TheGrio Daily

The Law and Order myth

Episode 98

“They hate law and order because we are fighting for law and order.” The concept of law and order is a rallying cry for conservatives but Michael Harriot goes back in history to identify moments when Black people were the ones following the law yet they were the group to be punished. 


[00:00:00] You are now listening to theGrio’s Black podcast network. Black Culture Amplified. 

Michael Harriot [00:00:06] In the criminal justice system. The people are represented by two separate, yet equally distinct groups. They are the police and the courts and the judges who represent white people. And then they are the people who represent Black people. Welcome to theGrio Daily, Law and Order. I’m world famous wypipologist Michael Harriot and this is theGrio Daily. 

Michael Harriot [00:00:40] Yeah. Like today we’re going to talk about law, the idea of law and order. I know you’ve heard that phrase like, like law and order, but, like, it’s crazy how we think, how that phrase is used against Black people when we are the ones who should historically and presently be screaming about law and order. Right? Like. Like, for instance. In the history of America, a lot of the atrocities that have been committed about by Black people were illegal or unconstitutional. Now, let’s forget about slavery, because, you know, by now it’s like, oh, well, maybe. Okay, so we with the CRT thing, maybe I should say it is my opinion that slavery is bad. I mean, that’s my opinion. But slavery was constitutional. Slavery was legal, and a lot of white people did it. So let’s forget about slavery. Let’s not even include slavery. Let’s talk about Jim Crow. Let’s talk about segregation. Let’s talk about all of the illegal stuff that America did. That was later investigated by the people who represent Black people. So, for instance. When Rosa Parks sat down on that bus and then there was a Supreme Court case, Browder versus Gayle, that affirmed Black people’s right to sit where they wanted to on the bus. Basically desegregated Montgomery’s bus, the transportation system. That ruling essentially said all of the segregation that went on in Montgomery, especially one of the busses before then, was unconstitutional. It was the white people who were not following the law when they asked Rosa Parks to stand up when they kicked her on the off the bus. They were out of order. 

Michael Harriot [00:02:55] Rosa Parks was not really being civilly disobedient. She was fighting for law and order. Let’s go forward. Right. Let’s take another incident through segregated schools. Brown versus Board of Education. You know which started with a South Carolina Supreme Court case. We talked about it earlier. Briggs versus Elliott. From Summerville, South Carolina. Well, when those five cases, Briggs versus Elliott, Brown versus Board and the other cases that became Brown versus Board of Education desegregated schools, what the Supreme Court said was the entire time you had segregated schools you were committing an unconstitutional act. You were upholding an unconstitutional system. And all of the Black people who were. You know, protesting and filing lawsuits and demanding to be allowed entrance to those schools, they were doing what was right. They were following the law. They were following the orders of the Constitution. They were fighting for law and order. 

Michael Harriot [00:04:21] Well, let’s take the civil rights movement as a whole. I think there was no law against marching across a bridge in Selma. There was no law or core against fighting for equal rights. There was the law gets protests and all of the things that ended up resulting from the civil rights movement, whether it was voting rights legislation, whether it was ending poll taxes and literacy tests. Those things were deemed by the highest court in America to be unlawful and out of order. Racism as a whole. But when we see Black people protesting, when we see stuff like Black Lives Matter marches, when we see demonstrations, when we see people arguing for police reform, what they’re arguing for is law and order. We want the police to enforce the law. We want the police to do the things that we ordered them to do that they are ordered to do with their training by the law, by the fact that we are the ones who pay them. We want police to be within the law and in order. Black people are fighting for law and order and everybody else. Is fighting against it now. There is this thing that people always say when they see Black people protesting law and order. Well, now it is, you know, evolved into something against diversity, equity and inclusion. 

Donald Trump [00:06:22] We have to bring back law and order. 

Ron DeSantis [00:06:24] The foundation of Florida success has been a commitment to law and order. 

Donald Trump [00:06:29] We are the party of law and order. 

Michael Harriot [00:06:33] Well, if you look up the definition of equity, it is a desire to make something adhere to natural law. Don’t worry, I’m bringing this all around. Well, this country was founded. This country was founded. By the Declaration of Independence, though they say we declare that all men are created equal and endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Well, that whole idea comes from this guy named John Locke and another guy named Hobbs. And what those two Enlightenment era philosophers argued that Thomas Jefferson kind of stole quip and put it in the Declaration of Independence is that all men are born free. Being free is the natural state of mind. The natural state of a human right, a natural state of law. They called it natural law. Right. So what the founders argued were that they were creating a country that adhered to natural law and the natural state of man, this is in the writings, is freedom. 

Michael Harriot [00:07:55] So when we talk about the civil rights movement, when we talk about the anti-lynching movement, when we talk about the anti-slavery or abolition movement, we talk about the police reform movement. What we are talking about are people who are advocating that we be allowed to live in our natural state free. And I would argue that the civil rights movement was not a movement. The abolition movement was not a movement. If a man’s natural state is free, then none of those things are movements. All of the people organized against those the segregationists, the pro-slavery people, the anti anti-racist or pro racist people, the people who are against CRT, the people who are against what they call wokeness. They have always been a movement that is against the natural state of man or against the natural law. They hate law and order. Because we are fighting for law and order. And as long as the natural state of man is freedom, then any movement against it is unlawful and out of order. And that’s why you got to keep listening to this podcast. That’s why you got to tell a friend about it. That’s why you got to subscribe. And that’s why we leave you with a Black saying every episode. And today’s saying, it’s heard by ushers and deacons all across Black America, “White people need to be decent and in order.” Thank you for listening to the Grio Daily, and we’ll see you next time. If you like what you heard, please give us a five star review. Download the Grio app. Subscribe to the show and to share it with everyone you know. Please email all questions, suggestions and compliments to the podcast at theGrio dot com. 

Panama Jackson [00:10:25] Coming this February. The Real Black Podcast Network presents Dear Culture: Tru’ish Black Stories. 

Dr, Christina Greer [00:10:33] When you think of sheer artistry, sheer creativity, the ability for someone to bring Black people together in the most fundamental ways, it’s, you know, I would say of my four, Randy Watson’s my number one. 

Michael Harriot [00:10:48] When the news about Rickey first broke, what I heard about it is the thing you hear about, you know, every time somebody Black dies that it was gang related. That means the police don’t know what happened. So they just said probably the gangs, probably, you know, the other Black dudes. 

Damon Young [00:11:04] What I think of Akeelah, you know, I think about how impressionable white people can be. I think about how, you know, if you watch that movie again, you know, he should have lost like three times. 

Panama Jackson [00:11:17] Where were you when you heard the story about them suckers getting served by Wade’s dance crew? 

Shamira Ibrahim [00:11:23] You know, it’s crazy that you mention this. So as a New Yorker, right, Everyone knows where they were on 9/11, right? You know, couple of years later. Right. It’s 2003. Everyone hears about this crazy moment in a boxing ring because that’s where dancers duke it out. Right. In boxing rings. 

Panama Jackson [00:11:40] If you could say something to Ricky right now, what would you say to him? 

Monique Judge [00:11:44] Ricky, You should’ve never got that girl pregnant. You knew I had a crush on you. You should have gone with me instead. 

Panama Jackson [00:11:48] Moments in Black culture examined like never before? Join us each week as we dive into the Black moments that changed us. That changed the world. Make sure to subscribe to Dear Culture so you never miss an episode.