by Chris Stevenson
“Stop and Frisk” is just an extension of what NYPD used to call “Giuliani Time,” an extremely stupid and insane idea that’s been normalized in peoples’ minds just through it’s inception and practice. It has nothing to do with the lowered crime rate that Ray Kelly is suggesting. Stop And Quit letting this man insult your intelligence. Increased police presence lowers the crime rate almost automatically. Picture me as a black cop stopping and frisking whites in Bensonhurst or Long Island even though whites are still leading the nation in drug-use and violent crime, and you’ll start to see the total illogic to it. Lowered crime rates also come primarily through the work of community groups and involved parents, but they don’t get nearly enough credit for it. Much of White America continues to fall for these sick ideas based on white fantasy and the police love it because they can just say they were following orders and it’s aimed at the blacks as a couple of black NYPD came forward recently and admitted. It fits in neatly with many of the sweeping statements that veteran white cops pass down to the newer ones that suggest and articulate they should just target blacks.
It would have been refreshing for once if Kelly were forced to admit the truth beyond his own power and disclose the true reason for this violation of constitutional rights, at least then I could respect him. A lot of blacks get upset at the here-and-now of racist policies without thinking that whites don’t do anything without looking at the long-range implications. Whites like Ray always think about the future, especially those working with the police department. Stop and Frisk accomplishes two things in the long range:
1-Get ‘em the the system (or what I call Preemptive Economic Disenfranchisement) : If you truly believe Stop and Frisk is really about a passionate concern to get marijuana off the streets, then you sir or madam are on drugs yourself. The NYPD and the New York judicial system is hoping to get as many young African Americans on record as having a drug charge before while in high school or college so they will have a record by the time they are ready to compete in the workforce so their opportunities will be limited. Especially if they aspire to government jobs or already work in government so they will be unable to advance or be promoted.
2-A convenient war against black men under yet another pretext of drug suspicion. Since marijuana is not really cited as being a major influence to violent crimes as crack-cocaine, heroin, and other illegal narcotics are, then the mere fact that white officials use Stop and Frisk as a direct result of a lowered crime rate as justification for it, is self-evident of the lie hiding it’s true purpose.
An article in “Colorlines” by Imara Jones cites “Despite their inherent unfairness, policies such as stop and frisk are hard to get rid of. That’s because they form a link in the profit-centered, school-to prison-pipeline that’s underwriting the growth of an entire sector of our economy: the multi-billion dollar prison industry.” Translated, even if 99% of the charges don’t stick, it’s worth it to Kelly and Mayor Bloomberg to ruin the record of the 1%, and feed America’s Prison Jones.
Sadly, the targeting of people of color by authorities for profit is not new. Since the nation’s founding, the policing of black physicality on the scale of stop and frisk has had an economic component.
During slavery, surveillance and violence directed against black people by plantation owners were designed to keep these wildly profitable economic machines humming along without interruption. In the 100 years after the Civil War, physical cruelty was employed to force African Americans into the economically unfair enterprise of sharecropping or working for wages lower than their white counterparts in northern factories.“
A report by American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) released back on June 4 shows the black arrest disparity to run along the same lines as their success in Stand Your Ground; almost four times higher even though marijuana use between blacks and whites are about same: “The ACLU’s analysis of federal crime data, released Tuesday, found marijuana arrest rates for black people were 3.73 times greater than those for white people nationally in 2010. In some counties, the arrest rate was 10 to 30 times greater for blacks. In two Alabama counties, 100 percent of those arrested for marijuana possession were black, the ACLU said.”
The lead author for the study blames this directly on profiling by officers looking to pad their arrest records with low-level suspects in targeted communities. At one time whites were arrested more, in 2010 460, 808 whites were arrested for marijuana possession compared to 286,117 arrests of blacks for the same. During the same year however, the black arrest rate was over 716 per 100,000 to 192 per 100,000 for whites. It seems that cops nationally began looking at NYPD and their “Stop and Frisk” and became inspired by that. A former judge however gives some revealing reasons as to why some of this is the fault of blacks when compared to whites. “It’s easier to catch people with marijuana in communities where there are ‘open-air’ drug markets, rather than looking in homes, basements or country clubs, said Burnett. He is the CEO of the National African American Drug Policy Coalition based in Washington.
Arthur Burnett Sr., said some black defendants, distrustful of authorities, may lash out, use profanities or be rebellious — behavior that makes it more likely that an officer will make an arrest. Burnett said his coalition supports forming a commission to look at scientific evidence on the effect of marijuana use and ‘over-criminalization’ of it.”
The most important advice this writer can give is to beware of the white right’s “War Ons’”; War on Drugs, War on Terror, War on AIDS. Most of these are intertwined with his real war on blacks. According to the NAACP, “5 times as many whites are using drugs as African Americans, yet African Americans are sent to prison for drug offenses at ten times the rate of whites. Police aren’t stopping white potheads because they’re not looking for them. Judge Shira Scheindlin’s mid-August ruling let’s some steam out of Kelly’s Bull Connor-like law for now.
Chris Stevenson is a regular columnist for blackcommentator, Political Affairs Magazine, and a syndicated columnist. Follow him on Twitter, and Facebook, you don’t have to join any of them. Watch his video commentary Policy & Prejudice and The Network for clbTV & Follow his Blogtalkradio interviews on 36OOseconds. Respond to him on the link below.