V: Dethrone The Police
ACAB & Black Lives Matter
Hello, and welcome from Vancouver, Canada.
This is the fifth edition of The Voice In Your Head Is Mine. The date is June 8th, 2020. If you're receiving this email and have no idea what's going on, well, fuck. I guess I blew it. Or maybe you blew it. Either way, you're here and this is Zac Thompson's weekly newsletter.
It’s the early morning on Monday. The world keeps changing and it’s overwhelming. It’s too fast to keep up with but I’m here living through it, like all of you. Trying to absorb everything I can but the pace of social media has hit lightning speed and shows no signs of slowing down.
I’ve been overwhelmed, angry, and grieving everything that’s going on. A lot of what’s happening now has happened before. But it relies on us to ensure it doesn’t happen again.
This is a cycle on repeat every decade/year/month. And it’s depressing that we’re still stuck on the basic societal tenet of Black Lives Matter. But it’s time everyone championed the issue and pushed for systemic reform. Most of the inequality we’re facing in society is built upon a foundation of white supremacy and it’s high time we tore it all down.
I’m mad. Mad that we’re here. Mad I’m seeing horrible videos of violence without warning. Mad that Canadians seem to believe we’re exempt from this (the RCMP was created to “control” indigenous people, residential schools, the sixties scoop, the highway of tears). I could go on but it’s best people do their own self-motivated research.
I’m mad that during waves of non-violent protests, cops have been drawn out and beating people senseless. Mad that there are people who have been brainwashed into thinking that being “anti-fascist” is a bad thing. It’s a whole mess and social media was making it worse.
Until it wasn’t. It’s interesting to see the surveillance state turned upon itself. K-pop fans are flooding hashtags, cops are being recorded being bastards, helpful protest information is being spread every minute of every day. It gives me optimism. But we’re far from done here.
I just hope that each and every person reading this takes a moment to empathize with someone outside their own experience. I hope that every White person recognizes that their complicit in a system of oppression and that it’s not enough to merely acknowledge that oppression. We must actively work to dismantle anything in our society that propagates white supremacy.
All Cops Are Bastards
You’ve probably seen a lot of information online about defunding the police. I can’t pretend to know everything about the issue. But if you (like me, at first) feel alarmed by the prospect of defunding or disbanding the police, it’s not as radical as it sounds.
Due to a variety of factors, Police reform is almost impossible. Yes, you’ve read that right. It’s depressing but the men and women sworn to serve and protect us are more likely to serve and protect one another. Police unions, the blue wall of silence, and systemic problems are all to blame. And they’re entangled within one another. To pull at one is to pull at them all.
If you want to learn more about the utter futility of police reform in America, check out THE FORCE on Netflix. It’s a documentary from 2017 that follows two years of efforts by the Oakland Police Department to implement reforms against police misconduct and scandals, at a time of growing social unrest, protests demanding increased police accountability, and ongoing federal oversight.
It is essentially a depressing look at a Police department trying everything to reform and failing at every turn due to a variety of factors. It’ll help you better understand the push to defund and disband the police.
Similarly, the documentary LA ‘92 has just become necessary viewing. The film follows the 1992 Los Angeles riots and consists entirely of archival footage. It also includes film and video from the 1965 Watts Riots, the 1973 election of Tom Bradley, the 1978 promotion of Daryl Gates, the shooting of Latasha Harlins, the Rodney King videotape, and the subsequent riots and violence that erupted after the acquittal of the officers involved in King's beating.
It’s difficult to watch but shows an unyielding cycle of violence against the black community in America. It’s not an isolated incident but a symptom of a very broken system that was constructed as an institution of white supremacy.
The entire doc is on YouTube for free. If you know nothing about the LA riots, do yourself a favor and watch this:
Take Root Among The Stars
This week’s playlist. Right here.
Accomplices Not Allies. This piece is an indigenous perspective on performative allyship and the inauthentic ways white people join the fight against oppression. It’s a necessary read that will challenge your preconceptions about yourself in light of all of this. Do read it, even if it feels like it’s punching you in the face.
This interview with William Gibson is wonderful. A little digression from the theme of the week. A look about embracing the weirdness of the world we’re currently living in.
I found this episode of the Ezra Klein Show with Ta-Nehisi Coates a really interesting listen in light of everything going on. He makes a good case for hope in the face of all this and how we can emerge from 2020 better then we came into it.
That’s it for this week. No writing advice or process to talk about. Go out and do some reading. Find out ways you can help the movement for change. Support organizations fighting for racial justice. Give yourself time to recharge. This is a lot. And that’s not even taking the fucking pandemic into account.
I’ve got two comics out this week. Both No One’s Rose #2 and Undone By Blood #3. I love both issues with all my heart and really do hope they bring people some enjoyment in light of all this. It’s also my 32nd Birthday on Wednesday. So don’t just do it for the stories… do it for me.
I know it feels like a good time to succumb to misery but that’s exactly what people are banking on. Let this movement empower you, let yourself be filled with hope, look at the world – we’re united on this front. There’s so much power in that. We will emerge from this better than ever. If you’re overwhelmed – you’re not alone. Rely on those close to you to create a healthy dialogue about your place in the world. It’s important to keep perspective and to realize that this (like most things in life) is a marathon, not a sprint.
Be excellent to one another. Take time for yourself. And read more poetry.
Until next week,