Stop and Frisk
now browsing by tag
If anyone is curious why I despise Fox News and everything they represent, the video clip below is a perfect example that explains why. You have 4 people pretending to have an intelligent debate on terrorism and policing in the wake of the recent terrorist attack in France, but if you listen to the overall theme of this phony debate you’ll see that it’s really another opportunity for Fox to make their viewers afraid of black and brown people. They try to make racism sound reasonable, to desensitize us all from that sick feeling we get when we realize we’re taking part in or doing something or saying something that we know is wrong. When we lock our car doors when we see a young black man approaching thinking he’s a criminal who might rob me. When we see a black mother and her kids in the grocery store with a cart full of food and think she’s probably paying with food stamps. When we see a Muslim man boarding our flight and hope that he was stopped for extra screening. Fox News and their guests are constantly telling their viewers that it’s not only ok to make racist assumptions, but those racist assumptions are most likely true. This ignorant moronic woman suggest that skin tone is an indicator of criminal behavior, or as she put it an indicator of who’s a “bad guy”. The man beside her takes this even further and connects the terrorist attack in France to the way policing is done in New York. He suggest that targeting black and Latino men, ignoring their rights as Americans, and policing ethnic neighborhoods with military style police armed with military style weapons will somehow prevent terrorism and make us all safer. Then another ignorant panelist adds something very telling. She says people like her will not be targeted so in her mind it makes it all ok. This was the only truthful utterance in this pathetic racist discussion. Everyone on that panel knows that their race would exclude them from the dangers and dehumanization of racial stereotyping and racial profiling. Even the African American female panelist would be excluded due to her gender.
This video encapsulates everything that’s wrong with Fox in 4 short minutes. After watching it a few times, I feel it’s necessary to challenge or break down some of the ridiculousness and speak directly to each problematic statement:
1. Militarizing the police or making them carry larger or more powerful weapons would not have prevented 9/11. Making police in France carry larger weapons would not have prevented the attack there. The police officer who died in France had a gun. Giving him 10 more guns wouldn’t have changed a damn thing.
2. Stop and Frisk in New York had absolutely nothing to do with the decrease in crime there. Every study that has been conducted to answer that question has shown that targeting people based on race is a waste of police time and resources and it has a negative effect on the relationship between minority communities and police. Stop and Frisk was an unconstitutional failure that should never be repeated anywhere.
3. The male panelist said he never felt like police looked at him as “the enemy”. Of course they didn’t because his race wasn’t targeted. That’s why it’s called racial profiling. Stop and Frisk made NYPD look at blacks and Latino’s as “the enemy”. NYPD officers were told that if they assume everyone they stopped potentially had a concealed weapon, that would make the encounter legal. So black and latino men weren’t looked at as law abiding citizens anymore, under Stop and Frisk they were all looked at as potential criminals.
4. NO ONE IN THE UNITED STATES IS BEING HUNTED BY ISIS. That ludicrous assertion needs no debunking or rebuttal from me.
5. The best way to be safe is arming everyone with guns. This is probably the most irresponsible piece of the Fox News ideology. First they convince their viewers that young black and brown males are dangerous, deserves to be targeted by police, and are most likely criminals; then after they are convinced of this they tell them all to go out and buy guns to protect themselves from the black and brown men who are out to get them. This is the kind of reporting that leads to unarmed men of color being shot and killed because the shooter perceived them as a threat, only later realizing that they posed no threat at all. Crime continues to drop in this country but when polled most Americans believe crime is at an all time high. That misconception is mostly due to media who use fear to sell products. Unfortunately that misconception is also costing lives.
6. If a terrorist sees a heavily armed police officer they might decide to call off their planned attack. This kind of thinking is almost laughable. The truth is if a terrorist is determined to attack Americans and take lives, there really isn’t a lot we can do to prevent this. Human’s aren’t perfect and neither is our government and law enforcement. For every 10 attacks that they prevent, there’s always going to be 1 or 2 that gets by them. That’s why I believe looking at the reasons that lead someone to become a terrorist and trying to address those issues in a realistic rational way would be much more effective than waging wars and stockpiling weapons and passing concealed carry laws that encourages citizens to be suspicious of those who do not look like them, and adopt the role of a vigil anti justice crusader.
