Jon Stewart called the cops our internal border patrol in a recent interview and I’ve seen it in our own backyard. While I love seeing photos of white majority towns in Greater Boston holding BLM rallies and vigils on their town commons, I want to see those words backed by actions. Too many of these communities are sundown towns whether they realize it or not, through their use of exclusionary zoning and having the police patrol their borders at night. I’ve seen it in Belmont where my wife used to work nights, where half the police force is on the Cambridge line right when the sun goes down. My father saw it when he worked nights on the North Shore in the 90’s. He pulled over and asked a cop what they were doing (talk about a white privilege) and they used racial slurs to say they were keeping the wrong kind of people out of their town. Not in the distant past but in my own lifetime, in the supposedly bluest state in the North. So towns need to reallocate police budgets to social services, they need to rezone to enable class as well as racial diversity, their schools need to be safe spaces for students of color (participating in METCO doesn’t cut it, gotta social and emotionally support those kids too!), and their cops should be disarmed (be real, these are the lowest crime places in the world and we have the strictest gun laws in America) and retrained. Urban cops need to be from their communities, look like their communities, and be subject to strict civilian oversight and accountability. We don’t need to wait for the feds or Trump to get booted, we can demand this change today.
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