How the system helped curtail police reform by Quinton Mitchell

How the system helped curtail police reform by Quinton Mitchell

Photo Credit. David Ryder of Getty Images

Quick Summary:

First off, I don’t hate police officers. I think that police are needed, yet, police and the entire correctional system needs reform, especially when it comes to dealing with the public as opposed to legitimate criminals that pose a legitimate threat to society. There’s always room for improvement, ranging from tougher barrier of entry when wanting to become a cop, centralized oversight and a national database of all police and any misconducts they do, a national gun violence database, house arrests over incarceration, solving the homeless and housing crisis, improving mental health, gun control, smart legalization of drug, intelligence gathering before engaging suspects, wellness and job programs in prisons, reducing radicalizing material on social media such as on YouTube, and reducing the number of laws on the books so there’s less laws to enforce.

I don’t worship police, but police need to leave good people alone and we need to minimize petty altercations that turn violent. I would argue that cops are effective at enforcing civil penalties (fines), which in and of itself is questionable because it reveals that police are largely serving in a tax collector capacity, yet, their track record when it comes to preventing violent crime is questionable. Many victims of police brutality weren’t necessarily violent criminals or weren’t criminals at all, yet, it seems actual violent criminals just gang members, bikers, etc., tend to operate with immunity. In other words, police need to focus on violent crimes (assaults, murders, trafficking, rape, gun violence, etc.), rather than focusing on enforcing civil penalties which can lead to police altercations.

Cops acting like tax collectors with guns, or hallways monitors who issue citations to enrich local governments, is one of the root causes of police altercations, and at-risk communities who suffer from low employment, gentrification, rising real estate prices, environmental pollution, etc., are most vulnerable to over-policing ordinary citizens. Many victims of police violence aren’t career criminals, terrorist, drug cartel leaders, but everyday Americans who are often profiled for how they look or who are brave enough to state their constitutional rights in the face of a police officer.

Comprehensive Police reform was never going to happen and the system, i.e., the nexus between private and special interests, corporations, the media, police agencies, and state and federal governments, employed an array of tactics ranging from (1) poor Congressional political strategy resulting in incrementalism at the federal level, (2) media shell games relating to the showcasing of examples of blatant police abuses versus cases that were morally ambiguous to cause doubt and division amongst the public, (3) politicians talking about reform, but many politicians and the White House continue to fund police agencies such as through Program 1033 relating to the militarization of police, (4) divisive marketing campaigns such Defund the Police, (5) discrediting the Black Lives Matter Movement and using the media to undermine black liberation politics, e.g., using the Jussie Smollett fiasco and debates relating race involving the Kyle Rittenhouse Case versus the Darrell Brooks Waukesha Parade Attack, to undermine the black community who were at the forefront of police reform, (6) unleashing dangerous criminals who commit crime so the public wants more police, (7) the media blowing up the Crime Wave Panic without providing any context about the root causes such as the obvious fact that society is slowly reopening after the COVID-19 spikes, (8) Copaganda, i.e., propaganda showing cops in a good light as opposed to a realistic light, and (9) the politicization of police with by way of Right Wing politics and the erosion of political impartiality within cops.

In other words, the system used mind games, reverse psychology, waiting out the storm, shell games, etc., to stall and undermine police reform.

Table of Contents

I. Introduction. Police Reform fails and strategies going forward.

II. Media Shell Games

III. Saying Reform but Really Funding Police behind the scenes

IV. Poor Marketing

V. Political Dialectics and the Illusion of Political Differences

VI. “Let the Children Tire Themselves Out” and waiting out the storm

VII. Discrediting, Race Play, and Reverse Psychology

VIII. Unleashing the wolves to harass the sheep

I. Introduction. Police Reform fails and strategies going forward

Police Reform has failed after all the hard work, energy, protests, riots, conversations, and a general heightened sense of awareness around race and police. All the system had to do was “hold out the storm” and let the public “tire itself out”.

Hassam Kamu (2021) of Reuters stated, “The promising effort to reform American policing that was trumpeted as an all-out endeavor in Congress following the largest racial-justice protests in a generation has culminated into nothingness.” Per the article by Kamu (2021), Democratic Senator Corey Booker led negotiations in the Senate, but Republican Senator Tim Scott from South Carolina stated the legislation ultimately failed because of the “defund the police” slogan, going so far as stating on 22 September 2021, that “Democrats said ‘no’ because they could not let go of their push to defund our law enforcement,”. Yet, Kamu (2021) stated that, “None of (“the”) Democrats’ proposals during the months-long negotiation actually sought to defund police, by the way.” In other words, Tim Scott lied and tried to scapegoat Democrats but being the only black Senator who is a Republican, Tim Scott did his job, i.e., providing black optics, but still holding the line for the predominately white Republican party.

The article by Kamu (2021) talks about how local governments will have to champion the cause of police reform by citing Christy Lopez, former deputy chief of the Justice Department’s civil rights division and now professor at Georgetown University Law Center.

Essentially, comprehensive national police reform has failed, and what we are left with is the same old sense of incrementalism based on federalism (local politics and decentralization), but also the fact, which will be presented later in this article, that police have received further funding including new innovations in technology to potentially violate the public’s civil liberties.  

This is highly problematic because the source of police corruption and abuse stems from the fact that police organizations are organized around the concept of localism, and localism therefore creates a smokescreen when it comes to abuse. With laws such as the Posse Comitatus Act of 1878, which was created in the late eighteen-hundreds after the Union Army withdrew federal forces (acting in a police capacity to protect black people) from the post-war Confederate South. Posse Comitatus means that federal authorities don’t interfere in local matters relating to policing unless a Civil Rights violation or similar federal violation arises. Even, though the Posse Comitatus Act of 1878 relates to a separation of military from local affairs, the precedent set by the act translates to modern policing considering the military at the time when the act was passed served in a police capacity. The general rule is that policing is a local matter, unlike other nations where police in many regards are centralized forces supplementing local or provincial police forces such as with the Royal Mounted Police in Canada, or the concept of the gendarmerie in nations like France and Italy.

Lack of federal muscle on police reform is the equivalent to the scenario if the federal government didn’t apply Civil Rights laws by way of the Interstate Commerce clause in the 1960s, i.e., the federal government can only reform police and Republicans know this. If the Federal Government didn’t use Interstate Commerce to justify Civil Rights legislation, then state governments such as those of the Jim Crow South would have been able to continue “separate but equal” segregation policies.

There are so many jurisdictions in the United States, that reforms to police abuse are often reactionary, i.e., after the fact, as opposed to preventative.

People protests, and agencies pay out restitution to victims (at taxpayer expense), but cops often are acquitted or transferred. Every agency is influenced by its locality meaning there’s different atmospheres and sentiments relating to race, politics, income levels, etc. Every community has its own “ingredients”, thus every community needs its own progressive policy yet there needs to be an overarching centralized mandate to ensure frameworks are being appropriately applied, enforced, and tracked (e.g., with analytics). For example, a police agency in an area that overwhelmingly voted for Donald Trump, which might have a history of racial segregation and/or existing racial disparity influencing crime or arrest policies, likely will not stand for any sort of police reform (as seen by the fact that no Republicans voted for police reform). Or, even in a state like New Jersey, which is one the wealthiest states, but still has issues with segregation, e.g., predominately white, and upper income communities such as those of Bergen County as opposed to poorer people-of-color communities in places like Essex County (home to Newark).

The bill that stalled in the Congress is the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act (House Resolution 7120), which cleared the Democrat controlled House 236–181 (that’s a total of 417 votes, meaning 236 out of 417 is about 57% voting yes, yet there are 435 representatives meaning 236 out of 435 is about 54%). Only three Republicans voting in support included Will Hurd as the only black House Republican (just let that sink in) on June 25, 2020.

After clearing the House in the summer of 2020, it advanced to the Senate as S. 3912 with Corey Booker sponsoring the bill, yet, Tim Scott, the only Black Republican helped to stall and gut the bill, such as not bending on the question of qualified immunity, and the year ran out, i.e., Congress went on its break and the bill died in committee.  In 2021, the bill was reintroduced for a second time by the House after being kicked back by the Senate, with the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act of 2021, and it was introduced again by California Democrat Karen Bass as H.R. 1280, who chairs the Congressional Black Caucus. The Resolution passed the House on March 3, 2021 with a (220–212) yes vs no spread, with zero Republicans supporting the bill (432 votes in total, meaning 220 yes votes amounts to about 51%, yet there are actually 435 representatives meaning 220 out of 435 is about 50.1%). Yet, by the fall of 2021, Corey Booker stated that “negotiated had failed”, but what does this really mean? It means they know they have no clear path of having Senate approval, so…they’re “giving up for the meantime as Democrats await better representation in the Senate as opposed to a simple tie-break vote provided by Kamala Harris in the 50/50 Democrat to Republican Senate”.

