Natalie Portman: When I First Heard ‘Defund the Police,’ I Was Afraid Because of My White Privilege

natalie-portman-black-swan-still
Fox Searchlight

Oscar-winning actress Natalie Portman writes that she overcame personal doubts about the “Defund the Police” cause — which she supported by signing an open letter demanding that action from local governments — when she acknowledged her “white privilege.”

Portman posted a lengthy message on her official Instagram account on Monday in which she encouraged her followers to support efforts to deprive police departments of taxpayer dollars.

The Black Swan star also struck a note of contrition, saying that she initially had doubts about the movement because she always felt safer with police around. But all that changed when she came to realize her own white privilege.

View this post on Instagram

When I first heard #defundthepolice, I have to admit my first reaction was fear. My whole life, police have made me feel safe. 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. Minneapolis, where George Floyd was murdered, is one of the most progressive police forces in the country, having undergone extensive anti-bias training. I am grateful to the leaders in the @mvmnt4blklives 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. 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 Swipe right for additional resources via @theslacktivists

A post shared by Natalie Portman (@natalieportman) on

“When I first heard #defundthepolice, I have to admit my first reaction was fear. My whole life, police have made me feel safe. But that’s exactly the center of my white privilege,” she wrote. “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.”

Portman cited dubious statistics to back up her claim, saying that the police are the sixth leading cause of death of black men in America. The Centers for Disease Control lists the top six causes of death of black men in the U.S. as heart disease, cancer, unintentional injuries, homicide, stroke, and diabetes.

The Hollywood actress also claimed that the deaths of black people at the hands of police “are not isolated incidents. They are patterns and part of the system of over-policing of black Americans.”

But past studies don’t back up that claim, either. A Harvard University study of more than 1,000 shootings in ten police departments in California, Florida, and Texas found no evidence of racial bias. “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,” researchers concluded.

Portman, 39, said that her realization about the police was a reconciliation of conflicting feelings.

“I’ve gotten to the age in my life, where if my gut feels uncomfortable, I take the situation as wrong,” she wrote. “But this concept initially made me uncomfortable because I was wrong. Because the system that makes me feel comfortable is wrong.”

Portman is the latest celebrity to advocate for the defunding of police, joining the likes of John Legend, Common, Susan Sarandon, Jane Fonda, Emily Ratajkowski, Kendrick Sampson, and Taraji P. Henson.

Follow David Ng on Twitter @HeyItsDavidNg. Have a tip? Contact me at dng@breitbart.com

.

Please let us know if you're having issues with commenting.