7. The NYPD being exemplary in blending in with the citizenry and becoming part of the population without being the enemy? This statement is only true if you’re a white New Yorker which makes up about 33% of the city’s population. For the rest of the non white citizens this statement is not true, and even more so for the black citizens who make up 25% of the population. Choking an unarmed man to death on a sidewalk, forcing a man to strip naked while people on the street watch, or anally raping a man with a plunger is not what I would call an exemplary police force. But this panel at Fox if fine with all of that just as long as their white privilege protects them from it.
At the end of this video clip the panel talks about the bravery of those who worked for the French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo. I’m in total agreement with them on that, but “brave” is a word that becomes meaningless when it comes out of a Fox News anchor’s mouth. There is no bravery in ignoring the suffering of those who aren’t a part of your perceived “good guy” skin tone or race, and there’s certainly nothing brave about profiting from manufactured fear. Fox News and those who subscribe to their ideology are cowards. Racist predictable cowards. Charlie Hebdo’s cutting edge commentary that spared no one’s sacred cow is the antithesis of Fox News and their crusade against African American culture and the minority community.
Here’s a link to an older post that also points out Fox for their racist ideology. ttp://sociallyurban.com/video/how-fox-news-views-race/.
Before i begin this blog post i feel i need to preface it with some important factors to keep in mind while reading it. I am a very proud and vocal member of the Democratic party and even though I’m about to share some harsh critiques about my party and some of its representatives, I feel even at their worst they are still miles ahead of any republican at their best. Now, i felt I had to say that because it was needed to put things in the proper context.
The country-wide debate of New York’s “Stop and Frisk” policy that unfairly targets African American and Latino males has uncovered something surprising about my fellow liberals. A few weeks ago I wrote a blog about the Trayvon Martin shooting and racial profiling titled “No Justice For Trayvon”. In that blog I highlighted how some whites perceptions of young African American males are based on a subconscious irrational fear that makes them see those males as potential criminals. This is true for both conservative and liberal whites although that perception may be slightly more common among conservatives. After a court ruled that NY’s “Stop and Frisk” policy was unconstitutional and a violation of American civil rights it sparked a huge national debate about the ruling and NY mayor Michael Bloomberg’s defense of the program. Those who supported the policy pointed to the low crime rate in the city which they attributed to Stop and Frisk. To me and a lot of African Americans it sounded like they were saying it’s ok to violate a young black male’s civil rights if it makes whites feel less fearful. That was a huge insult unto itself but what came after that was even more insulting. They tried to spin it in the media by saying the policy is in place to protect African American’s living in poor neighborhoods. African American’s translated this to mean they were racially profiling and violating our rights for our own good. Like a parent punishing a petulant child. To me that insult was beyond disgusting because segregationist used the exact same language in the 1950’s to defend Jim Crow. I felt it necessary to write this blog because there were some very important points that were never articulated in the media and among pundits. Watching panel discussions on MSNBC and CNN became tortuous for me. I found myself screaming my points to the tv like they could hear me. Since I’m not a cable tv news political pundit or host, my blog will have to suffice (lol).
