It was recently reported that Thor actress Natalie Portman, who plays Jane Foster in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, had signed an open letter calling for the defunding of police.
Portman appeared to confirm that report as she advocated to defund the police in a lengthy post to Instagram, where claimed that her black friends, family and neighbors feel terror from the police.
In her Instagram post she writes, “When I first heard Defund The Police, I have to admit my first reaction was fear. My whole life, police have made me feel safe.”
She continued, “But that’s exactly the center of my white privilege: the police make me as a white woman feel safe, while my black friends, family and neighbors feel the opposite: police make them feel terror. And for good reason.”
“Police are the 6th leading cause of death for black men in this country. These are not isolated incidents. They are patterns and part of the system of over-policing of black Americans. Reforms have not worked,” Portman declares.
This data point is contradicted by CDC data which details the six leading causes of death in black men are heart disease, cancer, unintentional injuries, homicide, stroke, and diabetes.
As for her claim about about the deaths being part of a system of over-policing of black Americans, it also doesn’t hold up. A Harvard study by Roland G. Fryer Jr. titled “An Empirical Analysis of Racial Differences in Police User of Force”found that “on the most extreme use of force –officer-involved shootings – we find no racial differences in either the raw data or when contextual
factors are taken into account.”
The study also notes, “Yet, on the most extreme use of force – officer-involved shootings – we are unable to detect any racial differences in either the raw data or when accounting for controls.”
It does note that “on non-lethal uses of force, there are racial differences – sometimes quite large – in police use of force, even after accounting for a large set of controls designed to account for important contextual and behavioral factors at the time of the police-civilian interaction.”
Nevertheless, Portman continued, “Minneapolis, where George Floyd was murdered, is one of the most progressive police forces in the country, having undergone extensive anti-bias training.”
She then wrote, “I am grateful to the leaders in the Movement 4 Black Lives who have made us question the status quo. And who have made us imagine, what a world could be like in which we invested in nourishing people; (in their education, healthcare, environment, shelter)— rather than putting all of our money into punishment. ”
Portman concludes, “I’ve gotten to the age in my life, where if my gut feels uncomfortable, I take the situation as wrong. But this concept initially made me uncomfortable because I was wrong. Because the system that makes me feel comfortable is wrong. #defendblacklives #defundthepolice”
Portman’s Instagram post features a gif of a police car with a broken wheel and a smashed windshield being consumed by flowers. As the gif progresses the words “Defund The Police” appear above the police car.
It also includes photos attempting to explain what Defund the Police means. In the first photo it states, “Defunding the police means reducing police budgets (&power) on a local and state level and investing that money directly into poor communities of color through public services.”
The next photo answers the question, “Why should we defund the police?”
It reads, “Policing reforms or “procedural reforms” are changes to police department protocols like implicit bias training, mindfulness, and police-community encounters. These procedural changes cost cities millions and even billions of dollars, like in NYC.”
The photo continues, “Minneapolis was a model for progressive policing reform, but those efforts have been ineffective in stopping police abuse. In the last 40 years, police power and jurisdiction have expanded massively, especially in poor communities of color.”
The next photo claims “Police response doesn’t serve the best interests of poor communities of color.”
It explains, “The police answer to mismanaged schools? School policing (school to prison pipeline). Inadequate mental health services? Police. Drug overdoses? Criminalize users.”
It continues, “The police has historically adopted a hostile and aggressive “war on crime” mentality that leaves Black and brown people imprisoned or killed.”
“Instead of investing in poor communities of colors, cities respond by putting greater police presence and granting them managerial authority,” it adds.
The photo concludes, “Defunding the police reduces their presence in poor communities of color, reducing police-civilian interaction, and thus violent altercations.”
The next slides attempts to insinuate that increasing police budgets leads to deteriorating infrastructure in poor communities.
It reads, “Police budgets are consistently increased but community and public institutions are slashed like schools, hospitals, and libraries.”
“Then infrastructure in poor communities deteriorates, and police are put there as a solution to “solve” every social problem instead of addressing the root causes,” it adds.
Next it reads, “Redirected and reinvested public funds can uplift those communities while also reducing crime and increasing safety.”
It concludes, “Research shows that crime is a response to social conditions, so by defunding police and redirecting money into communities, violent crime is reduced and communities are uplifted.”
The next image details where Defund The Police activists want to redistribute taxpayer money that will no longer be going to police under their proposals.
It then provides actions to take in order to make defunding the police a reality.
Finally, it provides a list of articles to read that promote defunding the police.
Portman joins other well-known actors and models who, aside from being able to afford their own personal security, are calling for the defunding of the police. They include the likes of Jane Fonda, John Legend, Emily Ratajkowski, Common, and many others.