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From Warriors to Guardians, Race Shapes Police Masculinity

Contrast the wanton police killings of Breonna Taylor and George Floyd with police officers’ embrace of an armed 17-year-old named Kyle Rittenhouse. Or the heavily policed Black Lives Matter protests versus police selfies with the January 6 Capitol Hill mob. Or the police seizure of guns from African Americans in front of whites rallying while openly armed.

The last year is replete with striking examples of a racist double standard in policing. It is a broken record that keeps playing—seemingly louder every year—throughout American history. It tells a story that is tragically familiar: police disproportionately disrespect, harass, abuse, intimidate, brutalize, and kill people of color as compared to whites.

But to understand this longstanding thread in American society requires understanding not just the politics of race but also the politics of gender—and how, through their interlocking, Blackness is criminalized and whiteness is disproportionately treated with impunity.

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