The differences between House votes between 2020 to 2021 relating to the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, i.e., 54% versus 51% could have been because of vacancies, abstain votes (present or no votes), etc., considering there are 435 house seats appropriated unchanged between the two years (Source: Ballotpedia.com, 2021). This could mean that the original bill was passed when some members weren’t able to vote, but after the 2020 election and going into 2021, more representatives showed up and voted against the bill, such as “Stop the Steal” Republicans being sour after Donald Trump lost to Joe Biden. The few Republicans who voted for the bill in 2020, quickly changed their tune and voted against it.

According to Ballotpedia.com (2021), “Elections to the U.S. Senate will be held on November 8, 2022, and 34 of the 100 seats are up for regular election. Those elected to the U.S. Senate in the 34 regular elections in 2022 will begin their six-year terms on January 3, 2023.  Fourteen seats held by Democrats and 20 seats held by Republicans are up for election in 2022. Republicans are defending two Senate seats in states Joe Biden (D) won in the 2020 presidential election: Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. Democrats are not defending any Senate seats in states Donald Trump (R) won in 2020.  Following the 2020 Senate elections and the January 2021 runoffs in Georgia, Democrats and Republicans split the chamber 50-50. This gave Vice President Kamala Harris (D) a tie-breaking vote, and Democrats control of the U.S. Senate via a power-sharing agreement.”

There are some factors to ponder regarding the Democrat strategy come the Fall 2022 Senate Races.

Democrats could lose seats considering Republican’s across the nation have been inserting voting reform bills making it harder for people to vote. Also, Kamala Harris could become president in the event Joe Biden steps down or his age and health take a toll on him, yet, if Kamala Harris becomes President either by rules of succession or by running outright herself, she could simply elect a new President of the Senate (her acting VP), thus maintaining a plausible 50/50 tie breaker vote, yet this could be highly unlikely. With Joe Biden assuming the Presidency in January 2021, in theory he has until January 2025, so if Kamala were to step in, she would have possibly a few years as President until she would be required to run outright herself.

Yet, Democrats could lose a Presidential race and not gain any power in the Senate and lose seats in any House race, etc. It makes sense that Democrats would wait to gain Senatorial power, considering Republicans are a monolithic “lock in step” party (unlike Democrats who have Senators like Kirsten Sinema and Joe Manchin), yet, all these scenarios do call into question as to whether comprehensive police reform will pass soon. Joe Biden could get tougher with Republicans, but Biden’s strategy as seen in the Infrastructure and Reconciliation Bill debates seems to be let the Congress handle it even though he states his wanted outcomes. Biden could figure out bills that Republicans highly prize and threaten to veto any such bills if Republicans don’t get more in alignment with police reform. Biden could also issue Executive Orders directing the Executive agencies who answer to them, to freeze funds for police unless reforms are made. It’s all an utter tragedy regardless because Biden could do the strongman tactics of Trump, yet Biden seems more about restoring a sense of normalcy. You can’t blame him, but then again, he only has one real chance to enact true reform. Why play nice and be honorable, when Republicans have proven they are willing to support a President like Donald Trump who cares nothing about “gentlemen rules”. The US public is being held hostage by unsympathetic Republicans who still must walk the fine line as to whether Donald Trump in exile, the modern equivalent of Emperor Nero, still approves of them.

Yet, Democrats could come out on top. Six Senators announced retirement from the Senate with five of them being Republicans. Richard Burr of North Carolina (a swing state), Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania (a swing state), Rob Portman of Ohio (a swing state yet growing more conservative), Richard Shelby of Alabama (historically very conservative), and Roy Blunt of Missouri (historically a purple state) are all Republicans (Source: Ballotpedia.com, 2021). Patrick Leahy of Vermont is the only Democrat retiring but Vermont has solidly been a Democratic state with many progressive elements embedded into its culture. Peter Welch, already a House Representative from Vermont, and a friend to the late Civil Rights leader John Lewis, is running to fill in for Patrick Leahy. Brandaun Dean, an African American, is running to take Richard Shelby’s seat in Alabama, and if he’s able to win in a very conservative state, even though Alabama has a large African American population, he could help turn Alabama into a “purple state”. Yet, Dean’s climb will be much steeper in my opinion that what Stacy Abram’s faced in Georgia considering you have Atlanta as the largest source of votes, and she still lost her election.  

Yet, many seats are up for grab, besides those where Senators stated they are retiring, and many Democratic candidates are running for the same seats meaning it’s going to be dirty fight internally as well as with Republicans clawing for those seats (not to mention any third-party candidates such Independents, Greens, Libertarians, etc.). For example, Senator Raphael Warnock in Georgia who beat Kelly Loeffler is up for re-election since he was elected in a special election when Senator Johnny Isakson stepped down giving Kelly Loeffler an non-contested victory. Basically, Warnock beat Loeffler who stepped in for Isakson, but Isakon’s terms in which Warnock won after beating Loeffler is due to expire in 2023 meaning Warnock must run for a full 6-year term.  

The Police Reform Bill included some innovative measures to help such as creating a database to track police misconduct and disciplinary actions, restrict giving military weapons to police via the Department of Defense Program 1033, requiring body cameras and dashboard cameras, revoking qualified immunity (one the largest issues) by revising 18 United States Code Section 242, ban no-knock warrants and choke holds, and issue funding for training on anti-discrimination. The House in committee hearings had a diverse crew of guests, including Fox New’s Don Bongino (Source: Burn, 2020, Vox), whom as we know is an ardent Trump supporter. The insertion of Don Bongino into Congress, similarly to when Congress foolishly platformed Candace Owens to speak on matters of race, proves that hearings in part are essential but can take on certain elements of a circus show, giving free press and credentials to people who want to stand in the way of progress.

So, the United States not only lacks a national database of gun violence, where such violence is tracked by non-profits (charities), the United States also failed to create centralized accountability systems of police abuse and misconduct.

Section Sources

Ballotpedia.com (2021), United States House of Representatives., Retrieved on 12 December 2021., Source: https://ballotpedia.org/United_States_House_of_Representatives

Ballotpedia.com (2021), United States Senate elections, 2022, Retrieved on 12 December 2021., https://ballotpedia.org/United_States_Senate_elections,_2022

Burns, K. A Republican witness at a congressional hearing on police brutality didn’t mention police brutality., (published on 10 June 2020)., Vox., Retrieved on 12 December 2021., Source: https://www.vox.com/identities/2020/6/10/21286605/dan-bongino-fox-news-police-brutality-hearing-congress

Kamu, H. Congress fails on police reform. Now what?., (published on 12 October 2021)., Reuters., Retrieved on 12 December 2021., Source: https://www.reuters.com/legal/government/congress-fails-police-reform-now-what-2021-10-08/

II. The Media Shell Games:

The media inserts ambiguous stories to overshow stories of blatant police negligence, abuse, and killings, and by doing this it causes the public to call into question or raise doubt about police reform. I call this the shell game, where the shell game is an ancient game in which a person has an object like a ball underneath three cups and quickly shuffles the cups around, so a person can guess which cup has the ball, often involving a wager of money, i.e., a bet. This is like what the media seems to be doing. Shuffling stories around, getting the public to bet on cases, but if the public ever comes out wrong, the house ultimately wins overall. Further, many shell games are rigged to begin with, for example having trap doors on a table or magnet in a cup so people always guess wrong.

When people are passionately calling for police reform, the media can insert stories to effectively play reverse-psychology games, so when the facts of ambiguous cases are revealed, it serves as a “Aha, gotcha moment”, and this helps to undermine or shame police reform advocates. For example, Tamir Rice (November 22, 2014) and Eric Garner (July 17, 2014) were blatant examples of police abuse, yet, later downstream as the larger police discussion raged on, the media showed cases such as Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsin, Ma’Khia Bryant in Columbus, OH or Willie Henley in Buffalo, NY. The Blake, Bryant, and Henley situation, though tragic, were also more complicated, in that police were responding to potentially violent situations such as Jacob Blake having a knife, Ma’Khia Bryant having a knife (with photo evidence of her trying to use the knife), and Willie Henley having a mental health breakdown. Despite, having some radical voices who don’t want any police officers, the public in my opinion was more so disappointed that police consistently kept using deadly force or, even after the larger police reform discussion about using alternative methods had been ongoing for years.

