sort of do something What is it that you are going to be doing in a sustained and, you know, sort of pointed, identifiable set of action steps to redress how racism operates in whatever your domain is, right? And that, trust me, whatever field you work in, whatever profession you’re in, whatever your institution is, whatever your company is, right, you have racism structurally, institutionalized within your domain Figure out how to fix it and don’t look away when the “crisis” recedes, right? And thinking about this as a perpetual crisis, right? It’s not just sort of when this problem sort of explodes into the field of vision of white mainstream America who has, because of the way that racism works, has the option to look away from it when it’s not, you know, in the streets of their downtown, or closing, you know what I mean? So I think for us, to really take these problems seriously as, they’re not, they shouldn’t be addressed as a trendy matter, they shouldn’t be addressed in a superficial way Like, there has to be real, sustained paradigm shifts that guide the way we think about what to do with these intractable, long-standing, stubborn, obstinate problems >> RAMONA PEREZ: Thank you, Donna Shanti, do you have something you want to add to that?
>> SHANTI PARIKH: Just quickly adding to that always, as well, keeping at the foreground the way in which the visibilities and our rallying around the violence against Black bodies becomes very gendered So how violence against queer subjects, nongender-conforming subjects, which is very brutal, at rates that are extraordinarily, you know, unacceptable, becomes invisible But also, Black women If you think historically about the movement against anti-Black violence, it was, it was the image of the Black male So the lynching, Emmett Till, Rodney King, Trayvon, and the Say Her Name Movement was a movement to say, you know, the violence that’s inflicted on Black women is there It’s very, you know, all violence is gendered But how we have to understand them as occurring and needing to be addressed simultaneously, not addressing one and then shifting and the other one So really trying to understand that and how the Say Her Name was, part of that movement was about the police going and treating a woman with a mental illness in a very violent way How her Black womanness got read as the trope of the angry Black woman So instead of addressing her mental illness, criminalizing the trope that sort of preexisted So in addition to looking at race, also being really aware of look at sexuality, gender, and always keeping that in the foreground That’s I think what was so powerful about the Ferguson movement It was a movement that was led by young, queer bodies of color, whether it was cis gender, nongender-conforming, or you know, and it was, and they kept that front in the center >> KALFANI TURE: You know, I would just jump in and say, and try to say in a very quick way, we start to think about solutions You know, so it seems like the problem is multiple, and so in an acute sense, we have to worry about law enforcement and racialized violence But in this more chronic sense, we haven’t sort of addressed the issue of white supremacy And I would actually strongly encourage the listening audience to take a look at the ABA statement, their most recent statement on police violence I think it gets to, and I think it also sort of outlines important steps that the discipline can take So when Donna says that, you know, we tend to think about out there and think about the interventions that we will sort of craft or develop for out there We often don’t think about the way in which anthropology as a discipline has in the past and continues to uphold white supremacy I mean, this is probably a discipline that we were serving most anthropologists would say that they have liberal sort of orientations, and they would classify themselves as being very progressive, but you know, when we sort of take a bird’s eyeview of this, we find out that the progressives and those folk who are so-called liberal identifying are just as problematic with regards to viability of Black lives, the violence that Black people experience day to day, whether it’s physical in the grotesque forms, whether its the silencing, not siding, all of the different variations of violence, and so it’s not always the sort of the grotesque, dramatic forms of violence It’s a continuum, but they would say that they’re very progressive and they support this cause and they’re here because they feel it in their heart to be here But in many ways, this is a misunderstanding of the way in which white supremacy socializes even those with good intentions It’s not a dichotomy, or dichotomous relationship between good and bad, or good or bad, but we all are shaped by white supremacy, and if we don’t think about it consciously, then we can’t take the proper, we don’t even name it I mean, we become nervous about even naming it, right, to say the word, to evoke, when we talk about race, we automatically assume we’re talking about Black people >> DONNA AUSTON: Right If we say we need to reverse gaze, if you will, and talk about whiteness, people get fragile, get upset, get tense, but we could never sort of resolve this problem if we don’t do that, so to answer the question, you know, anthropology has to first look at in-house And honestly do so And then we can provide the proper interventions for policing and some of the other sort of manifestations of white supremacy, whether it be racism, sexism, classism, et cetera
