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Cautionary Notes on Black Policing

Adam Charles Bledsoe


This article engages with The Movement for Black Lives demand that Black populations have the right to police their own communities. I offer a critical engagement with this demand, highlighting the fact that Black populations have historically and presently been used and manipulated by societal elites as anti-Black police forces. To substantiate this claim I draw on historical writings and scholarly interventions as well as ethnographic research conducted in Brazil to show how Black individuals can be exploited toward anti-Black ends. I show the ways in which policing remains a salient issue in our present moment, as prominent political actors emphasize the necessity of policing Black communities today. Furthermore, I discuss circumstances in which shifts in present-day policing strategies within the United States appear to draw on Black people to more effectively police their own communities. Ultimately, this article cautions against the cooptation of Black political demands by anti-Black structures in order that Black political movements not be appropriated to further oppress Black peoples.


Policing; Movement for Black Lives; Slave Catchers

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ProudFlesh: New Afrikan Journal of Culture, Politics and Consciousness. ISSN: 1543-0855 (online).
Editor: Dr. Darlene V. Russell.

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