A Culture of Care

There are two ways to think about safety. There is a fear-based way and a care-based way.

The fear-based model defines safety only in terms of being free from crime and criminals, which is limited, and limiting... what I call the "framework work of fear" employs four key elements: systematic deprivation, extensive and expensive systematic suspicion, cruel punishment, and often permanent isolation from the rest of society.

The framework of fear has led to the traumatization of not just the individuals who have been targeted, dehumanized, and criminalized, but the traumatization of entire communities, unfathomable devastations that will be decades in the reckoning. Because trauma is as much a chief cause of violence, as the result of violence, our current for fear-based system paradoxically generates more harm than it prevents, in never-ending cycles of trauma.

This moment presents the opportunity to take action toward a culture of caring and policies of caring.

A culture of care prevents many harms from happening in the first place, by investing in a social safety net (resources), by building our capacity to relate to one another across difference (relationships), and by increasing our sense of “skin in the game" with more vibrant engagement on every level...Care-based safety also means we address harms in ways that hold people accountable and bring about healing (accountability).

Safety is not tied to our capacity to watch our neighbors, but rather based on our capacity to truly look out for one another… We are safer when we act together then when we let ourselves be divided.

from Defund Fear: Safety Without Policing, Prisons, and Punishment by Zach Norris. This excerpt from pages 9-11.