Systems Analysis: Broken or failing?

When you have to fix your car, you can. A part is broken. You get a new part. The essence and job of being your car remains the same and it works for you. Your car can continue to do its job.

When I fix my car, I do not expect it to change what it was meant to do. My car will remain a Subaru CrossTrek. My car will not become an electric vehicle. For me to have an EV, I have to get a new car system.

When you fix the police department, you do not expect it to change what it was meant to be. You can put new laws and regulations into your department. Congress is already reaching out and discussing a national database on officer misconduct, standards for use of deadly force and an end to qualified immunity. Good fixes. Most of us would say “Yes.” However, this fixed police department will still be a broken department doing what it was designed to do: Protect and serve white people. The failure to succeed cannot happen until the system is redesigned. Redesigning a broken system requires different questions being asked and a great deal of listening and learning.

Why do I say the police department is to protect and serve white people? Our country is founded with Black people being classified as subhuman. Do you think that has changed? People of color are often most effected by any health, social, or environmental crisis. We have heard that Blacks are disproportionately sick and dying from the coronavirus. We know there are housing, job, education and health inequalities, and climate change hits their communities hard because they are often in areas where industrial pollution runs rampant.

Crisis leads to opportunity, and opportunity leads to new ideas and new imaginings. Big ideas and even bigger dreams can be hatched: a new vision to make a better system that benefits every member of society and keeps all people safe is at the top of today’s list. Black Lives Matter is truly All Lives Matter.

Blaming does no good. No one is the ultimate good guy or bad guy here. Life is not a simple black or white experience… pun intended. We have to see the gray and find a better way.

Can we all help by “Midwifing a regenerative world”? to quote Deborah Johnson?

MARTHA WILLIAMS

Long Beach

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