My son and I were fake-arguing in the grocery store the other day over Paw Patrol. I don’t let him watch it, but he knows what it is. He also knows I don’t support policing but was trying to tell me that the cops on that show don’t do bad stuff. I was like, that’s exactly what they want—you to go out into the world thinking some police are good. It’s propaganda.
The number one video that popped up when I recently typed in “children’s education” in youtube was little cartoon that had a red airplane capturing a robber and dropping him off to the police. I was like, yo this is supposed to be about SHAPES. They also had police toys in the waiting room at a gymnastics place I took my son to once a while back. Like they had a little jail cell there and everything.
Policing is so imprinted in our cultural practices and media from childhood on that it’s hard to imagine life without it. Teaching my kid about prison abolition has required a lot of analytical conversations about jail as inhumane, talking to police (more like not talking to police), and understanding that the good guy/bad guy dichotomy isn’t real—everyone does good and everyone does bad.