Timothy Ware-Hill has created a moving piece of activism and protest art. Cops and Robbers is a potent reminder that through collaboration, organizing, connecting through social networks, and ground-level activism fantastic and inspiring art can form and prompt further meaningful work, conversation, and art. Each of the 30 different artists and animators that contributed to this short film adds a different and unique style and voice. Some sections are harsh, brutal, and emotional. Others are bright, hopeful, and encouraging. The poem begins softly but quickly ramps up its musical accompaniment, emotive pleas, powerful imagery, and overall passion. Black people and other nonwhite racial groups, not to mention queer identified groups and people, trans people and the trans community, immigrants, and people of poor socioeconomic wealth, continue to have unfair and unjust exchanges, interactions, and relationships with police and other aspects of institutionalized racism.
It's no question that living in this country as a Black person is significantly more dangerous than if you are White, period. The number of constant direct and indirect threats Black people face is astounding, unjust, racist, immoral, harmful, and tragic. And too often these threats end up in Black men getting murdered, shot, hunted, assaulted, blamed, scapegoated, demonized, dehumanized, and unfairly suspected, persecuted, policed, and punished. Ware-Hill's consistent refrains of, "I want to go back when..." immediately work against the too-often-subtle racism and rhetoric of White people often quoted desires to "go back to the good old days."