The state often targets minorities even more than other members of the working class. The proletariat often sees countless divisions in itself such as viewing themselves as members of the middle, upper-middle, or lower-middle class, and some of course hold backwards views, including many forms of bigotry and xenophobia. The bourgeoisie did not invent racism, nor is the bourgeoisie the reason it exists — but they do utilize it to their advantage, foment it, and use it as a wedge against proletarian unity and solidarity. The bourgeois state recognizes and amplifies such views through education and mass-media. This is why we say that none of us can be free until all of us are free, and Marx himself said that labor in the white skin cannot emancipate itself where labor in the black skin is branded.
The result of the bourgeoisie amplifying bigotry, xenophobia, and racism is, in part, the current culture of hatred, exploitation, and violence. Bourgeois amplification of backwards views such as bigotry, xenophobia, and racism combined with living under capitalism — a system based on violence and exploitation — unfortunately creates conditions that perpetuate those ideas.
Some of the most common reasons for joining the police, found in various studies across multiple years, are:
“excitement, job security, fighting crime, the prestige of the profession, and the opportunity to help people as reasons for their interest in policing careers (Lester, 1983; Foley et al., 2008; Todak, 2017)”
Based on these studies, and others, it seems that people enter the police force with what they likely view as good intentions — wanting to help people, serve society, and fight crime. Unfortunately, that is not the goal of the police in a bourgeois dictatorship. Serving society and helping people would better describe the goal of the police in a socialist state, where they are held accountable by the people. In the US today, the goal of the police is to maintain bourgeois rule, not to help people. The police were not helping Jayland Walker when they shot him 60 times and they were not helping George Floyd as they kept their knees on his neck for 8 minutes and 15 seconds. Without accountability to the people they claim to serve, any pretense of service is just that: pretense. Supreme Court rulings have routinely upheld that there is no legal requirement for police to place themselves in harm’s way, or to actually help the people they claim to be serving. In this way it becomes clear that they are little more than tools for repression, and any positive outcomes are purely by happenstance.
The impact of a system built on racism, exploitation, and violence can be seen clearly by the discrepancy between police killings of black and white people. We often hear that the police treatment is drastically different depending on who they are interacting with, and the data clearly supports this point. First, there are ZERO states where someone is more likely to be killed by the police if they are white than if they are black. Not a single one. Second, the worst states in this regard, Utah and Illinois, show that police kill black people at a rate of TEN TIMES higher than white people. Make no mistake, there should not be ANY police killings; the data shows however that not only are there over a THOUSAND killings per year, but they are also objectively racist in nature by virtue of the MASSIVE discrepancy in which communities are targeted by these death squads.