(ANTIMEDIA) At the beginning of the millennium I used to listen to conspiracy theory radio in the middle of the night. I loved fiction presented as fact. The stories the guests told were rich and fascinating. Of course, I didn’t believe a word of it as I was kept entertained while I made digital art.
On many occasions, psychics came on and talked about concept they called “The lifting of the veil.” They said that after December 21, 2012 secrets would be revealed and as time passed more and more truths would be told. Now in the age of Anonymous and Wikileaks I’m not so sure I don’t believe what the psychics said many years ago.
Sometimes our culture is so corrupt that our perception becomes altered so much that we don’t know what we are doing is terribly harmful. Michael A. Woods is a retired Baltimore police officer who recently began tweeting about the embedded culture of oppression and corruption in police departments. While he speaks directly only to his own personal experiences, the same shady behavior exists in police department across the country — and none of this comes as a surprise to poor people and persons of color. He talks about how he can’t remember specific examples because the unethical things he and the other cops did happened on a daily basis. The culture of policing was so corrupt that Woods was unable to see unscrupulous behaviors as unethical at the time that they occurred.
In a recent radio interview, Woods spoke about how he came to realize that what many cops were doing was wrong. “I was seeing them as the ‘thems’ so I didn’t see anything wrong. As soon as I stopped seeing them as ‘thems,’ I knew how wrong I was and I started to fight back. I was about five years in when this became apparent. What was striking to me is that I wasn’t a bit racist. I grew up with government assistance but I bought into the culture of law enforcement.” He spoke about how the same behavior was fine for white kids while in black teenagers it was criminalized. Empathy was what made all the difference.
Woods recommends the following changes be made:
– Stop the war on drugs.
– Create civilian oversight boards.
– Cops should police with empathy.
– Police should consult with community leaders.
– Police need to be reminded that their oath was not to follow orders, but to uphold the constitution.
– Investigations of police misconduct must be public.
check out his tweets @michaelawoodjr