>> SHANTI PARIKH: Yeah, anthropology has really been great at defining terms and the language that we use that is specific So, to Kalfani’s point, white supremacy, anti-Blackness, and those sorts of rhetorical shifts actually then impact how people begin to think about it But you’re absolutely right Just calling it race, it became this neutral thing So it is, that’s a role we could play is really help creating a language, a precise language that can become a natural part of how we talk about it, but that’s precise, that identifies the particular problem >> JEFF MARTIN: Okay Thank you It’s interesting how you all are addressing many of the questions, just through your discourse, just through your conversations You’re covering everything Here’s another question, and this may be possibly geared, so it will be geared to all of you, but Avi Bornstein particularly Can the panelists talk about the larger global systems of racialized policing and what anthropologists can contribute? For example, the police in Minneapolis and everywhere else were IDF-trained and stepping on the necks of people to control them is a specific technique that’s supplied to Palestinians in the occupied territories, so what about the larger, global systems of racialized policing? >> AVRAM BORNSTEIN: Yeah, I mean, that’s a natural entry for anthropology as well That’s right Your example speaks to me My work, you know, for many years was in the occupied territories in with Palestinians writing about the impact of the occupation of Israeli violence on everyday life So, and you’re absolutely right that there’s a shared technology, and a shared technology of every level From, you know, pressure-point type of stuff to the kinds of architecture that’s being used to the software, the kind of stuff that Donna was talking about in terms of militarization, that’s shared training that goes across the world But this is, you know, this is not really a unique thing, right? This is a part of the history of policing as well, right? That what was an original experiment to control the Irish, you know, in the English occupation of Ireland, you know, was adopted to control the Irish in New York City and Boston So that kind of global level of sharing and the exporting of, and New York has been one of the biggest exporters of police, you know, rhetoric and police organization and Giuliani, who’s been in the news so much with President Trump, and had made a fortune selling his consultancy work to countries all over the world about how to use geomapping, basically what was stop and frisk, to use geomapping systems of crime control that ended up giving, controlling Black areas of town, dark areas of town, so, in Rio, right, or in Johannesburg So this kind of global reach, not to mention that the very systems that we’re talking about, the exploitative systems that we’re talking about are global in nature That that same, you know, anti-Blackness racism and white supremacy that we’re talking about in the United States, allows for the kind of exploitation of resources around the world, whether it’s people’s labor in Bangladesh, right, or resources in the Middle East or things like that So all of that is, it’s part of this global system, that’s right I think that that’s, and that’s something that anthropologists have spent a good deal of time studying and seeing how policing has been exported and imported and the racism of it as well, and as Donna and Shanti said, also the rhetorics of racism that have reverberated around the world, and that’s right, it’s not only, it’s amazing how powerful what white supremacist ideology has infiltrated different parts of the world I mean, you know, there’s some great material on the genocide in Rwanda, you know, and of course, there’s this whole ideology of race, of white supremacy, that’s involved with Hutus and Tutsis, that it’s like kind of shocking in a way, but that that has infiltrated, that has infiltrated the globe as well >> KALFANI TURE: And I would just throw in, it’s very fluid There’s a wonderful book out called Badges without Borders, how global counter insurgencies
transform American policing written by, I apologize, I can’t remember the author’s name, but he’s at Johns Hopkins University And he’s talks about how we didn’t just learn from, you know, the [indistinguishable], or police in Germany or other parts of the world, but we’ve also been training police around the world And post-9/11, we were training a lot of law enforcement at the global level in both tactics of using force but also just surveillance And so, it’s a wonderful book, and I think it gives this sort of comparative treatment to police training globally >> SHANTI PARIKH: Certainly the relationship between the emergence of very militaristic, entrenched, sort of brutal police forces with the global extractive economy, right? So that’s sort of the impetus behind a lot of it I’m thinking now of both South Africa in the regulation of, and most of my research is in Africa, the regulations again of Black bodies to confined