Michael Eric Dyson patiently explained Black anxiety over interactions with police after HBO host Bill Maher claimed that accountability is improving, and that “lots of police have been put in jail” for violence against Black people.
On Friday night’s edition of Real Time with Bill Maher, Professor Dyson and the host were discussing the merits and messaging behind the “Defund the Police” movement, and Dyson tried to explain that while most Black people want protection, they still have well-founded anxiety about the police.
“We want, when the cops show up, not to direct a common ordinary interchange between human beings into something lethal,” Dyson said, citing the examples of Sandra Bland and Walter Scott, and added “The ordinary interactions that many white brothers and sisters can take for granted end up in death for Black people.”
“So yeah, a lot of Black people don’t want the police to be abolished, I just want the fact that police people seem to consistently and repeatedly murder, kill, maim, harm, and destroy Black life with wanton abandonment without being held to account. And when they do, they have qualified immunity to protect them,” Dyson said.
Maher said that his own past commentaries about police brutality were focused on the fact that “there was never any repercussions,” then claimed “Now there have been. Now you go down the list and lots of police have been put in jail, tried and found guilty for stuff. So you would admit…”
“Well a few more, it’s not a tsunami,” Dyson said, to which Maher replied “It used to be none.”
“No doubt, that’s progress, but Malcolm X said you can’t put the knife in my back nine inches, pull it out six inches, and call that progress,” Dyson said. “I’m acknowledging there’s been progress, but do you know the overwhelming majority of Black people live in fear? LeBron James, who is a rich guy who plays for the LA Lakers, says we live in terror against what the police will do to us. That’s a reality that I think many white people hadn’t seen until these snuff films, the pornography of Black death is repeated in the cinema of Black existence. And these films show us that no matter what, hands up – get shot, hands down – get shot, speak to the police in a saucy way, shot, don’t say anything at all, get shot.”
“No matter what we do, the crime is not what we do, it’s who we are, and that’s the reality that we have to confront when it comes to police brutality,” he concluded.
According to a recent New York Times analysis, “lots of police” are not charged or convicted in the deaths of Black people.
Watch above via HBO.
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