Civil Rights, Unconscious Bias, and What Trevor Noah Got Right About Social Contracts

Social Contracts

Courtney Jones  0:02  

Trevor Noah, he did what I thought was just a brilliant commentary on social media the other day. I saw it, I think it was on Saturday. It was interesting that it took someone from South Africa to be able to see. 

Courtney Jones  0:21  

He was talking about our social contract. And kind of the way that we have, whether they’re spoken or unspoken, these kind of contracts or agreements as a society. How we’re going to behave, how we’re going to treat one another. We’ve seen a lot of that with the shelter in place around the world when it came to the COVID-19 and how people were, for the most part willing to stay inside or to wear a mask when they go out so that they can protect their fellow citizens. 

Courtney Jones  0:49  

So yeah, we did see the social contract at work. So, it’s a little disappointing, although not surprising, to see such an uproar right at the end of the Kum-ba-ya.

Courtney Jones  1:04  

Where, you know, everyone’s “Oh, we’re all in this together”.

Courtney Jones  1:06  

Unless, you know… So it’s a real disconnect. 

Courtney Jones  1:10  

And it’s unfortunate that all the Kum-ba-ya is kind of ripped apart by this kind of a division in society. Which I do question. Although, I totally get it.  As a black woman myself, I have two adult sons. One is an artist, another is a musician. So when he travels, like, even the the clothes that he wears to be on stage. When he’s traveling, I’m terrified every time he has to go out, or if he’s in a car, because there have been incidents where he is maybe singled out or pulled over where somebody else maybe would not have been. 

Courtney Jones  1:46  

So I totally understand that frustration. I understand that, that trepidation when you have a family member… and the anger and the anguish that you would feel seeing, having a loved one taken away in such a manner is devastating. And it’s… So I totally understand that.

Courtney Jones  2:06  

And so I thought it was very interesting that Trevor Noah was talking about these these societal contracts. And, what is the payoff for upholding this contract, if you as a citizen feel like you are fair game and that you could be hurt, or that your life could be in danger? 

Courtney Jones  2:24  

Or if you could lose your life in something as simple as an interaction with the police? Who I think a lot of times we forget, they are our employees, if you will. Our tax dollars are what keep the police departments going. It’s like, we vote on this on a regular basis, whether that’s in local or city elections, or whether it’s municipalities, all the way up to our national elections. we vote for these people. 

Courtney Jones  2:53  

We vote for the money to pay these people and it’s our tax dollars. So that does make us kind of like their employees, and our employees are put there to serve and protect. And so it’s it’s disheartening, and it’s frightening to think that someone that is literally there to protect you, to to serve you in the highest way.

Courtney Jones  3:14  

And which I would believe that a lot of these officers when they swore them in, when they took the swearing in to be a police officer, I’m sure that for the greater good part, 98% of those officers meant that, and they’re out there on the streets, and they’re doing their best every day to serve and protect. 

Courtney Jones  3:30  

So that’s why I think… You know, I talk a lot about ethics. And so I do feel like that’s one situation where it’s making it bad for everybody. 

Courtney Jones  3:37  

If I’m an officer, I’m speaking up about the bad apples, because it’s gonna make it harder for everybody to do their job. You create a mistrust. 

Courtney Jones  3:45  

And if you got people that are depending on you to protect them, and they don’t trust you, then that’s a very scary situation for both parties. And it’s like, you know, as I grew up, I had my stepfather who was a police officer, so I can see it from both sides. I can see how frightening and scary it could be. Going out on the streets right now as a police officer and in that uniform, when you’ve got cities all across the country that are erupting in this craziness and violence. A lot of it completely unwarranted and unnecessary. I totally get where this frustration and anger is coming from on both sides. But I do think that we have to really stay focused in how we choose  to respond to that and how we choose to react to those types of situations. 

Courtney Jones  4:29  

And I am always telling people, “the marching I get it”. I grew up in the 80s. My mom marched in the civil rights movement. My mom marched you know, so we… It was very driven home to us in our household growing up. My younger sister and I. I have a younger brother as well, but it was very much driven home to us, “There have been sacrifices made for us to have the lifestyle that we live”. 

Courtney Jones  4:53  

A lot of my friends joke that we were like The Cosby kids, but it’s because my parents literally marched. and I had an uncle that was arrested during the Civil Rights Movement. So, they were serious about making sure that everyone had a voice and that everybody had opportunities. And because of that marching in the 60s is why we had the lifestyle and the privileges that we did in the 80s. And I get that. And so I do kind of stress that as well to my adult sons.

Courtney Jones  5:20  

But at the same time, we have to also acknowledge the fact that we have to… it’s a new age, it’s a new world, we’re in a whole new millennium. So we really have to do things in a different way. And I think that if we can do peaceful protests, as a lot of people have quoted Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. So we can do these peaceful protests, then that’s absolutely fine. And it does kind of put on the record, that the citizens are not happy. 