spaces, whether it’s the homelands or at the mines into protected, you know, basically racial apartheid but also for the extractive pieces as well as to Avi’s part about Rwanda and securing who has access to resources Probably one of the worst places in the world right now is The Democratic Republic of the Congo and protecting the extraction of very critical resources that are used for our cell phones and the like, and the importation of weapons, for the exportation of resources So also, the tie with the global economy and extraction Again, same thing we see in St. Louis >> JEFF MARTIN: Okay Next question is, actually, from an economic student at San Diego State I’m curious because oftentimes it seems like issues of incarceration, drug targeting, police brutality, are largely tied to low-income communities From econometric analysis, race is correlated, but it seems like class is more significant variable in understanding these issues Can you talk about the connection between race and class in the context of these issues? Is it appropriate to address issues of racism without addressing class antagonisms? >> DONNA AUSTON: One of the answers that I give to this question, because it comes up a lot, when discussing these types of issues, not just policing, but say, something like environmental racism, for example, and I always like to start with reminding people that Black people in the United States, in the Caribbean, in South America, literally started our journey in this part of the world as property So we are, like black people, are literally capital, right? So it is absolutely impossible, in my opinion, to separate race from class And had a race-based economic system that actually built wealth on, you know, on the sale and extraction of labor from Black people in the Western hemisphere But also, under the colonial order, in various parts of the globe I mean, what Shanti was saying about that system of global extraction, I mean, officially, we’re like post-colonialism, right, allegedly, right? But that was, so the people who weren’t shipped here weren’t, you know, worked to, you know, extract resources from the places that they lived in And this continues to this day And so at that point, it’s, when I get this question, I have to admit, and I’m not picking on the questioner at all, but it is a bit frustrating, because a lot of times we do, it’s not one or the other It’s always both And so I think it’s very important for us, and it continues to be the case So, for example, if you look at the wage gap in the US, right, race and gender have everything to do with, you know, with wealth and class mobility, right? If you are a Black woman earning pennies on the dollar to what a white man makes just because of your identity, how is it possible to separate race from class and from gender and from some of these other categories, right? When we look at practices in the US where racism has often been tied to specific economic
practices, such as redlining, you know, preventing Black veterans returning from war from being eligible for loans and grants and other financial means of assistance under the GI Bill, whether you’re talking about school segregation where Black people were legally and often violently excluded from educational opportunities, which in many ways is, has been one of the primary means of economic class mobility for people If I can’t actually attend school or if the schools that I am attending are separate and inferior, so go back to, you know, Plessey versus Ferguson and some of these other earlier cases that established segregation as the legal, like, law of the land in many cases, and, of course, it’s continued in sort of, you know, these, you know, more- sorry, what is the word I’m looking for? You know, sort of transformed, right, sort of ways We don’t have Jim Crow anymore Brown versus Board of Education was supposed to have ended school segregation But we know from the data that in most places in the US, schools are still highly segregated I know New Jersey where I live, which is in the North, right, it’s not a part of the Jim Crow Belt historically We still have some of the most segregated schools in the country And so like all of these things that actually contribute to people’s ability, and this is, and I could go on, they’re predatory lending schemes that disproportionately impact communities of color I mean, it’s like, you know, we have all day We could do a whole webinar on the ways that economics is profoundly and primarily shaped in a lot of ways by race, gender, and other sorts of social identity So these things, in my opinion, are very much inseparable >> AVRAM BORNSTEIN: In our discussion, someone threw out the word that’s on everybody’s lips right now that you were just describing of intersectionality, and so there’s a certain intersection between these types of identities I would just want to make one sort of addition to that, and that, clearly, the racial system, you know, that has this intense organizing factor in terms of class systems But they’re intersecting They’re not identical, right? And that racist fears, cultural fears of the other, in any dimension I’ve written about this in terms of Israelis and Palestinians, that there’s an exploitative opportunity with those things, but there’s also