I was born, and grew up, in America. Yet, what I see coming out of the minds of some Americans regarding the actions of American police should be odd. The current police attacks against people in ferguson, in response to protest following the police shooting of an unarmed young man, should wake all Americans up to the fact the police are not their ‘friends.’ Despite, not only the events unfolding in ferguson, but an increase in police violence across America, there are still people making the ‘bad apple’ argument.
Some Americans go on and on about ‘Well, there are a few bad apples who make all cops look bad but there are still good cops who care about the people.’
This argument is quickly derailed by simply posing the question, ‘Where are all these ‘good cops’ when the ‘bad cops’ are attacking people and killing unarmed citizens? I don’t see any ‘good cop’ jumping in to do anything.’
Such a simple, yet material question, stops Americans right in their train of thought and causes their brain to flash the fatal error message of logic before their very eyes. They only know how to keep repeating, ‘Well, not all cops are bad’ over and over again. They simply don’t know how to answer in a way which does not contradict the argument of ‘A few bad apples.’ The reason they don’t know how to respond, or even understand, the material argument that the cops are not your friend is a lack of material experience connected to the ideas in their heads.
I wish not to confuse or lose you dear reader in a sea of jargon, so let’s break it down a bit more.
From my own experience, those who make the ‘bad apple’ argument have a degree of privilege in society, either racially or economically, which shields them from the oppressive nature of American police. Police often don’t view them as a ‘threat’ or ‘dangerous’ by default due to the color of their skin or their economic standing. They have almost no material experience of having a cop quickly pull out his gun and aim it at them, handcuff them with no crime having occurred or beaten for simply asking a question. They only see it on TV or a YouTube clip and assume it only happens to people who ‘had it coming’ or live in a ‘bad neighborhood.’ When they cannot make those assumptions they will write off the police violence as ‘bad apples’ and a little reform will solve everything. If they experienced the full force of the oppressive American police their opinion would quickly change. If they were dealing with daily police harassment directly, and indirectly via their friends and loved ones, the ‘bad apples’ argument would disappear from their heads. They would understand that the ‘good cop’ who helped them is the same cop beating the snot out of, and in an increasing number of cases shooting, unarmed peaceful people the next neighborhood over.
So, it all comes to not having enough material experience to understand just how brutal the American police really are. Just wait, as soon as it happens to them they will be screaming for justice while forgetting that at one time they believed it was only a few ‘bad apples.’