Yet, the Blake (August 2021), Bryant (April 2021), and Henley (September 2021) situations were much later than the initial beginnings of the current police reform movement, where from its beginnings to the present there are many examples of blatant police abuse.

The beginnings of the modern police reform movements can be traced back to the blatant murder of Eric Garner (July 17, 2014) in New York City, and the Michael Brown shooting in Ferguson, Missouri (August 9, 2014), where the energy displayed in the Ferguson Protests/Riots could be traced further back to the sociological effects of social media, over the acquittal of George Michael Zimmerman over this murder of Treyvon Martin (February 26, 2012).  When Treyvon was murdered that energy was boiling in the public, so once more and more police shootings occurred, that energy merged with the police reform movement.

In summary, even though Treyvon Martin’s murder in 2012 wasn’t explicitly calling out police, the racial implications of the case, started the energy that would later coalesce with actual police killings or abuse (a larger, yet separate issue but often straddling the issue of race), and this energy would create the Black Lives Matter movements, which was the strongest and most visible of all police reform movements, and even though it was intended to speak up for injustices against black people, the movement absorbed other police reform movements making it more multi-racial (since anyone with a YouTube account can see videos of police abusing all types of people). The reaction to BLM therefore created the reactionary movements of All Lives Matters (which never called for police reform but was simply a way of alleging that black people are ‘reverse racist’, emotional, or selfish) and then the Blue Lives Matters movement. So once an actual police reform movement was established, the system picked up on this, largely to farm votes, make promises, and have a steady stream of media coverage. Yet, as time went on, the police reform movement (a grassroots movement) became more powerful, especially when the domestic and international protests occurred during the George Floyd situation, so the system started to insert more morally ambiguous cases to control the public, i.e., using a form what can consider to be psychological warfare (for example, read into concepts such as white, grey, and black propaganda).

Showing ambiguous cases helped to overshadow blatant cases of police abuse and undermine police reform movements.

III. Saying Reform but Really Funding Police behind the scenes

The system (i.e., a nexus between private special interests, corporations, government, institutions of violence, and the media) never truly wanted to reform police. If anything, the government has continued to fund police such as the Biden-Harris Administration issuing the Cops Hiring Program (CHP) by way of The Department of Justice, that has allocated $139 Million to police agencies across the USA. According to the Justice Department (2021), “The awards provide direct funding to 183 law enforcement agencies across the nation, allowing those agencies to hire 1,066 additional full-time law enforcement professionals.” Further, per the Justice Department (2021), “Since its creation in 1994, COPS has invested more than $14 billion to advance community policing, including grants awarded to more than 13,000 state, local and Tribal law enforcement agencies to fund the hiring and redeployment of more than 135,000 officers. CHP, COPS’ flagship program, continues to be in demand today: In FY21, COPS received 590 applications requesting nearly 3,000 law enforcement positions. For FY22, President Biden has requested $537 million for CHP, an increase of $300 million.”

Also, under the Trump Administration by way of William Barr at the Justice Department, police agencies started increasing the use of facial-recognition software by firms such as Clearview A.I., a part of a larger “pre-crime initiative”. According to Elizabeth Lopatto (2020) of Verge, “More than 2,400 police agencies have entered contracts with Clearview AI, a controversial facial recognition firm, according to comments made by Clearview AI CEO Hoan Ton-That in an interview with Jason Calacanis on YouTube.” According to the US Senate in a public release dated June 10, 2020, “U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Ranking Member of the U.S. Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs, Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR), Ranking Member of the U.S. Senate Committee on Finance, and Senator Cory Booker (D-N.J.), today sent a letter to Attorney General William Barr and Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Chad Wolf expressing concern about the use of facial recognition technology to gather information on those Americans who joined in protest of systemic racial injustice. Americans in more than 350 cities across the nation have taken to the streets while law enforcement agencies have unregulated access to inaccurate and biased facial recognition technology.”

We also can’t forget that the militarization of police agencies by way of excess Department of Defense surplus is still going. Police agencies receive surplus military hardware via the National Defense Authorization Act and the Pentagon’s Program 1033. Since 2021, there is likely even more rampant transfer of military hardware to police considering the drawn down from Afghanistan. Alice Speri (2021) of The Intercept, reported, “Nearly $90 million worth of military equipment was transferred to police last year alone, and more than $7.4 billion since 1990.” Further, Speri (2021) stated, “The proposed amendments to the defense budget have been introduced by Democratic Reps. Nydia Velázquez and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts, and Hank Johnson of Georgia. (Johnson’s bill has a Republican cosponsor, California Rep. Tom McClintock.) Velázquez’s, the most aggressive among them, seeks to end the program altogether by striking the NDAA provision that authorizes it. Ocasio-Cortez’s seeks to prohibit the transfer of a number of items, including ammunition, grenade launchers, and mine-resistant ambush-protected vehicles. The vehicles, known as MRAPs, have become a symbol of the program after they were dispatched to protests and home raids. Pressley’s seeks to issue a moratorium on 1033 transfers of what is known as “controlled party,” which includes military items like weapons, vehicles, and night vision equipment. And Johnson’s seeks to limit the transfers but offers a series of carveouts and exceptions, including for counterterrorism purposes. The language of Johnson’s bill already cleared the House as part of a the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, which has languished in the Senate.”

Cops haven’t been reformed, but more so police agencies could by toying with the public by not dealing with crime. They’re holding out, while the media simplistically talks about the “crime wave” of late 2021, so the public crawls back to police (despite cops still being paid by taxpayers). The media is helping this by playing “shell games” to discredit protestors no different than how previous administrations such as Nixon or J. Edgar Hoover used nefarious methods to undermine progressive grassroots movements, such as Red Squads. But we need to realize the “system” has decades of practice and contingency in place, and there’s methods largely due to social media and technology as more efficient at exploiting the masses.

Section Sources:

Lopatto, E., Clearview AI CEO says ‘over 2,400 police agencies’ are using its facial recognition software, (published on 26 August 2020), Retrieved on: 12 December 12, 2021, Source: https://www.theverge.com/2020/8/26/21402978/clearview-ai-ceo-interview-2400-police-agencies-facial-recognition

Speri, A., Lawmakers Take On Militarization of Police in Defense Budget Talks. Biden failed to take action on the Pentagon’s 1033 program. Now four lawmakers have proposed NDAA amendments that would limit or end it., (published on 20 September 2021)., Retrieve on: 12 December 2021, Source: https://theintercept.com/2021/09/20/ndaa-military-equipment-police-1033/

The United States Department of Justice – Office of Public Affairs., Justice Department Announces $139 Million for Law Enforcement Hiring to Advance Community Policing, (published on 18 November 2021) , Retrieved on : 12 December 2021, Source: https://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/justice-department-announces-139-million-law-enforcement-hiring-advance-community-policing

United States Senate – U.S. Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs., Brown, Wyden, Booker Seek Answers On Federal Use Of Facial Recognition Technology To Monitor Nationwide Protest, (published on 10 June 2020), Retrieved on: 12 December 2021, Source: https://www.banking.senate.gov/newsroom/minority/brown-wyden-booker-seek-answers-on-federal-use-of-facial-recognition-technology-to-monitor-nationwide-protest

IV. Poor Marketing

When the slogan, Defund the Police, came about it immediately received criticism that simply fed into conservative status quo politics. Even, though there is context and nuance around the slogan of Defund the Police, i.e., it really means diverting funds into social investments such as mental health, poverty prevention, after school programs, let’s be honest…most people don’t really dig as deep when trying to find context or nuance, especially in a polarized political environment. The slogan easily could have been “Reallocate Police” or “Freeze the Police”, i.e., taking a police officer phase of “freeze” when trying to apprehend suspects, in an attempt freeze funding for police while further legislation and reforms were drafted and hopefully passed by state and federal lawmakers. I have no proof of what I am going to say next, but it seems that Defund the Police was purposely inserted into the lexicon or into the “zeitgeist” (collective consciousness) to be controversial so people would likely not support police reform largely since people were fearing “radical Leftist politics”. It seems like an easy trick to pull. Insert a controversial phrase into the public so it helps create a larger wedge on an already existing wedge issue. Once the term was inserted or “downloaded” into the collective consciousness, no one could really stop it because conservatives pushed it to undermine police reform, and people who are liberal or on the Left felt they needed to support the slogan as to not be seen as not being “down enough with the cause”. I am not sure who created the slogan of Defund the Police, but once could speculate that such as slogan could have easily been inserted into the public to create a further divide.

