There’s a scene in Blazing Saddles where two black men are sent out in a handcar to discover if there is quicksand on a railroad track up ahead. There is, and as they are sinking in it, their white bosses show up and throw them a rope. But the rope is not for them. It is for the handcart. Their bosses pull it out and are relieved saying, “Dang, that was lucky. Doggone near lost a $400 handcart”. They leave the black men to sink.

I think about this scene a lot when I see police deployed to protect property more diligently than they are to protect black lives. Which brings me to this.

The organizing principle of white supremacy is the protection of the accumulation of white wealth.

Let me say that again.

The organizing principle of white supremacy is the protection of the accumulation of white wealth.

It is white wealth’s guard dog.

And where it has intersected with democratic and civil institutions it has bent them to that will. The police force, the branches of government, the media, and corporations become the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marines of wealth accumulation.

Where you see these institutions failing to protect the public interest you can almost always see them succeeding at protecting wealth.

It’s why it makes sense that so many police officers assemble to protect property but do not gather to protect black life. Because that black life is literally not as valuable as that property. Imagine the rows of officers we’re used to seeing in front of buildings during a demonstration instead surrounding and protecting a black man to make sure he gets to work safely. (We actually did see that when Obama was in office and the contrast between that and, say, Oscar Grant, who was murdered only two months after Obama’s win was…jarring).

Which means the police deployed in this manner are there to protect and serve wealth, not people. Police given this charge are not so much public servants as they are security guards.

There are many threads to pull on in all of this. And I feel anger, fear, depression, but most of all grief and pain. But what I keep coming back to is that all of this violence and injustice is in service of making a few people rich and making them feel good about being rich and feeling like that wealth, both physically and philosophically, is protected.

Big fan of treating people like people. Author, Design for Cognitive Bias. Content Strategy Advocate, @thinkcompany. Speaker, Lots of Places.

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