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Reviews |  Some politicians we don’t like, some movies we make

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Reviews | Some politicians we don’t like, some movies we make

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Bret: In New York City, former chancellor of schools Richard Carranza set up training on “white supremacist culture,” which would include things like “perfectionism” and “objectivity.” That’s why people like George Packer of The Atlantic, who isn’t exactly a fire-breathing conservative, have also publicly despaired of public schools.

Of course, schools need to teach and explore the shameful sides of our past. But parents have a right to expect that the schools their taxes pay for will not blur the line between pedagogy and ideology. I bet many readers would agree if the shoe was on the other foot and a conservative school district tried to impose, say, a creationist science agenda on kids over their parents’ objections.

Which reminds me of Gail. What do you think of the initiative to vote in Minneapolis to replace the police department with something called the Department of Public Safety?

Gaëlle: Minneapolis experienced a terrible crisis between the police and the community after George Floyd was murdered in a manner so slow and painful for the whole world. The police service’s position in the black community was in the throes of collapse. Changing the name of the Department of Public Safety isn’t exactly revolutionary, but it would remind everyone that things were not going to be the way they used to be.

Does this bother you?

Bret: Well, as they say, he beats the Committee of Public Safety, of Robespierrian fame. Otherwise, the whole exercise just reminds me of my favorite line from my second favorite movie, “Animal House”: “This situation absolutely requires that somebody’s really frivolous and stupid gesture be done.”

Gaëlle: Remind me to ask you later what is your favorite first movie. But for now, about Minneapolis.

Bret: Minneapolis has seen a huge spike in violent crime since last year, which matches low police morale and hundreds of cops quitting their jobs. The people who end up suffering the most from reduced policing tend to come from the poorest communities. The proposed Ministry of Public Safety would still have armed officers, but there would be no minimum staff and the focus would be on public health, not public safety. Consistently high rates of violent crime will lead to an exodus of businesses and wealthier residents to the suburbs, which would mean a smaller tax base for the city, which in turn creates a vicious cycle of deteriorating services, more crime, traders closing their stores etc. This is how other American cities, like Newark and Baltimore, have done so much harm.

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