a dynamic of racial fear and white supremacy that operates beyond exploitation, even, that has a dynamic completely on its own, that is, has no economic rationality to it, and that it cannot be reduced to, that it is irrational in a certain economic way So although some people can be opportunistic and completely exploit these racism and racial fear and racial otherizing, it has a dynamic that can also just destroy the ability to make any profit whatsoever, and you know, in multiple time frames that we could look at that So I think we should allow it some of its own momentum, in a sense, or social power >> JEFF MARTIN: In the remaining time, we have, it doesn’t look like much, but I want to get to the culture of policing again, if I can, and the thought that, you know, some people say, “Oh, there are rogue cops, there are bad cops.” No, there’s a culture of policing, and the training and where it all begins and it goes even beyond that But this question says, when it comes to reforming police education to require a two-year degree, how would this be vetted? I have seen the types of classes that folks going into policing take in community college I’ve actually seen the course material, and it tends to be racist, sociology-based data that reifies the ideologies that people of color are inherently criminal So how would this even be a solution if before they even get into the academy, they’re already being indoctrinated to see people of color as nonhuman in need of surveillance and order? >> AVRAM BORNSTEIN: I guess I’ll jump on that because I spoke about education There’s no question that education, that the higher education in the United States has
been an instrument in order to support white supremacy since its beginning, and it always has been It’s also been a vehicle to counter white supremacy and to counter other kinds of vehicles You know, I mean, we’re very proud of the mobility we bring to folks, to people of color at CUNY who have moved through the system, through the economic system, the educational system And so I think that, for sure, it depends a lot on what kind of education is gonna happen I think that we need to have an accredited type of education You know, we can say the same thing about counseling and school teachers, right? And so they have had, in their accreditation process, they have, you know, they have metrics that look at how does the profession address these issues And not everybody does it well, right? But it’s a self-conscious kind of thing Now, criminal justice is much further than counseling or K through 12 education, but that’s a potential direction That that becomes a part of, you want to have an accredited two-year degree or four-year degree, you have to at least try to address certain benchmarks Does it, is it a fool proof system? Absolutely not, but it is built with the idea that higher education can be a progressive force in this, the kind of analysis and attack on ethnocentrism that we are advocating here for anthropology That’s the higher education that we’re advocating for, and we know that it could also be racist Anthropology has also taught people about cranial sizes and those kinds of things for plenty of years I want to throw one thing out here about police culture, though Kalfani already touched on the warrior stuff, so I’m not going to come back to that and the militarization But there is a double side to this, right, there is a contradiction, because police, you know, they don’t perceive themselves in this perspective, right, of being warriors against people, good people, citizens, and such like this They see themselves defending everybody, right? Every good person gets their defense, and any, you know, that’s the, that’s what they want to see themselves as, right? The defender of the neighborhood And coming into even a poor, oppressed, Black neighborhood, and I might be a white guy from Long Island, but I see myself as the defender of the people of this neighborhood, as deluded as that might be, right? But that is, that’s a very strong cultural element, that pulls, in a very, you know, it’s completely corrupted by racism, but I don’t think, I don’t think it’s, but I think that is a basically idea about democratic policing, that no matter who you are, you can call a cop and get somebody to come deal with your problems, right? And cops want to believe that about themselves So that’s something a part of it that can be tapped, let me put it that way, and encouraged, and we need, like good anthropologists to expose them to the ethnocentric racist presumptions they make in trying to protect the good people, right? Those kinds >> RAMONA PEREZ: But that also means that we need to step up and put ourselves in a space where we can teach those classes in our criminology programs, in our policing programs, in our homeland security programs, in our programs where we’re seeing this kind of phenomena happening And it means that as anthropologists, I mean some of the questions that have come up is how can we as academics really begin to address this on our campuses? How do we get our campus police involved? And I think there comes a point where we have to step up and say, we are suited to have these kinds of conversations, and then we need to go to our senates, our faculty senates and basically