V. Political Dialectics and the Illusion of Political Differences

The Democratic Party serves the role of “calming” or “anesthetizing” the public by hearing out the concerns of the public, often using this for political gains, i.e., farming votes, such as appealing to minorities communities by promising to acknowledge their concerns in good faith, yet the Republican Party adamantly defends the police state. So, what you end up with is one side being apologists (losers) and the other side being defenders of the status quo, yet neither side are concerned about reform, since the very nature of Congress at this point is juggling the public who often doesn’t have monetary power yet are essential for the number game of winning votes, with that of powerful corporate interests (passing spending bills where tax money goes to powerful entities or special interests). Even if there are a few politicians who are true believers in police reform, they’re far and few, and the complicated process of creating legislation in the Congress between the House, Senate, and President, makes promises of police reform nearly futile. Democrats promise, give fiery “woke speeches”, say the right things to be considered “down” with whatever communities they represent, but often promise things can’t deliver on, yet, the politicians can simply blame the opposition.

VI. “Let the Children Tire Themselves Out” and waiting out the storm

 The nexus between the Department of Justice, Congress, police agencies, and media, simply wait until the public “tires itself out”, so nothing changes. The media uses race to tire out the public on racial conversations, so the underlying agenda of reforming police doesn’t happen. It could be summarized as using and elevating black people, but then scapegoating black people downstream, so nothing changes, but the black community is left with the resent of other communities.

VII. Discrediting, Race Play and Reverse Psychology

Since police abuse often has a racial connotation to it, elements of the media try to shame communities such as black community by insinuating that the black community obsesses over race, can’t think outside of a racial worldview, and black organizations such as Black Lives Matters are fraudulent entities (where the right wing has even compounded this allegation by inserting everyone’s favorite boogeyman of George Soros – as if Soros is the only billionaire funding movements, e.g., the Mercer Family who donated to the Trump Campaign where involved in the Cambridge Analytica data scandal).

This use of racial tropes of black people being “emotional or irrational”, therefore feeds into the larger collective consciousness of society in which, for example, many white people become disillusioned, some often insinuating a sense of reverse racism or the media giving minorities preference over the grievances of white people, and all of this is used by conservatives to grow their base, yet, it seems as if this “farming operation” is purposeful between both political parties.

For example, take the Jussie Smollett case. Jussie Smollett selfishly appropriated the larger racial conversation which in many ways was in opposition to the white supremacists’ dog-whistles of Donald Trump, where this larger conversation includes police reform. When Smollett was found guilty of lying about a hate crime, even though he wasn’t directly linked to police reform, the fiasco he caused helped undermine police reform, since, as already stated, police reform was an element of the larger racial conversation. Many people in the public see Smollett as being indicative of alleged bias for minorities within the liberal media, and this energy feeds further into opposing progressive politics such as feeding into the energy and talking points of people such as Donald Trump, Candace Owens, etc. The goals are to make black people (serving as the more visible force when speaking up for BIPOC issues), to appear “irrational”, “emotional”, “playing the race card to their own advantage”, etc. It’s a form of reverse psychology or employing “gotcha moments”, by making it seem as if minorities are racially obsessed emotional beings who will “believe anything”, and this helps to undermine the legitimate concerns raised by BIPOC communities.  

Another example of trying to discredit black people where black people are at the forefront of police reform, is how Black Lives Matter as an organization was attacked. The Right Wing as already stated tried to tap into the George Soros conspiracy theories, where those conspiracy theories in and of themselves harken back to antisemitic tropes, e.g., Z.O.G (Zionist Occupied Government) or the Protocols of the Elders of Zion (thus, feeding into the right-wing fringe elements of the Donald Trump administration, and by right wing elements, I’m not saying people who disapprove of Israel which has been alleged as being antisemitic in our Bari Weiss redefinition of the word of antisemitism, but actual people who hate Jewish people and wish them harm).

Yet, critics of BLM, including legitimate outlets where people get news from such as The New York Post (despite it having a reputation for spin tactics), alleged that BLM was engaging in real estate fraud, when Black Lives Matter co-founder Patrisse Khan-Cullors was discovered to have purchased multiple properties. Rick Rouan (2021) of The USA Today, in a fact check of the allegations made by conservative non-profit National Legal and Policy Center Chairman Peter Flaherty, stated “But there is no evidence to support the idea that Khan-Cullors used donations that poured in amid nationwide protests in 2020 to bankroll the purchase of four homes.”

Rouan (2021) stated, the claim that Black Lives Matter co-founder Patrisse Khan-Cullors bought four luxury homes is MISSING CONTEXT, because without additional information it could be misleading. While some social media users suggested that the purchases were evidence that Khan-Cullors had been enriched by the movement, our research revealed no evidence that Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation funds were used to purchase property. Khan-Cullors has held several other jobs in addition to her work as the organization’s volunteer executive director, including writing a memoir and developing content for Warner Brothers.

Robert Gaetry (2020) of Fox News, spoke about Sir Maejor Page, who was a founder of a chapter of Black Lives Matter in the Metro Atlanta area. Gaetry (2020) stated, “Page founded Black Lives Matter of Greater Atlanta in 2016 and this year took in more than $466,000 in donations in June, July and August, Desorbo said. “In sum, Page has spent over $200,000 on personal items generated from donations received through BLMGA Facebook page with no identifiable purchase or expenditure for social or racial justice,” he said. According to the bureau, Page also used $112,000 of the donated money to purchase a house for himself in Toledo, Ohio. The transaction took place last month. Black Lives Matter of Greater Atlanta could not solicit donations after losing its tax-exempt status as a charity in 2019 for failing to submit to the IRS 990 tax returns listing donations and expenditures.”

Lastly, Gaetry (2020), stated, “The FBI in Toledo said Page pledged to use those donations “for George Floyd” but instead used the money make purchases related to food, dining, entertainment, clothing, furniture, a home security system, tailored suits and accessories.”

So, even if Black Lives Matter was corrupt, what does their alleged corruption have to do with actual police reform or the fact that the United States has a history of racism and reality of structural racism? The goal of conservatives is to use race to discredit the overarching goal of police reform, e.g., alleging BLM is a global “Jewish” conspiracy meant to “agitate black people” against white people and that the organization is a money laundering scheme, using situations such as Jussie Smollett’s fake hate crime to discredit the entire black community, and insinuating that black people are so passionate about their race – indifferent to the needs of others – that they will believe anything indifferent to the facts such as insinuating that most black people didn’t know the victims of the Kyle Rittenhouse shootings were white (i.e., calling black people’s emotional and intellectual state into question which harkens back to old racial tropes that black people need guidance and paternalism from “wise, civilized, and more calm” white people).

Within any organization structured like Black Lives Matters which seems to be based upon decentralized franchises or chapters, the likelihood of corruption will always be there, but to state that all or most chapters weren’t engaged in legitimate public engagement, training, community initiatives, etc., seems false. Any corruption that occurs with Black Lives Matter is unacceptable, and it is my personal belief that Black Lives Matters hasn’t done enough to truly impact or improve the material conditions of the black community. Yet, regardless, BLM doesn’t represent or have sole-ownership of the entire history of the treatment of BIPOC people withing Western Civilization.

Black Lives Matter does have a responsibility to ensure the funds gathered from donors is being adequately distributed – with accountability – to impoverish communities across the United States such as providing scholarships to colleges be they HBCU, HIS, Tribal Colleges (Historically Black Colleges and Universities/Hispanic Servicing Institutions); assisting in America’s housing and homeless crisis such as providing temporary living assistance; establishing transitional programs for newly released inmates; organizing voter registration campaigns; donating to other educational institutions such as museums that represents the history of BIPOC peoples; safe sex campaigns by partnering with organizations such as Planned Parenthood, and standing up for sex workers – many who are people of color – who suffer violence such as working with SWOP (the Sex Worker’s Outreach Program).

