The audio program 99% Invisible—a podcast about “all the thought that goes into the things we don’t think about”—recently took on the topic of how American police departments became militarized forces. The Blazer Experiment episode tells the story of the former police chief of Melno Park, California, Victor Cizanckas. In the late 1960s, Cizanckas tried to reform his department and rebuild trust with the community. One of the changes he implemented was a uniform with a blazer rather than a paramilitary uniform. The episode investigates how uniforms shape not only how the public sees police, but how they see themselves. In a remarkably brief program, it traces the history of policing in America, and demonstrates how policing was permanently changed by Nixon’s “War on Crime.” Perhaps if police weren’t trained as if they were fighting a war, they wouldn’t behave as if they were.
When will be the last time a child has to see their father’s execution on video? When will be the last time a mother has to speak publicly about her child’s death? When do we say enough is enough? My heart is heavy this week for all of the stolen black lives. Do not indulge in apathy; pay attention. Here are a few things you can do right now. It’s also important to understand what these individuals’ lives were like before they were stolen from us.
A must watch: Marc Lamont Hill reacts to the deaths of Philando Castile and Alton Sterling:
If you, if you stand still like Eric Garner, you get killed. If you run like Freddy Grey, you get killed. If your pants are down, like Trayvon, you die. If your pants are up, like Walter Scott, you die. It doesn’t matter. Ultimately, the problem isn’t people being killed, it’s the people who were rendered invisible at first, and then when they get seen and become legible they’re still nobody. That’s the problem.
Watch the whole interview here.
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, author of Americanah (if you’re looking for a summer read, this is it!), shares the danger of blanketing a group of people with a single story:
The consequence of the single story is this: It robs people of dignity. It makes our recognition of our equal humanity difficult. It emphasizes how we are different rather than how we are similar.
“If you’re a White person on the sidelines, we need you in the fight. Please raise your voice, particularly today.” Writer Justin C. Cohen has advice for white folks in the wake of the police murder of a black person.
Hyperloop from Santa Monica to San Jose in 30 minutes? Self-driving Google Buses and UberLyfts around town; Highways converted to public space encouraging people to be out and about interacting with neighbors; arterials converted to bike freeways; buildings covered in solar skin? If this all comes true, I just might have to move back to LA.
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In a world without work (or with a lot less work, because we manage to automate even more things), people would have more time to interact with family, friends, and neighbors and to participate in civic life. Maybe this could even help soften the harsh partisanship of today’s politics because people would have more time to understand each other. A scholar studying a post-work world thinks “We wouldn’t have to be as self-oriented as we think we have to be now. I believe we would become more human.”
A long, thoughtful New Yorker piece about who is voting for Trump. My favorite part is where the reporter tells Trump supporters about actual people he has met—a young woman who has been in the US since she was three but couldn’t afford the $475 fee to gain citizenship; a family where the father and sons are legal but mother and daughters are not—and asks Trump supporters: should she be deported to a country she hasn’t lived in since she was a toddler? Should that family be split up? Interestingly, a common response is, “Well, are they good people?”
Great article from Lawrence Lessig, with many quotes from the book Saving Capitalism from Capitalists:
Markets cannot flourish without the very visible hand of the government, which is needed to set up and maintain the infrastructure that enables participants to trade freely and with confidence. … Capitalism’s biggest political enemies are not the firebrand trade unionists spewing vitriol against the system but the executives in pin-striped suits extolling the virtues of competitive markets with every breath while attempting to extinguish them with every action.