say, “Let’s create requirements”, and you know, we were fortunate at San Diego State, and we’re very fortunate in California that we have an ethnic studies mandate now as part of our general education program, but in addition the Senate just passed a resolution that all of these kinds of programs now have to have a course, a series of courses, actually, but they have to take at least one course that gets to dive into the policing of Black bodies So this is something that we can do as individuals and as departments and as faculty and then work with our anthropologists and others in the communities to really make that happen >> KALFANI TURE: Go ahead >> DONNA AUSTON: If I can just add, really quickly, part of what also, I think, is a component of the culture of policing is, of course, education, training, that sort of thing, but it’s also sort of what police are allowed to do and get away with And there’s a culture that extends beyond immediate police departments and it stems into the legislature and it extends into the court system and it extends into, you know,
some of these other ancillary systems that are sort of responsible for making sure that, you know, somebody, you know, holds police accountable And because that’s been severely lacking or very weak in most cases, I mean, most of these officers are not even charged formally for killing people It’s very difficult to sort of, you know, to sort of expect that the police are going to police themselves And there has to be, you know, yes, I think there are things that we can do in our classrooms and whatever, right, that actually are very important in helping people to see issues differently, right? It’s one of the reasons why I teach, why I like to teach, because I like to sort of have my students learn the process of, you know, being exposed to other perspectives and that sort of thing But at the same time, you know, and I’m, I’m speaking now primarily as a Black woman You know, who happens to be an anthropologist, but it’s everything that in my experience, you know, in however many years I’ve been alive, I won’t tell you all how old I am, but it’s more than a few, that police, they don’t have any incentive to rein in behavior, you know, unless they’re internally motivated, right? And I think that’s a big problem And one of the things that Dr. King said, Dr. Martin Luther King said was that you know, that, “The law may not make a man love me, but it can keep him from lynching me.” And that’s a very, that’s very important, you know, distinction You know, sometimes, there has to be some measure of accountability, and also, I believe, you know, taking away the ability, you know, in this case, you know, one of the ways to do that is through defunding, right? Not funding police so that they are able to be armed to the teeth So that every single, cause it’s sort of a contradictory messaging, right, that we’re saying, you should get this type of training, and, again, it may help individual officers, but I think at a systemic level it has limits, because you’re telling, you know, yeah, you know, Black people, you know, maybe are like this or that, and maybe you shouldn’t, you know, shoot on site, but then you sort of sit, you know, the most sophisticated, you know, murderous, destructive weaponry in their hand, like what is the actual like messaging that we’re giving to police officers when we tell them to exercise this type of restraint but actually then give them the most lethal set of tools in order to do the job that they’re supposed to do? It’s sort of, it’s hard to sort of expect, I think, that they will not, “Well, why do I have all this fancy equipment? I must, it’s for use, right?” And so that’s one aspect, like thinking about this as, you know, there are, there are a lot of different approaches that I think have to be simultaneously enacted that help us to really get this problem under some sort of control >> KALFANI TURE: So I just want to add So there was a lot of points raised And first, let me just be matter of fact, here You can’t train someone who doesn’t want to be trained In other words, they can go through the motions in the police academy I can tell from you the academies I attended, you had a multiple choice test at the end of some instruction block, but a week prior, you had already received the answers So you can’t train someone who doesn’t want to be trained And second of all, there are a lot of different structural things that also invalidate the training You know, I spent about what, 16 hours learning about domestic violence or interpersonal violence, only to leave the class and have another academy recruit tell me, what did this so-and-so do to that guy? Right? And so you have a culture that invalidates the training So that’s an issue And then you have, we’ve gotta understand how the D.A. or the prosecutor works with the police officers When they have an issue, they go to the police department to investigate that issue So there is this sort of incestual relationship with the people who in fact should hold them accountable And then, as we mentioned earlier, there’s this sort of legal sort of philosophies, whatever, or practices, whether it be qualified immunity or just other sort of legal jurisprudence that protects them So bad policing is well insulated Now, I’ve always been an advocate for taking police academies and putting them on college campuses, and here’s why So I respect the idea that you can have bad pedagogy and a bad professor in the classroom