It does seem that Black Lives Matters has faded from mainstream public view after the 2020 Presidential Election (not saying there’s still grassroots communication continuing), which does raise the plausibility that the organization was used to “farm” black people’s votes to benefit the Democratic Party machine, particularly to counter the power of Donald Trump, who upon his election controlled both chambers of Congress, and by the end of his presidency put three conservative Supreme Court Justices into power (who have the power to see cases over Voting Rights, Civil Rights, reproductive rights, etc.). Yet, as already stated, BLM whether it’s entirely good, entirely bad, or partially good and bad, doesn’t solely represent the goals of black, Hispanic, Indigenous First Peoples, bi-racial/multi-racial, or AAPI liberation. Essentially, if BLM were to completely fade away tomorrow and die in infamy, it doesn’t mean racism also disappears, it doesn’t mean the Republican Party is catering to white supremacy (such as Marjorie Taylor Greene advocating for a White Anglo Saxon Caucus), nor does it mean that police abuse isn’t an issue.

Section Sources

Gaetry, R. Atlanta activist spent $200G in Black Lives Matter donations on house, personal expenses: FBI, Sir Maejor Page, 32, is facing fraud and money laundering charges., (published on 26 September 2020)., Retrieve on 12 December 2021, Source: https://www.foxnews.com/us/atlanta-activist-spent-200g-in-black-lives-matter-donations-on-house-personal-expenses-fbi

Rouan, R. Fact check: Missing context in claim about Black Lives Matter co-founder’s property purchases., (published on 19 April 2021)., Retrieved 12 December 2021., Source: https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/factcheck/2021/04/19/fact-check-misleading-claim-blm-co-founders-real-estate/7241450002/

VIII. Unleashing the wolves to harass the sheep & race relating to Kenosha – Waukesha – and Oxford High School

When you look at the case of Darrell Brooks in Waukesha, Wisconsin, but also, the shooting of Joseph Rosenbaum in Kenosha, Wisconsin, you notice that both men were criminals. Why were the released from jail or release from the authority of a mental health facility? There are many people in jail that don’t have the sheer amount of baggage these two men have yet are still wasting away in dangerous and unsanitary prisons across the US. Ironically, the same system that police are a part of, i.e., the state, let these men out of jail, where one could argue not only do police use excessive violence often against people who aren’t threats, but they also release dangerous people from jail who end up terrorizing the public. Is this by coincidence? Or, maybe these lags in the system are due to the fact the system (that police are a part of) is too big to fail but constantly fails being so big and disorganized (unaccountable). It’s like a machine that spits out problems naturally, but it’s so big and embedded into society that no one notices until it’s too late.

For example, Joseph Rosenbaum was a pedophile, having been released from jail, but he was in a later relationship with a woman, yet he was living a nearly destitute or transient existence. He never should have been out of the care of mental health professionals but for some reason he was released. His aggressive behavior that night toward Kyle Rittenhouse (who never should have been out that night to begin with) helped spark the shootings that commenced. It’s interesting, as well that with Rosenbaum being a pedophile (who was also assaulted himself at a young age), the pedophile category has been applied by the political right culturally towards the political left in other arenas, such as with Qanon, the notion of “Hollyweird”, etc. The political right trying to take ownership of the pedophile category to attack liberals or the Left, is simply a strategy to undermine progressive politics, even though pedophiles come from all racial, ethnic, gender and political backgrounds. The fact Rosenbaum was a pedophile in theory helped give the political right more ammunition in their campaign to underline the political left in the larger Culture Wars, even though Rosenbaum was an individual acting on his own accord.

Just because Rosenbaum was at the protests doesn’t mean he was there to protests and it doesn’t mean he was there to stand up for what the protestors were standing for. Basically, he was likely there to cause issues to take out his rage against the world, i.e., the riots were an excuse for him to express his rage against the system, his own failures, his own demons, etc. Those who supported the protests or the cause underneath it, were not necessarily angry a pedophile was murdered, but more so a counter-protestors or vigilante had showed up to a protest which resulted in the deaths of people even if Rittenhouse was found innocent of all charges. The implications of having counter-protestors such as those in typical militia garb such as Proud Boys or Boogaloo escalating violence was the concern, considering these groups are extensions of MAGA politics (“Stand back, stand by”, as said by Donald Trump when asked about militias during his debates with Biden which happened before the eventual January 6th Capital Insurrection).

Relating to Darrell Brooks, the conservative media was very quick to try to bring up Darrell Brook’s race, because they felt that the liberal media during the Rittenhouse Trial was against “white people”. Aesthetically, in the minds of many, Rittenhouse is symbolic of “MAGA, Blue Lives Matter, Police worship”, whereas Darrell Brooks is symbolic of “easy on crime, ‘liberal policies’, black radicalism”, etc. In other words, to many, Darrell Brooks represents to the cultural Right Wing as being the result of soft-on-crime policies, racial double standards, and the need for more cops, i.e., “this is what happens when we don’t have police and this what happens when you let “Demon-crats” have power”. Yet, what people fail to understand between the two cases of Rittenhouse and Brooks is that everyone knows that Brooks is a criminal, everyone regardless of race can agree he’s a criminal, and he’s already on his way to being fully persecuted by the law, whereas the Rittenhouse was more ambiguous as to whether he was or wasn’t a criminal, but from first impression, based on his profile (a cop loving, Donald Trump rally attending young white male, who made suspect comments about using violence against protestors), there was reason to be highly suspect of Kyle Rittenhouse. Rittenhouse inserted himself into a larger cultural debate that encompasses a wide array of values, aesthetics, movements, symbols, interpretations, a remind of a history of white vigilante justice, etc. Therefore, the media bit so hard into the Rittenhouse case. It is because there was ambiguity and ambiguity lead to conversations, panel experts, segments (commercial break included), etc.

After the Rittenhouse acquittal, there was the Waukesha Parade Attack by Darrell Brooks, but then came the tragic Oxford High School shootings on November 30, 2021. Per conservative logic, such as the rhetoric by pundits such as Candace Owens or Steven Crowder, one would have assumed the “liberal MSM media” (MSM is mainstream media) would have instantly called out the shooter’s, Ethan Crumbley’s, race. But, they didn’t. Why? Once could only assume that there’s are different reporting procedures and different rules (even, if only “gentlemen’s rules) when it comes to reporting various categories of crimes, e.g., mass shootings/school shootings versus terror attacks (which could include mass and/or school shootings) versus possible hate crimes versus “everyday crimes”.

What I notice here regarding the Right Wing’s take to these events after the Rittenhouse Trial is that Republicans are desperately seeking to establish “racial parity”. They feel that liberals or the Left have more of a tool in their pocket, e.g., Critical Theory, Intersectionality, etc., to challenge the status quo, so naturally conservatives are desperately trying to find “gotcha moments” to undermine the larger conversation relating to systemic oppression, racism, lack of diversity in certain institutions of power, etc.

All of this does deal with cops, because cops as a symbol are a part of the larger cultural debates, so by conservatives trying to establish “racial parity” in the media, they help grow the sentiment of police worship (the residuals of Blue Lives Matters, etc.).

IX. Copaganda in Hollywood

Many police shows paint police in a popular or sentimental light, where there is always justification for using violence rather than de-escalation tactics.

X. Crime Wave Fears.

After the failure of the Congress to pass legislation, the system giving a few wins to police reformists such as the arrests of Derek Chauvin after the George Floyd Trial, a general sense of ennui in the public as the police (and racial) conversation dragged on, and other things I spoke about above, come late 2021 going into 2022, the media, especially conservative media is pushing the “Crime Wave” panic. This further helps to justify the presence of police. Yet, the Crime Wave could be simply boiled down to the slow recovery and normalization of life with COVID-19. People have been staying inside, remote working, not commuting to work, online shopping, etc. Naturally, as more people leave their homes, there will be a higher probability of crime, where one could even call the notion of crime as being subjective, e.g., more people committing traffic violations or minor civil infractions could be considered crime. Regardless, the fact that more people are out and about, crime will naturally occur. Crime is further compounded by social issues (which conservatives rarely acknowledge) such as the insane real estate market in many major US cities causing homelessness or economic desperation, the fact that unemployment naturally causes crime but also suicides/mental health situations. Interestingly, the Federal Reserve central bank in many ways is helping to inflate real estate prices ranging from homes, apartments, and even trailer parks.  

Tool, Pulp Fiction, Fascism, Fräuleins, Cops and George Floyd: How Pulp Fiction’s Pawn Shop scene is analogous to George Floyd’s Death by Quinton Mitchell (C).

