Hold systems responsible

Many people are talking about holding some officers responsible for the murder of a man in Minnesota recently. I think that would be good, but am exceedingly wary of the “few bad apples” line of reasoning that often goes with my white friends being upset at stuff like this. There is a tendency for people to want things to be about individual responsibility, and I don’t want to discount that, but it needs to be balanced with the role of the systems themselves.

To an unhealthy degree we have collectively abdicated much responsibility and accountability to others, but it is also a necessary thing to some extent if we want to maintain much of our modern lifestyle, therefor it behooves us to understand that we don’t just abdicate these responsibilities to people at the tops of organizational hierarchies, but to also to systems that we collectively put in place, or allow to be in place, these machanistic systems can supersede the humans at their helm. The police chief can’t change the nature of the ship he steers all that much, and neither can the officers.

But we as individuals outside of the system have some power if we see the system for what it is. The person who called the cops in this situation in MN, fault lies with them. The lady in NY who, a couple days earlier, called the cops on the bird watcher; same. She did wrong in calling the police, but ironically she did what she did probably because she instinctively knew that the police were for her a tool of oppression that she had some power to wield.

Understanding the systems is important and powerful.

“A system cannot fail those it was never built for.” I don’t know who said this, but it’s really been resonating with me. There are some good reasons police aren’t as accountable as they ought to be in general, and why, if these officers are charged and convicted, it will be the extreme exception rather than the rule. Origin has some influence for sure

Holding systems accountable for the results they produce is done to little in my opinion


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