But if we require police officers to get degrees alongside of their certifications in law enforcement, they have greater chance of being exposed to analyses of structural inequality, what underpins structural inequality They have more than 16 hours of interpersonal violence or domestic violence They’ve taken a semester course on interpersonal violence Instead of approaching policing in a ahistorical manner, they then have to learn something about the history of policing, perhaps, the history of policing and race So I’ve always been a fan of moving police academies to campuses The stuff that we do that we can’t do on campuses in terms of firearms training, defensive tactics, perhaps and learning how to operate an emergency vehicle, yeah, you can do that off campus, but you’re also exposed, hopefully, or theoretically, to diversity The other thing that I want to say is, when I say you can’t train someone that doesn’t want to be trained Again, policing is one issue, but we have to think about the umbrella, which is white supremacy Look, you know, the reason why we have a federal 1033 program, which is for the militarization of police officers, because culturally, we as American citizens, also have been accepting the idea around the Second Amendment We are a pro-gun country, and at the root of that militarization of police or us as everyday citizens and the Second Amendment is that we fear the other We fear the encroachment of the other We believe in some, that there’s some dystopic sort quality of the other being in public space in civil society And so whether as police officers, we immediately seize upon these dystopic figures, who may be Black or Latinx, women or queer, right, whether we seize upon them to apprehend them, or to permanently incapicitate them, we see that as our obligation as police officers, but we also see that as an obligation as everyday citizen So one of the things that we did not discuss is lateral policing, which is seeing everyday citizens as extensions to law enforcement who go out and enforce order So you can get folk who will chase Ahmaud Arbery down, hunt him down and kill him, or you can get a police officer that would use force, that this sort of distance between the two is not what we imagine; it’s very close >> SHANTI PARIKH: Or the woman who called the police on the birdwatcher >> KALFANI TURE: That’s right >> SHANTI PARIKH: We are arming civilians, and the only evidence she had to give knowing how powerful it would be is a Black man, an African-American Man >> KALFANI TURE: Absolutely >> SHANTI PARIKH: One thing to add that I found very useful during and after the Ferguson thing is many of these places have Black police societies That within the police are, have identified unique structural issues that need to be addressed So I’m now thinking of the Ethical Society of Police in St. Louis where they have already identified specific structural issues that they would like, you know, that they think need to be abolished Some of them are removing police departments from the investigative process, making the whistle blower complaint system more, very few whistle blower complaints within the police because there is such an incentive to not be a whistle blower and there’s actually very punitive measures if you are a whistle blower from within, but also making police files public if a police officer has a lot of different violations as we’re seeing in the Minnesota case So even on the ground in our different localities, there have been groups who have identified and, again, going back to the 8 Can’t Wait and going back to the movement for Black lives, those sorts of outlines can be very useful in thinking about which one of these policies, which one of these recommendations are the right ones to target, depending on the particular situation >> RAMONA PEREZ: Thank you so much We are really against time Dr. Auston, Dr. Parikh, Dr. Ture, Dr. Bornstein, your insight, the opportunity to have had this conversation with you today is something that none of us can walk away from without having changed our lives in some kind of really powerful way Jeff, I don’t nkow if you want to be able to talk a little bit about how we can begin to answer the questions that did not get answered and how we can continue to include our amazing panelists as part of this ongoing conversation as we move forward to not just leave it here,
but this is where we pick it up, and we run with it >> JEFF MARTIN: Exactly One of the things I want to say quickly is that this has been recorded, and we will make this visible on the AAA YouTube channel, so you’ll be able to see it And I don’t know if my boss, Ed, is going to get angry with me right now, but I am actually going to talk to him about actually possibly a part 2 webinar, because we’ve only just begun to address this issue And out of, I can tell you, 61 questions, we only asked maybe five or six So it’s possible, we could have a part 2 and continue this discussion again >> RAMONA PEREZ: Thank you Thank you so much, Dr. Austin, Dr. Parikh, Dr. Ture, Dr. Bornstein, any last?