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What is the difference between the many cop deaths shown on TV and a snuff film? This paper is for Elijah McClain, George Floyd, Trayvon Martin, Daunte Wright, Kurt Reinhold, Tamir Rice, Breonna Taylor, Alton Sterling, Eric Garner, Sandra Bland, Jacob Blake, Michael Brown, Kristiana Coignard (White), Terence Crutcher, Philando Castile, Botham Jean, Amadou Diallo, Rayshard Brooks, Sean Monterrosa (Latinx), Walter Scott, Samuel DuBose, Manuel Ellis, Zachary Hammond (White), Ricardo Hayes, Aiyana Stanley Jones, Michael Lee Marshall, Marc Ramos, Kathryn Johnston, Rayshard Brooks, Atatiana Jefferson, Isiah Murrietta-Golding, Sureshbhai Patel (Asian – Indian Subcontinent) etc. These names include black, white, AAPI, and Hispanic but there are too many names to mention.

Who would have thought that the lyrics of the band Tool would be a great way to analyze racial injustice? Or, who would have thought that the sheer terror presented in Pulp Fiction’s pawn shop scene would be a microcosm of the terror that underlies our very feet within the real world – both past and present?

Tool released their album, Undertow in 1993. I remember being a kid during the ,glorious” days of the 1990s watching MTV, maybe it was on Beavis and Butthead, and seeing Tool’s music video for Prison Sex. It did not terrify me surprisingly, but it did leave a lasting mark as far as Tool’s ability to take things into realms that are dreamlike or nightmarish, or later what I would learn would be called the Jungian. Music at this point was taking on more of a darker sensibility post-Nirvana with bands like the Smashing Pumpkins, Nine Inch Nails, etc. Tool was my first introduction to Industrial-type metal, which was later reinforced by my discovery of Nine Inch Nails, especially with their music video Closer around 1996. The next year after Tool’s Undertow was released, I remember being a kid and overhearing Entertainment Tonight and they were talking about Spike Lee having issue with Quentin Tarantino’s new film, called Pulp Fiction, largely for the liberal use of n-word. I was aware of Spike Lee of course since my parents were film fans and I was alive in the late-80s to early 90s Black Revival of the arts (It’s a Different World, Roc, Do the Right Thing, the works of Robert Townsend, etc.), i.e., we had plenty of Jet magazines stashed around the house.

I did not know much about Tarantino and never really considered him a big director in the early to mid-nineties, because this was at a point where a director was simply a director, i.e., I didn’t see things as art yet since I was just a child. The only film that reminded me of Tarantino up to that point (I may have seen snippets of True Romance at my grandmother’s house in Miami), was the film Swingers by Jon Favreau, in which Tarantino is only referenced. The film by Favreau depicts a crew of young white horny males in Los Angeles searching for action, work, love, etc. They all party and live in apartments, but there is a poster of Reservoir Dogs within one of them, and one of the main characters who gets into a parking lot altercation draws a gun to the rebuke of his friends played by Favreau and Vince Vaughn. Essentially, early Tarantino represented film for angry white boys. A type of power fantasy for white males to envision themselves as hustlers, heist man, crooks, not taking junk. Fantasy about liberally dropping n-bombs and making dirty jokes in midnight diners about the color of this or that waitresses’ pubic hair. We have to remember that Tarantino did come on the scene as gangster rap had already won popularity, so with black males of rough backgrounds now seen as in vogue, and it’s almost as if Tarantino knew he had a market in the alternative. Masculinity wasn’t simply The Marlboro Man or Arnold Schwarzenegger but men like Tupac where Tupac in our racist past would be called a “mouthy n-word” or Denzel Washington would’ve been called an “uppity n-word” or a black dandy for simply breaking boundaries. Hell, even up to this day we see students busted For blackface, NBA owners caught dropping n-bombs, etc. Yet, in the film Swingers by Favreau, one of the men who attempt to fight Patrick Van Horn’s character (named Sue) is depicted as a white hip hop poser, insinuating that white adoption of black culture was prominent which it was, but to many it was seen as odd or out of place.

However, in recent times, well, the early 2000s, Tarantino has actively tried to eradicate his older perception as the “angry white boy director” with his Revenge Trilogy such as Kill Bill featuring a female lead, Django Unchained featuring an African American lead, and Inglorious Bastards featuring Jewish men in roles of strength and strong, developed, non-sexualized female characters. Including Jackie Brown with Pam Grier and even Randy Brooks as Holdaway in Reservoir Dogs, one can see an admiration that Tarantino has for black actors within American cinema, despite the truth that most black actors up until recent times were often caricature or side-pieces. It was not that Tarantino was racist per se, but rather he was recycling tropes of American cinema which were regressive (a nice word), yet, his defenses to his earlier works did display a lack in his understanding of why people reacted which is arguably a sign of…privilege. But, to get that out of the way, in this piece in no way am I considering Tarantino to be racist at all and he is not the central focus. He simply had growing to do, which we all do.

I didn’t see Pulp Fiction which was released in 1994 until way later in high school around 2003, and only because a girl I sat next to in chemistry class, stated she saw it on TV and it was crazy. Curious, I saw it, and it was crazy. This was before I would later fall into a fascination with postmodernism be it Don DeLillo, the works of Cronenberg, etc. After seeing Pulp Fiction, I saw the infamous scene of the rape in the pawn shop by Zed on Marsellus Wallace. But, now in 2020, seeing George Floyd call for his mother, while this smaller white male sits on his neck, instantly recalled Tool’s song Prison Sex. “Shit, blood and cum on my hands”, “Do unto others what has been done to me. Do unto others what has been done to you”, “I’ve got my hands bound. My head down, my eyes closed”, “You look so precious”, “Released in this sodomy”, “You’re breathing so I guess you’re still alive”. A white male cop taking pleasure in exerting his power over a black male while the black male calls for his mother. Effectively, the cops took the notion of calling a black man “boy” to the next level and all for the public to see.

Scene from Prison Sex by Tool

Even in George’s death, the sadness that people felt when they saw the scene but also heard those words, effectively stripped George of his honor, his masculinity, and forever left the image of him as a helpless victim with no means of fighting back legally, which makes something already tragic into something even more sinister. For example, when it comes Nazis, the terrifying thing is not simply how they came to be and all the atrocities they did, but rather how in a sense…they got away with it. Even in death, their power lingered as people tried to cope with their humanity. White supremacy in all its forms sees the world though a clinical, materialist, Darwinist struggle to survive, and it realizes that time is the greatest alibi, so the more damage or assault it can do, the more legacy it can leave. They do not want to just kill; they want to haunt. That is where their power comes from. The ability to make “sexy” their cruelty by turning it into legend which therefore time and time again will be analyzed in literature, film, TV, etc. This concept was explored by Don DeLillo in his 1986 National Book Award winner, White Noise, in which the protagonist, Jack Gladney, is a professor of Hitler Studies at a small liberal arts school in a pop culture department, which was done by DeLillo to explore how we assign objects (people, events, etc.), different meanings over time. DeLillo was right. Think about it. All one must do is turn on History Channel or History Channel 2 and find a documentary on Hitler such as Hitler’s Mega Weapons, Nazis and the Occult, or Hitler’s Sex Life. Essentially, we have turned a monster into an immortal pop culture celebrity, thus, it should not surprise you that decade after decade, a few people take his atrocities not as atrocities but rather as achievements. As a black man, I have heard at parties, “Hitler was a bad guy but…he had some good ideas”.  

There are many similarities between the Pawn Shop scene in Quentin Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction and the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Minnesota in 2020. First off, George Floyd and Ving Rhames, obviously are two large muscular black males, thus they can create a sense of fear in others, which is unfair, but unfortunately how the iconography of the black male has been presented within American, Western, and even Asian societies. Secondly, both men suffered assaults with one obviously in reality and the other on film, yet, both men’s assailants were white males with Derek Michael Chauvin as a real life police officer whereas Zed in Pulp Fiction played by Peter Greene is a security guard. They instantly have positions of power, with Chauvin having real power and protection based on the law, whereas Zed has power in an almost pathetic way, yet, his “mall cop status” is still symbolic of the quest to dominate. Zed represents the angry white male, typically blue collar or low-income who fear what they perceive as competition. If Zed were a real person, he would vote for Donald Trump.

Both men, one real and one fictional, both represent power, with Derek Chauvin representing power through the notion of law and order, whereas Zed’s sense of power comes from sex and domination. But is there a difference? A white male cop dominating what he might perceive as his sexual threat. Cops are people. They watch CNN, Tucker Carlson on Fox News, were conditioned to vote Republican or Democrat, surf sub-Reddits, leave comments we might regret on social media, show up to work drunk, watch pornography (gauging penis sizes since masculinity has been reduced to nothing more than this in our postmodernist world or getting angry if they stumble on the “interracial” section), scroll through Instagram, etc.

