Hey, all, I’m really sorry, I need to skip tomorrow’s newsletter. It’s a big oof.
Well, technically this is a newsletter, but you know what I mean.
I had planned out this week to talk about some new policies and initiatives that were related to last week’s newsletter on quiet racism. I found them through some websites and again through re-shares on Instagram. After double-checking them, they seemed legitimate. Unfortunately, very late last night, it was brought to my attention that these initiatives were now being criticized for being misleading and based on questionable data. When I tried double-checking their sources, I was now finding nothing. That scared me. So I decided it was better to not share false info, even if I had put all my eggs into one basket for the week. (The campaign is not big enough where I wish to draw more attention to it by linking it to this newsletter.)
I feel bad, and I’m glad that I caught this before publishing. I try to be on top of things with my fact-checking, but this was a case when I wasn’t paying enough attention. And these newsletters take time; I decided that it was better to skip a week instead of sprinting to make a half-baked newsletter. I’m sorry, y’all.
And for my new subscribers: Hello! Not the newsletter you were expecting, right? Apologies! I’ll make it up to you.
I’ll be back next week! Also, this Friday will feature a new writer interview that I’m excited to share; we had done the interview a few weeks ago, yet I still believe in using these Fridays as a time to spotlight other writers. We need good writers doing good work right now.
In the meantime, I want to share yesterday’s Financial Times deep dive into the current police reform bill (The Justice in Policing Act of 2020) and all the miscommunication behind “defund the police.”
“Defund the police” has become a compelling rally cry. It also now has become clear that there are several different, and competing, proposals and ideas behind “defund the police,” which include but are not limited to 1) reallocating plentiful police funds to social programs that need the money 2) cutting the numbers of unnecessarily large police forces 3) replacing the police with different kinds of enforcement and 4) just scrapping the police altogether. Each idea is chanting “defund the police” at the same time. Going onto Instagram and seeing at least a dozen “defund the police” re-shares and then realizing that the original source for each of these posts all have different meanings and goals is confusing and frustrating. The campaign I mentioned above also invoked “defund the police.”
This is a quiet racist’s dream: Let people protest themselves into confusion and in-fighting. “Defund the police” also is a dream slogan to any lawmaker wishing to maintain law & order; all you have to say is, “Look, not even the protestors understanding what they’re chanting about.” In this case, I have to believe that if any voting individual is on the fence, they might choose a known good vs. an (unclear) unknown better. So lawmakers don’t take it seriously. And then nothing changes. And then more people get hurt. On and on and on.
To my friends protesting: Keep reading, listening, and learning; keep being vocal; and keep protesting locally in the ways you can. Also, be clear about what you mean by “defund the police,” an idea that, in more ways than not, I do agree with but has an embarrassingly misleading slogan. (I’m not both-siding here). It is more valuable to explain to someone what it means, instead of talking down to someone who might not understand what it means. The inconsistency in this messaging is maddening, and it’s going to get in the way of actual progress. It just takes one extra step to make a stronger argument. You got this.
And for my fellow New Yorkers, today we got some good news: 50-a has officially been repealed by the state senate.