Racist Police Terror: Poisonous Tip of the Class War
By Nayvin Gordon, MD, 6-24-2020
While police violence and other forms of oppression affect Black workers disproportionately, White workers also suffer from racism, including incarceration and police murders (i.e. greater proportions of black working-class people are killed by cops or incarcerated, while greater numbers of white working-class people are killed by cops and incarcerated).
This article documents some of the ways this occurs. (See also Racism Makes HALF TRILLION Dollar$ in Super-Profits for Capitalists: an Un(der)told Story, https://multiracialunity.org/2020/06/22/racism-makes-half-trillion-dollar-in-super-profits-for-capitalists-an-undertold-story/
The fight against racist killer cops helps all workers:
For decades, over 1,000 Black, White, and Latinx people have been murdered by the police every year and rarely has a cop been fired or put on trial for murder. During the last 40 years we have had both Black and White presidents, and the killings go on. We have had Black and White, male and female mayors, judges, prosecutors, and chiefs of police, and the cops continue to murder, maim, and brutalize. Only when multiracial masses in the hundreds of thousands across the country marched, demonstrated, tore down statues, and burned police cars and police stations did some cops get fired and finally charged with murder. The multiracial masses know that “liberty and justice for all” is a lie. The demonstrators understand that in spite of the corporate media’s description of the police as primarily racist killers, police murder is racist class terror. White workers killed by the cops get less media attention. In fact, cops murder more poor working class Whites than Blacks every year. In 2016, the police killed 266 Blacks, 133 Latinx, and 574 Whites. Police kill Black and Latinx people disproportionately compared to their numbers in the population (The Counted, The Guardian).
Therefore, this multiracial battle against the racist police nationwide benefits ALL workers.
The fight against racism can stop the war on social services for the working class:
Racist stereotypes and propaganda promoted in the corporate media create the false idea that government social safety net programs like Medicaid and SNAP (food stamps) mostly benefit minorities.
The reality is:
- Medicaid covered close to 24 million White people, over 11 million Black people, and over 17 million Latinx people who were non-elderly in 2018.
41% of recipients were White; 20% were Black; and 30% were Latinx.
(Kaiser Family Foundation,. 2018 data)
- SNAP (Food Stamps) provided food assistance to over 37 million individuals in early 2020: 14 million White people and 10 million Black people.
In 2016, about 39% of the heads of households were White; 25% were Black; and 12% were Latinx.
(US Dept. of Agriculture, 2016)
The massive movement to stop racist police terror has the power to preserve and expand social programs. The Trump 2020 budget has $2 Trillion worth of cuts to the social programs Medicaid and Medicare (marketwatch.com). Racist propaganda allows politicians to get away with cutting or defunding social programs which hurts millions of Black and White workers.
The fight against racism can stop the war on the health of the working class:
Racism hurts Black and White working class people in Flint, Michigan and many cities in New Jersey. In one of the largest environmental disasters in US history, the politicians deliberately diverted poisoned water into the drinking water system for Flint, Michigan in 2014. No one went to jail for the deaths and disability of 100,000 adults and children. Flint, Michigan has been labeled by the racist media as a “Black” city. Flint is 54% Black and 40% White. The reality is that there are 40,000 Whites in Flint who also suffered. This is how racism harms both Black and White working class families.
In New Jersey, eleven cities have more lead affected kids than Flint, Michigan. The six most heavily poisoned cities are considered “Black” cities because they have large Black populations. Atlantic City, the most lead poisoned, is 44% Black and 27% White out of a 40,000 total population. The other five most affected cities have White populations from 9% to 45%. Many thousands of both Black and White people and their children are poisoned because of systemic racism that allows the profit system to spend less on public services for all workers, while the top 1% gets $Trillions in massive tax breaks. The mass movement against police terror can demand expanded social programs and health care for ALL (NJ.com, 2016).
Racism is the tool to divide and rule:
The famous Abolitionist Frederick Douglas said:
“The hostility between the Whites and the Blacks of the South is easily explained. It has its root and sap in the relation of slavery, and was incited on both sides by the cunning of the slave masters. Those masters secured their ascendancy over both the poor White and the Blacks by putting enmity between them. They divided both to conquer each” (NJ.com, 2016)
Winning the class war with multiracial working class unity:
Today the Corporate Masters, the top 1%, still use the poisonous weapon of racism in their war against the working class. Multiracial unity is the working class antidote to their racist poison, and essential to win the class war.
Kaiser Family Foundation. Medicaid Enrollment by Race/Ethnicity. 2018 data.
Marketwatch.com. Davidson K. and Restuccia A. Trump’s proposed $4.8 trillion budget will seek cuts to Medicare, Medicaid. The Wall Street Journal, Feb. 9, 2020. https://www.marketwatch.com/story/trumps-proposed-48-trillion-budget-will-seek-cuts-to-medicare-medicaid-2020-02-09
NJ.com. Why 11 N.J. cities have more lead-affected kids than Flint, Michigan, 2016, updated 2019. https://www.nj.com/news/2016/02/11_cities_in_jersey_have_more_lead-affected_kids_t.html
The Guardian. The Counted: People Killed by Police. https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/ng-interactive/2015/jun/01/the-counted-police-killings-us-database
US Dept. of Agriculture. US Dept. of Agriculture. Characteristics of SNAP Program Households, 2016 https://fns-prod.azureedge.net/sites/default/files/ops/Characteristics2016.pdf
Dr. Nayvin Gordon writes about health and politics and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org