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I Don't Feel Safe (112 hits)

I Donít Feel Safe
Junious Ricardo Stanton

The power dynamics and hierarchy in this country are truly fascinating. In America the myths of egalitarianism, equal opportunity and protection under the law still prevail; but in reality they are just that; myths, or at best ideals. The United States is a pluralistic society made up of diverse ethnic and cultural groups and certain groups hold immense sway and influence and can get their agendas accepted and executed while others canít. Originally at its founding White Anglo Saxon Protestants (WASPs) were the dominant power group in America. Today this is not the case.

I saw a newscast the other day featuring a pro-Israeli US Jewish student saying, ďI donít feel safe.Ē regarding the campus protests, peace demonstrations and encampments on his schoolís public quad. The media was framing this as the justification for police tearing down the student encampments, dispersing the protesters and arresting those who resisted or refused to move.

Certainly every student should feel safe and secure on his or her campus and public safety is a critically important component of life not just on college or university campuses but everywhere throughout our society. Public safety is the ideal rather than the reality of many places and spaces in this country. Where were the interventions by administrators, university and municipal police officers when Islamophobia was rampant on campuses following 9-11 or what about the fact many female students say they donít feel safe on college campuses with s*xual assault being one of the leading reported (many more go unreported) crimes on college and university campuses. Where is the concern for the feelings and safety of students of color who have to endure microaggression, insults, taunts and negative attitudes about their very presence on many university campuses? Iím sure they have voiced their insecurities, why hasnít there been a coordinated intervention to address their concerns and grievances like we are witnessing against the peace demonstrations and protesters?! Jewish people represent a small minority of the US population yet they weld a disproportionate level of power as we are currently witnessing.

I am well aware some people and groups are valued more highly in this country than others. US history is replete with examples of marginalized and discriminated individuals, groups and organizations, who were deemed inferior and looked at as the bottom dwellers of the social order; people who were viewed as ďless thanĒ or unwanted trouble makers. None more so than those who push against the status quo, speak out, dissent and resist policies and traditions they feel are unjust, oppressive, discriminatory, racist, s*xist or class/cast based.

For example all a police officer has to say is, ďI feared for my lifeĒ and he or she will usually be exonerated if they use lethal force against a suspect. Police officers hold a special place in the social hierarchy. Indeed they are a vital cog in the social wheel providing essential services but they are not more sacrosanct than any other group.

The indigenous people of this nation rarely felt safe or secure as the Europeans aggressively encroached upon and stole their lands, made war and displaced them onto concentration camps called ďreservationsĒ where they were made dependent upon their tormentors.

Neither enslaved nor free Blacks have never felt completely safe or secure in this country. They never knew what mood or psychological state whites would be in and as chattel and collateral Blacks could be sold or traded at will or whim. Once emancipation came their lives were still full of stress and trauma. This stress still exists today as many urban communities are under siege by crime, drug abuse and social dysfunction and income and wealth gaps remain insurmountable for far too many. Truth be told many Black of all walks of life donít feel safe which is why our stress levels are so high.

US police departments have a sordid history of being the buffers between enslaved persons (they were called militias or slave patrols during the enslavement period), newly arrived immigrants (which is why police departments were originally formed in cities like Boston, New York and Philadelphia) and dissidents pushing for social change, improved working or living conditions. The police motto ďprotect and serveĒ referred primarily to the upper class Brahman types and the prosperous middle class rather than the bottom dwellers. Police were and are protecting the former from the latter.

The Pattyrollers, constables, militias and early police departments didnít respond or intervene on the behalf of enslaved persons, early union organizers, social activists and dissidents when they said ďI donít feel safe.Ē during their travails or when their personal spaces were invaded or occupied by mobs.

In reality the police and militia operate at the behest of the upper classes and executive branch not the public. Today we are witnessing selective enforcement of public safety by higher education administrators, mayors and law enforcement to address demonstrators and protesters on college campuses while whole neighborhoods are under siege with out of control crime, rampant drug abuse, homelessness, social dysfunction and collapse.

How does this make any sense unless we take into consideration the power dynamics and hierarchical relationships at work here, the reality certain groups weld more power and influence than others. Alumni, donors and contributors of these universities hold far more check than conscientious students, protesting genocide, ethnic cleansing and war profiteering. Corporations, lobbyists and foreign governments have more influence over federal, state, local government and university administrator decisions than do idealistic students, peace loving residents or concerned tax paying citizens. Thatís just the way it is.

Obviously this is a fact. Within this social context I donít feel safe. Yet saying this doesnít bring relief to or for me like it does for certain people and groups. No one is rushing to my aid. I donít feel government is on my side, I donít feel this system is looking out for my best interests like they do for the legacy media, Big Pharma, the Military Industrial Technology Hydra or GloboCap. What are my options, how do I create a safe environment for myself and others within a social milieu that constantly demonstrates I donít except as a compliant consumer commodity and taxpayer?!

Posted By: Junious Stanton
Monday, May 20th 2024 at 8:27AM
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