Notebook, 9 May 2015: Information Really Is Power

Just to state the obvious, the power of information (as opposed to what amounts to the “noise” of op-eds, punditry, “research” emanating from pre-ordained conclusions and the like), it’s useful to note what the Information Age has recently wrought. This seemingly “DUH” title Citizen videos of police misconduct are eroding the presumption that police do not commit misconduct ought to be understood as a given, but the underlying assumption needs to be made explicit: people are hungry—starving—for real information (in a format they understand).

If police departments across the US feel as if they’ve been sideswiped by the rash of smartphone videos (instantly uploaded), they should should look no farther than what happened because of the imagery coming out of the Soviet bloc in 1990:

After which, the policing of Occupy compares favorably—but only barely:

And of course, the recent spate of police brutality caught on camera:

It’s not that police completely clueless. They’ve been deliberately focusing on reporters and on people with cameras for awhile now:

And this exchange, at about 2:15:

What’s she being arrested for?

For being a newspaper reporter.

Imagery can be powerful enough to bring down a Soviet empire. It remains to be seen if this will be powerful enough to brand America as the racist nation it is and has always been. Moreover, the powers-that-be are ruthless enough to pull a few moves, like reversing the pretty much unanimous court findings that filming police it allowed, and/or prohibiting companies like Youtube from hosting those documents. Getting around that will take someone with the agility of a Wikileaks. Already, White Amerika is busily attempting to rebrand the #BaltimoreUprising as an excuse to loot with impunity while the rest of us “intellectualize away their animalism.” No, I’m not making that up. The real purveyors of racial hatred in this country are white, and they are powerful. They won’t go down easy.

People form their opinions and positions based on what they know, and of course cannot assess what is deliberately withheld from them. But there is reason to hope. For when secrets and unspoken truths are brought out into the light, the world can turn on a dime.


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