It is my personal belief that the failures of our society are largely because we simply do not call out the reasons for the actions underlying the atrocities. Simple: fear, sex, power, needing attention, etc. That would be too easy to simply call it like it is. What am I about to say next is in no way meant to shame female sexuality, agency, and/or power. Rather, I am simply pointing to how sex and fascism are correlated and how it hides in our midst. For example, if you are familiar with Instagram it is not hard to find the hundreds of thousands if not millions (as it seems) models which post daily. Hyper-sexual, out of reach, depictions stimulating sexual desires for the droves of bored males equally as lost regarding purpose in our postmodern landscape which has now been defined by gender dynamics, intersectionality, the pressures of globalism, wealth disparity in a society fueled by conspicuous consumption, etc. However, within this category there is what I call the Freulein industry, i.e., sexually provocative women who are conservative and simply seem to be there to promote sexual stimulation for the support of supremacy. The reality is that the USA is of Germanic origins with German’s accounting for many of the white population, but Anglo-Saxon culture (English) is a branch of Germanic culture, thus, it seems safe to say that our white culture has many roots within the Germanic frame of thought, its aesthetics, etc. Something that would be interesting to explore another time. Regardless, these models use a mix of conservatism, country music, militarism, guns, Pro-Trump rhetoric, doses of cultural appropriation (sexually charged hip hop music), but all of this, to them at least, is justified by simply leaving a Biblical quote underneath their OnlyFans link. This sort of sexual stimulation is meant to embolden the “white knight mentality”, i.e., to breed for and defend the Western “white” race, and women simply are there to serve men by offering a type of reward for good and noble service. It is also an attempt at winning the race for being the most desired, because the most desired in theory becomes the most protected. This mythology making linked to sexuality is nothing new, and arguably has been deployed by groups such as the Nazis, who in turn were appropriating dark age and medieval notions of masculinity and femininity as they revolted against the modern age (while ironically using modernist practices to assault people). Yet, it is 2020, which just goes to prove that human nature has changed but hasn’t, and despite these people operating in code through the concept of sexually stimulating content, they are in fact aware of their intended audiences and overall “agenda”.

I am no Freudian scholar but based on “pop cultural and academic osmosis”, I feel it is safe to say that Freud simply reduced our activity to sexual behavior, or, rather sex was central to his analysis. From what I know of the time in which Freud existed, the Austrian intellectual scene in which he inhabited, gave us many pre-modernist or modernist thinkers who foresaw the sexual undertones and tension soon to come within the unfolding complex landscape of early democratic experiments, the consequences of industrialization, the liberation of females, and the permeation of the Scientific Method into all facets of life. I mean, Leopold von Sacher-Masoch, whose last name the term Masochism comes from was active during the times of Freud, Richard Freiherr von Krafft-Ebing and Isidor Isaak Sadger (with the later compounding the terms of sadism and masochism utilized by Krafft into the term S&M). Masoch interestingly wrote Venus in Furs (1870), which  interestingly inspired the song by the Velvet Underground & Nico (Fact: Nico was a racist), whom were under the tutelage of Andy Warhol, who in turn popularized “pop art”, which is a trope within postmodernism, where postmodernism – despite what a neoconservative will argue – is a consequence of capitalism as it bled into its post-capitalist phase. Masosch was alive during the time of Freud, Jung, etc., but this Austrian Renaissance also produced later thinkers such as Otto Weininger who wrote Sex and Character (1903) which speaks about the Madonna-Whore complex (adding in some self-hating Anti-Semitism and plenty of misogyny), Franz Kafka, Stefan Zweig, etc. As far the S is S&M it comes from the infamous Marquis de Sade, who was a libertine writer before the French Revolution. As a noble of the French nobility he was able to use his position of power to engage in sexual debauchery including reported kidnapping, rape, molestation, drugging, etc. Ironically, de Sade despite being imprison at the Bastille was later a member of France’s National Convention as a delegate, and some could say Sade’s writings were existentialism before existentialism and taken to its sexual extremes, and themes such as this were explored by modern horror and LGBT author, Clive Barker, in his novel, The Hellbound Heart (1986), later adapted into the film Hellraiser (1987).

Back to Pulp Fiction and the George Floyd death, both Derek’s and Zed’s power overlap with Zed simply being the hyperreal avatar of the white supremacist police state of a waning capitalist society where the underlying anima of such a state is a harsh hierarchical order built upon ideologies that promote domination and submission (patriarchy, racial segregation, worker exploitation, militarism for the benefit of economic elites, etc.). Regardless of politics or sex, the underlying notion is power and this Darwinist viewpoint is exemplified in the notion of policing in the United States which itself was built upon a racial caste system, or, what I like to call a psycho-sexual-racial caste system. I insert the “psycho-sexual” into the term because fear of the black male in a white male dominated society, often dealt with sexuality such fear of the black male “violating” white purity, fear of miscegenation or racial mixing, etc.

Basically, it is all about competition and monopolizing resources to make survival easier under this racial Darwinist viewpoint, but the underlying reason is arguably insecurity and fear, which ironically is not superior at all.

Pulp Fiction is a key example of postmodern fiction. It employs an irregular plot structure, distorts our notions of time, blurs high art with low art such as infusing dialogue and world-building with pop culture references (almost to the point where it could be argued all the characters are simply inhabiting a comic book, i.e., pulp is a genre of comic), distorts the viewers notion of stability by mixing seemingly safe environments with very dangerous criminal underbellies creating a feeling where the characters are mere mortals under the cruel games of “the gods” (something I notice when watching Cohen Brothers’ films, e.g., Fargo or Burn After Reading, or a similar concept such as that of H.P. Lovecraft’s notion of cosmic horror, e.g., humans are insignificant players in a larger cosmic game), and plays with psychoanalysis relating to power dynamics in a relativistic or nihilistic universe typically through depictions of sexual fetishism, e.g., in the novel, White Noise (1987), where the main character, Jack Gladney, has a fetish for his wife’s leggings which makes him fantasize about masculinity in antiquity, or, the protagonist in Vladimir Nabokov’s Lolita (1955) – an example work of the cracking of modernity into postmodernity – who has an obsession with prepubescent females, or, the infamous scene of coprophagia in Thomas Pynchon’s Gravity’s Rainbow (just one of the many types of fetishes depicted in the novel, e.g., sex slaves, orgies, etc.).

Postmodernism is basically what it sounds like, i.e., “after modernity”, which, in other words, is a study of when humanity reaches its apex after the successes of modernity (and its failures). Society finds itself at the end of its logical conclusion, thus becoming consumed by a reality which ceases taking on an objective truth(s) and takes on a subjective, multi-dimensional, relativistic sentiment. There is no truth. This is not an original point I am making, but the show Seinfeld in a lite sense is a nihilist show, i.e., it is a show about nothing filled with characters, in an advanced civilization, lost in some comedic tragedy getting into random adventures. Postmodernity is when a machine becomes so efficient and reaches an apex that it starts to make copies of itself and people can’t distinguish between what is real or what is not, or what is original or what is a knock-off, which is a theme explored in Philip K. Dick’s The Man in the High Castle (1962), or even the film, The Matrix by the Wachowski Sisters, which in itself was influenced by real-life French thinker Jean Baudrillard’s Simulacra and Simulation (1981).  

Other common notions, tropes, or pastiches of postmodernism is a sense of transgression, a tendency to merge things such as in “postmodernist era science fiction” with the notion of cyborgs or mutants (Robocop by Paul Verohoeven – released 1987), punk (anarchy, dystopia), cynicism, pseudo-science posing as hard sciences since what is science? (aliens, mind reading, tabloids, conspiracy theories),  cyberpunk which is a punk sentiment in a technologically advanced world dominated by corporations (Neuromancer by William Gibson – published 1984), informational overload, things that are nuclear (we’re so advanced we created weapons that can destroy us ten times over), and the deification of symbols largely from capitalist systems (Mickey Mouse is arguably as revered as Jesus on the Cross as far as recognizability), etc. Symbols and semiotics are an important part of the postmodernist condition and could be argued as the key signifier of a society entering or being within a postmodern epoch. For example, the concept of memes, can only be understood in theory if one has a reference of what is being shown, thus a meme requires a deep level of understanding and juxtaposition against other objects, but there’s so many worldviews that the symbol can take on multiple meanings, or, if someone were to unearth a meme somehow in the far future they wouldn’t be able to properly understand it without reference to something else. A meme is not simply a picture, but really an agglomeration of multiple reference points, often only understood or with significance at a given moment in time.

