So it’s not just about the abolition of policing. It’s about the abolition of capitalism itself. That was the message on Tiffany Cross’s MSNBC show on Saturday. Will Cross applaud when Comcast is nationalized into Comrade?
Cross began the segment by airing a brief clip of the last moments of Jamal Sutherland, a mentally ill person who resisted deputies attempting to remove him from his cell to attend a bond hearing, and died after the deputies pepper-sprayed and tased him.
Cross then asked MSNBC contributor Brittany Packnett Cunningham whether policing can be reformed. Cunningham answered, “in short, no… That is not a system that can be reformed.” Instead of being reformed, Cunningham said that policing “can only be replaced with a true vision for public safety.”
She offered no details of what that “vision” was. Would she have had social workers attempt to remove the resisting man from his cell?Cunningham also described the police shooting of knife-wielding Ma’Khia Bryant, as she was about to stab an unarmed girl, as “murder.”
Frequent MSNBC guest Gyasi Ross — a Native American radical using the Twitter handle @BigIndianGyasi — embraced Cunningham’s view, saying that she had “laid the broad picture very, very eloquently and that’s exactly right. This system is untenable.”
But Ross took things a step further, claiming:
“The way our capitalism, the way our system is set up, that is what we are going to continue to get is these little crumbs on the table that will encourage and indeed, will require these casualties of brown and black lives.”
Ross also touted “the very, very appropriate and reasonable response of ordinary people who are threatened by this constant oppression and this constant threat of physical violence and death at the hands of law enforcement.” That sounds like a justification for the widespread violence, burning, destruction, and looting that followed the death of George Floyd. If looting and rioting ends capitalism, well, whatever it takes.
Predictably, there was no pushback from Cross on Ross’s outlandish assertions. She was seen nodding and murmuring in assent during the segment, and when it was over simply transitioned without comment to a discussion of Matt Gaetz and his possible legal problems.
MSNBC saying policing can’t be reformed and that capitalism requires the police killing of minorities was sponsored in part by Subaru, Tide, Kraft, Flonase, and Johnson & Johnson, maker of Neutrogena.
Here’s the transcript.
The Cross Connection
11:05 am EDT
TIFFANY CROSS: Brittany, I will ask you, can policing be reformed?
BRITTANY PACKNETT CUNNINGHAM: In short, Tiffany, no. You can’t reform a system that was created to protect some people, and to protect those people, supposedly from the rest of us. A system that was created to control can’t actually be changed. It can only be replaced with the true vision for public safety. Like you said, Jamal Sutherland was mentally disabled. Nearly half the people killed by police every single year have a disability.
We know in North Carolina, the video of Andrew Brown Jr. now shows that he was executed, unlike what the police had previously said. And people are still justifying the murder of young Ma’Khia Bryant even though she was reportedly defending herself.
So Tiffany, at some point we have to strip away the veneer and recognize this was never about serving and protecting us. It was about serving and protecting certain people and certain groups and classes from the rest of us. And when you see police and prisons like this in — you see them as the line between your neighborhood and black and brown neighborhoods, and when you see it that way you’ll accept certain acceptable losses like Daniel Shaver and the officer who killed him, a white man in Mesa, Arizona being acquitted.
CUNNINGHAM: You’ll accept people going after the Capitol Police on January the 6th. None of these things should be acceptable in a democracy, and yet here we are. If the state can pick and choose who lives and dies that is not a system that can be reformed.
. . .
GYASI ROSS: I think that unfortunately, Brittany kind of laid the broad picture very, very eloquently, and that’s exactly right. This system is untenable, and we’re going to continue to see these casualties happen in a very, very systematic, very, very consistent and predictable way.
And unfortunately, in this country things work in a really incremental way, particularly legislatively. So those casualties are going to simply continue to happen. And we can continue to expect more of these videos of brown and black folks being executed by law enforcement, more of these instances.
And we can also expect to see the response, the very, very appropriate and reasonable response of ordinary people who are threatened by this constant oppression and this constant threat of physical violence and death at the hands of law enforcement.
So this give and take, this back and forth that will continue to happen until there’s more than incremental change. But unfortunately, unfortunately, the way our capitalism, the way our system is set up, that is what we are going to continue to get is these little crumbs on the table that will encourage and indeed, will require these casualties of brown and black lives.