Archive for the ‘Freedoms’ Category

Blue Hat, White Hood?

Tuesday, August 26th, 2014

I do not believe that all or even a majority of cops are racist. But too many police officers are either biased, poorly trained, poorly managed, or some combination thereof. That deadly aggregation has created the strong perception in the black community that the police view them not as a group to be protected and served, but as a threatening subhuman species. The events in Ferguson have shown that this perception is pretty well-founded in reality in many communities, and that needs to be fixed.

 

Blue hat, white hood

 

“African Americans make up 67 percent of the population of Ferguson, Mo., but there are just three black officers on the 53-member police force — which responded to peaceful demonstrations by rolling out military-surplus armored vehicles and firing tear gas. It is easy to understand how Brown and his peers might see the police not as public servants but as troops in an army of occupation.” – Eugene Robinson

“The man takes off the old sheets and picks up the badge and the gun. To protect and serve? To patrol and control… Will justice prevail, or will it just be us in jail.” – scene from the movie Baadasssss!

 

If you’re black, it’s clearly understood

What someone thinks of you who’s wearing a white hood.

 

Sadly, the blue cap has acquired the same meaning:

The treatment you’ll receive is at best demeaning.

 

If things go badly, you’ll end up in an “incident report,”

Another life tragically cut short.

 

The hood and the hat are becoming the same

In all but the color, and the name.

 

Who cares what color someone wears on his head

When you just have to be black to be shot dead.

***

Here‘s (Republican) Joe Scarborough’s excellent 8/25/14 discussion of the need for a change in police culture. Joe also neatly disposes of much of the right-wing idiocy that has surrounded Ferguson.

Here‘s the trailer for Baadasssss!, the movie that the quote comes from, actor/director Mario Van Peeble’s tribute to his father Melvin’s groundbreaking 1971 independent movie Sweet Sweetback’s Baadasssss Song (you should watch both of these films if you haven’t already). As a pure coincidence, Baadasssss! was on Starz the night I wrote this post, and when I heard the quote I knew I had to add it. You hear it in the form of a TV interview playing in the background at the 34” mark as Melvin Van Peebles (played by his son Mario) is climbing over the fence to get into Big T’s back yard and house. It sounds like a spoken word performance based on Malcolm X or Stokely Carmichael, but I couldn’t find any record or recording of either of them having said these exact words. If anyone knows what the quote is from, if it’s from anything else besides Baadasssss!, please leave a comment to let me know.

 

What would this, pointed at you while you’re protesting peacefully, make you think the police think about you?

 

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