Since postmodernism rejects objective truth claims thus making it relativistic and/or nihilistic in nature, postmodernism arguably falls under existential philosophy of the Continental School (Descartes, Spinoza, Schopenhauer, Kierkegaard, Heidegger, Sartre, Camus, etc.). Existential philosophy itself doubts an objective view of reality, such as Sartre’s statement that existence precedes essence, and this existential umbrella of thought might deal with simplistic notions of doubt or angst, whereas extreme versions bleed into solipsism. People inhabiting postmodern societies are effectively bots reduced to Darwinist power dynamics inhabiting a reality of simulations, so because we’re so far removed from our natures, despite our advancements, we end up transgressing simply to reattach to nature, hence the propensity of “hardcore” content within our current landscape albeit pornography, blood sport, empirical managerial sciences which are simply fancy ways of saying the strongest survives, etc. Further, since there is no soul, humans instead are reliant alone upon their cognition, i.e., their egos, but since reality has no truth, the general sense of the zeitgeist ceases being solid but rather takes on something neurotic, jittery, or schizophrenic. In a postmodernist world, we are nothing more than base material without free will languishing under illusions, who can be evolved or forged into new objects, and are reduced to simply fulfilling our base desires of keeping our material in existence, but lacking any real explanation of why we exists since any truth is beyond our cognitive capabilities.

My whole breakdown of postmodernism, at least to the degree I can understand it (a true postmodernist would reject any claim of definition), is important to the Pawn Shop scene in Pulp Fiction. A Pawn Shop is a heap of collected artifacts (nostalgia) but also currently valuable things (technology, equipment, etc.) so it contains an anachronistic element, i.e., it has objects from different decades and eras, and the value of such goods are relative to whomever wishes to buy them, or even the seller of said objects who can create value in an ad hoc fashion by simply gouging the price to create the perception of a higher intrinsic value. Objects are disregarded, dreams are sold away, and value is created on whim. Pawn Shops are also predatory in nature in that people give up their items for loans, but many people are already suffering from economic hardship. So, when one is entering into a Pawn Shop, they are really entering into a capitalist space with postmodern potential. It is like how in the Man in the High Castle (1962) by Philip K. Dick,  the character Robert Childan has an antique shop full of American regalia but some of his items are forgeries, but to the buyer they can’t differentiate.

The Pawn Shop is the orphanage or burial ground of capitalism. Capitalism creates the simulation by glossing its existence over with empirical data, but underneath the surface is nothing more than Precambrian desire to survive or dominate. It reduces humanity into material chasing material to make more material, and since material is separate from the concepts of the spiritual, capitalism, similarly to Marxism both reduce humanity to concepts such as power, dynamics, intersections, etc. We are mere material within the flux of time and space without any real understanding of why we are here, but capitalism romantically dolls up Darwinism to promote the individual, whereas Marxism romantically dolls up Darwinism to promote the collective.

The Pawn Shop in Pulp Fiction is a microcosm of the USA which produces capitalist junk, but the owner and Zed represent the white supremacist underbelly of this ideology, hence, it is not a surprise that Zed picks Marsellus to be assaulted. Zed himself craves power but the power he was able to obtain as a security guard is basically a knock-off of real power, so not having power, he’s wired to dominate to compensate, and his identity being central, which is  his race, gender, position, and etc., attempts to dominate any antithesis to his identity whenever it presents itself. To me the fact that Zed picked Marsellus first to be raped means that race of course plays a larger role in his insecurity relating to power, but since one gets physical gratification from sex, Zed also represents a desire for what it is he is not. It is no different than a tribal chieftain wanting the head of a worthy enemy or how a cannibal wants to consume a person to obtain their symbolic power or essence. Interestingly, Bruce Willis’ character was not actually sparred from assault, but rather he simply got away, but despite Zed’s meaningless game of “einy meeny miny moe”, Bruce was spared most likely because of his privilege, but only temporarily. Butch (Bruce Willis) easily could’ve left the Pawn Shop after killing the Gimp, by reducing Marsellus’ fate to the strongest survives, but instead finds honor in himself and a common humanity with Marsellus to save him. Butch thus was not a bystander but an active participant in fighting against the injustices of Zed and Maynard (white supremacy in a capitalist wasteland obsessed with power, domination, and race). Butch did his part by challenging this “system” which gave Marsellus enough time to avenge himself.  

So, let us relate this to our world with police and the general population. Marcellus and Butch are both under threat by Zed and Maynard, similarly to how both the white and black populations are subject to police abuse, yet, the disproportionate level of abuse that Marsellus experienced over Butch, to me is similar to the disproportionate levels of violence against black Americans when dealing with police. Zed representing police and Maynard represents the white supremacy that enables Zed (the Confederate Flag in the shop), and the place of the assaults – the Pawn Shop – is symbolic of a capitalist wasteland which seems to be the fate of the USA as disparity and tensions rise. Maynard’s sexual gratification by watching Zed assault Marsellus is symbolic of how people watch police murders on TV. Many people support the police under the concept of law and order, or in Zed terms… BDSM. For example, during the Ferguson Riots, I vividly remember the police flaunting their power, wearing eerie paramilitary uniforms – faces covered – as they posed for closeups and rolled MRAPs (tanks) down streets. It was like the postmodern equivalent of putting down a “slave revolt” as millions of white eyes watched in fear from suburbia as their “boys in blue” kept them, their property, their money, etc., safe. What is the difference between the many cop deaths shown on TV and a snuff film? Further, white supremacy often displays hyper-masculinity, often most of the time as being homophobic, yet, Zed and Maynard’s closeted homosexuality is expunged through their violence. Their very acts seems to mean that besides being hypocrites (and rapists), that supremacy poses as one thing, denying certain elements, but deeply desires what is rejects on the surface.

Butch and Marsellus are in the same dilemma but Marsellus suffers because of his identity, and instead Butch chooses not to save himself, in which the opportunity to save himself was afforded by his privilege. This is like white protestors or activists assisting African Americans, Hispanics, etc., in standing up against the embedded underlying domination of the USA. For our world, white supremacy sustains itself because of pure selfishness. The “silent majority”, code word for the white majority, sees racial dynamics simply as such. They see it as teams acquiring points of injustice to justify acquiring power or equity. However, they claim this is what minorities are obsessed with, but minorities did not make this game. While the right-wing lambast the left or progressives or liberal democrats for playing what they perceive to be “identity politics” or the “victim Olympics”, ironically, they are the main purveyors of these concepts – they just have a different strategy for playing it.

Scene from Django Unchained
Maynard watching the assault

If Butch left the Pawn Shop leaving Marsellus he would have been no different than Zed. Butch’s actions would have been no different than the “silent majority’s” safe cozy nostalgia-ridden middle class existence, which might not associate with the KKK or Neo Nazis but their indifference to these groups enables these groups by reducing the severity of their actions, or even if acknowledging them, they are quick to normalize things thereafter without any systemic fixes. The reason this happens is because this “white proletariat and bourgeoisie class” subconsciously do fear losing the economic benefits and the iconography of supremacy.

In conclusion, the pawn shop scene of Pulp Fiction is analogous to the USA (nostalgia, capitalism, etc.) in which Maynard represents white supremacy (adorning his shop with a Confederate Flag) holding onto the dying dream of capitalism, and both he and Zed, represent white supremacy’s attempt to hold onto that power by exerting the most humiliating of acts onto a person of color (e.g., Derek Chauvin’s murder of George Floyd as he called for his mother, is similar to Zed’s rape of Marsellus), yet, Butch (Bruce Willis) whom was spared temporarily because of his privilege as a white man, used his privilege to save Marsellus in the end instead of walking away, i.e., refusing to be indifferent like the “silent majority” or gimps of our actual reality. The pawn shop in Pulp Fiction is where capitalism, white supremacy, fascism, Darwinism, and power all collide to create a horror analogous to that which underlies our surface in the real world. By killing the Gimp, which is symbolic of those who comply with the authority of supremacy, and later killing Maynard who sees himself as a level above the Gimp but subservient to Zed, Butch is similar to non-black BLM protestors in our reality who disregarded their privilege to save the humanity of others despite their external differences. The fact that Maynard and Zed are hyper-real representations of white supremacy holding onto their fading sense of power, thus overcompensating with their depravity, makes me reflect on the quote by DeLillo (1987) which states:

“Nostalgia is a product of dissatisfaction and rage. It´s a settling of grievances between the present and the past. The more powerful the nostalgia, the closer you come to violence.”

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