Courtney Jones  5:44  

But at the same time, I think that we in order to do more concrete measures, whether it’s literally getting involved paying attention to what’s going on locally in your own community. If you’ve got a mayor, you got a DA you’ve got an assistant DA, if you’ve got these people In these positions of power that can make these decisions that you feel lean on or towards more racism or other biases. Whether it’s gender biases, whether it’s in certain neighborhoods having higher arrest rates. But if that’s the way that you’re feeling locally, then get involved in your local, in your local community, whether it’sgoing to the city council meetings.

Courtney Jones  6:22  

Really paying attention to how people are voting locally in your community, because that’s what’s going to make up not only in your local municipality or your city – whether it’s the laws that are made or that are enforced, whether it’s from that or all the way to a city wide, a statewide, or even nationwide in the way that these laws are enacted and enforced. It’s like, if you want police officers to be accountable, then go to your city councils. Make sure that there are different boards that are put into place. Accountability boards that are literally holding them accountable for what they’re doing. 

Courtney Jones  6:58  

But not only in a walled off, hive mindset, but also encourage panels where it actually involves those officers who aren’t the bad apples. Get their voices in there, get them feeling like they have some ownership in what’s going on, because it really does affect them on the street as well. And so, have them feel that they can be safe and that they can speak up when they see something that’s going on. And that those people that are the miscreants, they can be held accountable, but it’s not a crack down on the entire department. 

Courtney Jones  7:28  

You know, and I always say… I joke about it, but it’s not really a joke. And a lot of times my friends laugh at me, but it just avoids a lot of nonsense. I’m always talking about “don’t buy into the program”. You can tell I’m a matrix fanatic. Yes, it’s true, but don’t buy into the program. 

Courtney Jones  7:43  

So the thing is, when we have these local… whether it’s our local justice centers, whether it’s our police departments, whatever that is, or even our fire departments, our first responders. We hear our first responders are constantly complaining about how they just do not have the 911 capacity to take the calls the way rhey need to. The infrastructure has been very bad. And we have not as a society, even though we’re quick to call the police if something happens, we have not as a society made that a priority in making sure that those lines are in place. Or making sure that those are going to be clear lines, or that those calls are going to be answered. 

Courtney Jones  8:15  

So in the same way that you don’t make that a priority, and you don’t put money towards that, the thing is what a lot of people don’t realize

Courtney Jones  8:21  

when we talk about as private citizens and the way that our tax dollars are spent, the way that it is voted in by our city council members by our state legislature, and Senate and Congress, the way that it’s voted for this funding is very much in the hands of the taxpayers. 

And that’s being aware, that’s understanding house bills and understanding all of the House Bill, not just what’s being shown to you in clips on a YouTube video or on a commercial, but really understanding what laws you’re voting to put into place in your local community. 

Courtney Jones  8:53  

And I think that in the same way that we couldn’t make that a priority, I think that… and it’s facetious, I will admit, but hey, it’s something to think about… 

Courtney Jones  9:00  

And I always say, What if we were to go 30 days? Now, I would say 60 or 90 days so that we can really put it in as a habit. But what if we only went 30 days… just as an experiment in our own local communities, and what if, for 30 days, people just refuse to stop buying into that system? 

Courtney Jones  9:19  

Whether it was through crimes, fines, or penitentiary time, if we decided, “you know what, I’m not even going to jaywalk for the next 30 days.” 

Courtney Jones  9:27  

Because I was saying, you know, “hit them in their pocket, show people your how you feel by their pocket”. And it’s like, that’s very much a way… that if we were to stop doing anything that bought into that system, how long would that system last? I mean, think about it. It’s like… if we were to do no crimes, fines, or penitentiary times… and for some people, hey, that seems very simple. For others. It’s like, “Yeah, right, come on”. 

Courtney Jones  9:49  

But if we were all in it together over the past three… couple of months, where we were all stuck in the house and social distancing… distancing and doing whatever it takes to keep society healthy. 

Because I guarantee if city departments around the country are losing funding, they’re losing money that’s coming in, then they’re going to have to, one, make cuts to the staff that they already have – two,  there will be other things that they will not be able to get, even if it’s something as simple as equipment. But it will make the department really pay attention and understand that American citizens are serious about their not being these sorts of biases when it comes to serving and protecting the individual private citizen here in the US. 

Courtney Jones  10:48  

So it’s something to think about. But like I said, don’t buy into that system. The same way that we didn’t feel it was important enough to buy into the 911 system we needed to call for help, even as far back as the 90s with Flavor Flav talking about 911 is a joke. So if you just, “no crimes no fines, no penitentiary times”. what if we just stopped buying into the system? 

Courtney Jones  11:09  

So maybe that’s gonna be my hashtag for the next week,  #Don’tBuyIntotheSystem. 

Courtney Jones  11:15  

But it’s something to think about. And that’s your “Food for thought” for today. 

Courtney Jones  10:01  

So if we could do that, not only for our mental health and in some cases, our personal bodily health, if we can do that, then why not? 

Courtney Jones  10:08  

But if we could all just get together, even like I said, just for a 30 day experiment, and just say, “don’t buy into the system”, it’s like then what would change? 

Courtney Jones  10:17  

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