The first and most important point I want to make is about those who think Stop and Frisk is necessary. In order to support stop and frisk you have to believe that race determines behavior. How else can you believe that stopping and searching African American’s and Latino’s almost exclusively is acceptable and necessary to prevent crime. This is a hard truth but it needs to be addressed so we can fix it and move on. I’m sure stop and frisk supporters do not want to ask themselves that question. Especially liberals and cable news pundits like those on MSNBC. Don’t get me wrong I love watching MSNBC because I like their reporting of political news and I’ve come to respect the on-air talent. One of my favorites is Chris Matthews the host of Hardball. He’s a moderate democrat with an astute political mind. His views usually mirror my own, but his coverage and views of Stop and Frisk has been very disappointing. Watching him interview pundits has exposed his support for the policy. Time after time he’s expressed fear of New York returning to the violent city it was in the 1970’s and 80’s. When one of his guest presented the idea of stopping more than just blacks and Latino’s Chris likened it to searching grandma at the airport for explosives. When Michael Smirconish guest hosted Chris’s Hardball he was a lot more vocal in his support for the policy. I naively thought progressives would see this Stop and Frisk policy for what it was. Racial profiling, unconstitutional, a severe violation of civil rights, a throw-back to Jim Crow, and just plain wrong. If equality, your personal ethics, and basic human fairness weren’t enough to convince you that this law is racist and unjust, take a look at the stats and ask yourself is this an effective use of police time and resources. According to a study done by the Center For Constitutional Rights during the year 2011 NYPD officers stopped and frisked a total of 636,288 people. Out of those 636,288 stops, 574,483 were African American and Latino. That’s a shocking 87%. Out of those 574,483 minorities only 2% were found to have contraband. TWO PERCENT!!!!!! Under any other circumstances this program would have been rejected years ago due to it’s ineffectiveness.
When you take an objective look at the overwhelming evidence against Stop and Frisk you have to ask yourself why is mayor Bloomberg fighting so hard to keep this in place and why are some white liberals like Chris Matthews and Michael Smirconish vocally supporting the policy or at the very least why aren’t they vocally advocating for its demise. I think the answer can be found in my Trayvon Martin blog titled “No Justice For Trayvon”. They see all young black males as potential criminals, and Stop and Frisk placates this irrational fear. I’m not saying these people are intentional racist. I believe they’ve been conditioned to think about young black males in that way. Their subconscious has made this connection and every crime committed by a young black male reinforces that belief. It’s very disappointing to see so many of my fellow democrats quietly supporting this vile version of institutionalized racism knowing it dehumanizes an entire race of people. Extremely disappointing. Unfortunately this race behavior linkage is perpetuated by the language we use when talking about inner city crime and violence. When we use terms like “the black community” it lumps all blacks together. Even the president has made this mistake. He said we need to address the crime and violence problem within the black community. But this problem mainly exist in the inner city. So instead of lumping all blacks together, he should have said we need to address the crime and violence happening in the inner city. I do not live in the inner city and I have never been involved in any crime. I’m a college educated law abiding citizen who lives on the coast of North Carolina. I have absolutely nothing in common with a violent gang member hundreds of miles away in Detroit. But since we share the same skin color I’m treated like a suspected criminal and I’m supposed to accept that. It’s ridiculous and extremely frustrating.
I’d like to share one more observation that no one else has brought up. The Stop and Frisk policy was built on a supreme court ruling that relaxed the rules for search and seizure when an officer believes a suspect may have a gun. Before this ruling law enforcement could not stop and search random citizens without a clear and articulatable reason. But Bloomberg found a way around the 4th amendment by using that supreme court case. He argued that NY police could stop and search anyone they wanted to and justify it by saying they thought the person had a firearm. My question is why aren’t the NRA (National Rifle Association) out lobbing to end Stop and Frisk? It goes against the very rights they say they are protecting. The right to own a firearm and the right to carry a firearm without being searched by police hoping to find and confiscate a legally owned firearm. The lack of action from their organization shows an obvious racial prejudice in the way they choose issues to speak out against. I sent this question to the head of the NRA but got no response in return. The lack of response makes me think my suspicions are valid.
As a result of discriminatory policing practices like stop and frisk, New Yorkers feel as if their communities are under siege. To learn more about the human impact of these practices, visit www.stopandfrisk.org.
A few weeks after I published this blog post I got the chance to ask MSNBC show host Chris Matthews where he stands on Stop and Frisk. In my blog post I stated that he seemed to support Stop and Frisk. It was very easy to draw this conclusion because he never condemned the policy and never once called it unconstitutional. Instead he would share his fear of New York’s crime rate returning to the very high levels the city had in the 1970’s and 1980’s. Here’s a link to read his response: http://sociallyurban.com/reply-headlines/chris-matthews-response/