Stop and Frisk in New York City

by Sanctified Brother

The barber shop, like the church, has long been a place of solace for the black community: a place where we could sit and discuss race and politics, a place where we could listen to the physical accomplishments of the alpha males and talk about the curvaceous mystique of our women. The one place where we could talk crude and gruff, cheer on our favorite teams, and fellowship about anything near and dear to our hearts.

That’s where I heard about the stop and frisk disapproval ratings. Right there amidst the stories of cricket, bake and codfish, and parking tickets. Right there with everyone from the kaleidoscopic diaspora of peoples exported from the breadth of Africa. Right there where the brothers talked about their commonality of struggle under a predominately white perspective of safety in these mean city streets. That’s where I heard it.

The numbers, as telling as the communities they represent, were clear indicators of a system that many declare was instituted to harass the darker communities of New York City and instigate retaliation that would land the stopped and frisked in jail. Whites in New York City boast a 56% approval of the nefarious stop and frisk, while 69% of Black and 51% of Latinos say the police should keep their hands to themselves.

Someone with influence among the powers that be should have enough sense to look at the numbers and see the black and Latino communities, who receive the greatest proportion of stop and frisks, are the ones crying out for relief from this dubious practice. They’re suffering from a prejudicial system that assumes that men of color are criminals that must be stopped before committing a crime.

According to Mayor Michael Bloomberg,

“We’ve sent a message to criminals…If we think you are carrying a gun, we are going to stop you.”

Well, Mayor Bloomberg, what about the criminals who set up loans for homes that they know can’t be paid back? Or the criminals who establish credit cards with exorbitant fees that trap unsavvy consumers. Or the criminals who sell inferior food products in the black communities and charge exorbitant prices. Or the criminals who intentionally target men of color and create an environment where they will be forced to “resist” arrest. Will you go and stop them, too?