nexuslogoAs a white woman who studies the function of power structures that utilize the rape and murder of women and other minorities as a tool to maintain dominance, power and control, I gotta say this:

Being anti-white privilege is not synonymous to being anti-white people. Being anti-systematic, institutional violence is not being anti-people who are police officers. Being anti-militarization of police officers that cultivates internalized racism is not being anti-people who are cops who entered the field to genuinely try to help others. Being aware of the power dynamics between police and citizens and being critical of the displaced authority that is given in spite of all of the above issues — those are the root issues that everyone needs to be thinking about, contemplating, wrestling through and chewing on in order to better understand our society’s and criminal “justice” system’s history, and what its function and purpose has subsequently lent itself to becoming today.

Let’s attack the system that relies upon white male privilege to dictate its laws and actions, recognize that it breeds tangible consequences and become more aware of how this ideology embodies itself through government constructed spaces and institutions and inadvertently upheld and supported by everyday people like you and me.

Again, as a white person, it’s definitely my responsibility to take ownership, acknowledge and seek to become more actively aware of and learn how to fight against the privilege I have. And though I will be nowhere near guns in my career — hopefully, at least, my fear stemming from the not uncommon recurrence of shootings, including the recent tragedy here at UCSB — I will assume a power position that uses a red pen to determine someone’s grade within an entirely different screwed up institutionalized system — education. And that authority complex, institutionalized, systematic racism, sexism, classism, ableism, etc. and governmental power dynamic exists there too because it is structurally built within its very core.

However, when guns allotted to kill others are supplied in quantities that only the military are authorized to use and contain, I think it is well worth commanding our attention to and becoming critical of police forces. The lack of empathy and integrity that police regularly display is a consequence of capitalism and the profound dissonance that lies between humans and their humanity.

We live with a broken justice and prison system that capitalizes upon the arrest, incarceration and liquidation of women, people of color, and the impoverished — and that is what we aim to change.


Natalie Holstead