For years, the public have been urging lawmakers to revamp how police officers are trained yet, officers still shoot and kill unarmed children and adults. Most cops rarely serve time and the few that do get a slap-on-the-wrist sentence just to appease the public. Lawmakers then promise they will provide sensitivity training for officers yet, we still are forced to make hashtags of people who were killed by people who are sworn to protect and serve.
Now, we have a movement where people demand real action. Not just words that sounds nice but real justice. Basically, if the police can’t do their job, why should they still get funded? That’s a fair question and over the past few weeks we’ve seen city budgets where in some cases the police received up to six times the budget that education or other social services receive. There were even conversations that suggested that in some areas, police departments were given funds from the education budget. Which do you think we need more of?
Some of you are thinking why am I making this a gender issue and I’ll explain. Since the protests (and really before Covid-19) women, particularly Black (including trans and non binary) are continuously being harmed even while doing liberation work that will help everyone.
I’ve seen conversations where some Black women are hesitate to support abolishing prisons and police because they fear the uncheck behavior men will display. Women currently can not completely trust men as a whole to keep them safe from other men. Men as a whole have a lot of work to do with checking and standing up to other men and until patriarchy is dismantled, it will be hard to completely dissolve prisons and the police all at once.
For a long time, many Black women have suffered in silence for fear of getting the law involved in their domestic disputes. Black women are constantly putting others before themselves and sometimes those selfless actions leads to Black women’s unfortunate demise.
According to the Violence Policy Center, Black women are more likely to be murdered by people they know or have an intimate encounter with. With these numbers, who will protect Black women and girls when nobody else will?
We already know that the police doesn’t take domestic violence seriously. In fact, this study found that almost half the police are abusers themselves.
Everyday I understand more and more why prisons should be abolished. But the fact is, patriarchy is tied to capitalism and violence against women and marginalized genders. To abolish one system successfully, we as a society will have to dismantle patriarchy—in fact, all forms of systemic tools user to oppress. But what does that look like?
- Ending poverty for one. A number of crimes are directly related to capitalism. If poverty were to be eliminated, less crimes involving disenfranchised people would be part of the system. According to Impact Law, the most common juvenile crime is theft.
- Deprioritizing traditional, conservative values. Patriarchy rules religion, society, work culture and politics. There’s been a long-time blame game of accusing Black women in particular of the cause for the Black male incarcerated rate. Traditional values are based on a white, heteronormative standard and anything that is different from that is deemed destructive.
- Thinking outside of gender roles. Dismantling patriarchy isn’t a war on men—it’s a war on the system the some men can thrive in which is seen as the standard for everyone else.
- Protecting women and marginalized genders. The United States is one of the top 10 dangerous nations for women to live according to Kindred Media. Men must make it their priority to protect all women and marginalized people from other men. Men must go beyond protecting women they are connected to. Men must make it a standard to protect women in selfless acts.
For-profit, ICE and other institutions need to be dismantled for us to progress as a society. However, until patriarchy is disrupted—capitalism, misogyny, homophobia, fatphobia and racism will continue to run rampant. We don’t need prisons but as a society we are not ready to do the real work needed to effectively rehabilitate people as long as patriarchy looms over and through us.