Saturday, August 1, 2009

Friday, July 31, 2009

Blue protects Blue...always...

I'm sorry, but you know the world is upside down when Frank Serpico (yes, that Frank Serpico) is taking the side of the Cops in the Gates case.

I'm sorry, but Crowley can never be questioned? Are you kidding me? It's been shown that he lied twice on his Police Report: 1) that he talked to the lady who placed the report (he didn't), and 2) that the caller said two black guys had broken into the home (she never said that).

But a Police Report can never be questioned. Oh no. Blue always protects Blue. That's all that matters to them. Certainly not us, the people they're allegedly protecting.

Because I'm good enough, smart enough, and I'll bite your head off if I have to...

You go, Al.

Same poll, different headlines...

It all depends on how you count the undecideds.

According to Talking Points Memo's Eric Kleefield:

Poll: 28% Of Republican Base Are Birthers.

A new Daily Kos/Research 2000 poll finds that 77% of Americans believe President Obama was Indeed Born in the United States, with only 11% saying he was not -- but there's no clear verdict among Republicans.

Among Republicans, it's a much weaker plurality of only 42% who say Obama was born in the U.S., with 28% saying he was not, with a very high undecided number of 30%. Among Democrats, the number is 93%-4%, and among independents it's 83%-8%.

But Huffington Post (which, when in doubt, will always spin things to the extreme) left it like this:

New Poll: Less Than Half Of Republicans Believe Obama Was Born In U.S.

Less than half of Republicans believe that Barack Obama was born in the United States of America, a new public opinion poll finds.

Only 42 percent of Republican respondents in a Research 2000 survey, conducted for the liberal website Daily Kos, said they thought Obama was a natural born citizen; 28 percent said they did not believe Obama was born in the United States; 30 percent said they were not sure.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

The line that I deal with that you do not...

I'm still processing my feelings about the arrest of Dr. Henry Louis Gates. Needless to say, they start at anger, and grow from there.

Still, it is a momentary anger, a fleeting feeling. Why? Because, as a black man in America, I'm used to the kind of treatment African-American men get at the hands of Police. I'm used to hearing about it. I'm used to seeing it. I'm used to receiving it.

What I'm not used to, at least what's at this point, is the nature of the coverage surrounding the incident, and the views of some white Americans...and white people I have some respect for, is shocking me.

I have been treated to a barrage of advice from these very same white people about how black men and women should behave when confronted by Police.


Okay, lemme take a deep breath here...

Ummm, how should I put this politely?

Okay, I can't.

White Americans may be shocked to learn that a majority of African-Americans, really don't give a shit what you think about the Gates' case.

Yeah, I know its harsh. And clearly, some white folks don't like being told they don't know what the hell they're talking about...or God forbid that they're flat out wrong.

Just about every time a white person is told this by an African-American, the white person in question almost always bristles.

The simple truth is, you don't know what you're talking about because you don't have to live with this. We do.

What? You haven't noticed the remarkably unified front we've all presented in regards to this case?

To this day, ten-twelve years after the fact, the names of Amadou Diallo and Abner Louima have not left our consciousness. Now, who are Amadou Diallo and Abner Liouma?? You may not remember the names, but I bet you remember their cases.

In 1999, Amadou Diallo was shot reaching for his wallet by New York City Police.

He was shot 41 times.

The first time I heard the term contagious shooting came from this incident.

Bruce Springsteen even wrote a song memorializing the incident, called "American Skin."

For the record, the officers involved in Diallou shooting were acquitted in (let's be honest, mostly white) upstate New York.

Abner Liouma was a Haitian Immigrant who was sodomized by a broom stick (also by New York City Police Officers) in 1997.

Is there anyone out there, who cares to justify this rather disgusting bit of Police work? Apparently, someone did, because three of the Officers involved were initally convicted of the crime, but that conviction was subsequently reversed.

And, I cannot believe I almost forgot about Sean Bell, who was killed (November 2006) the day before his wedding, shot 50 times...oh, once again New York City Police. And once again, the Cops were cleared of all charges. Mind you, I've just highlighted three pretty famous cases all originating with the New York City Police. Bear in mind I was raised in Prince George's County Maryland. Coincidentally, the richest Black County in America, and reporting the second highest incidents of Police Brutality outside of Los Angeles County where I live now. What fun.

Now, as I have stated before, I'm a black man. I come from the P.G. suburbs. Raised in a two parent home. I have two (count 'em) two college degrees. I have never seen the inside of a jail outside of an MSNBC Special...

...and I don't trust the Cops.

How can I? Every contact with the Police could be the last thing I do on this earth.

Now, I don't give the Cops any grief. I cooperate at all times, hands always visible. I sure as hell want 'em at my house if there's a problem, and you'll never catch me mouthing off at them (except maybe in the blogosphere).

But let's be clear, I meet the wrong Cop on the wrong day, and I'm dead. Period.

Were I to be murdered by a Cop (and yes, I'm choosing that word specifically), the Cop is more than likely going to get away with it. He or she won't even be fired.

Either you get that, or you don't. Either than insults your basic sense of fairness or it doesn't. But like I said, I don't much care what you think. I live with this reality. Dr. Gates lives with this reality. My Father lives with this reality.

Speaking of the old man, my Father is also a distinguished Professor. Certainly, he's not famous like Dr. Gates. (Probably should have chosen a sexier field than Mathematics. I mean, let's be honest, what was the last Mathematics book you picked up at Borders?) He used to be at Maryland. Last month, he moved to Houston to start his new life.

Right now, he has his Maryland I.D., with the address of my childhood home on it, not his new one. Right now, he lives a house that doesn't have his name on the deed.

Let's say he gets locked out of the house, like Dr. Gates. Let's say his overwhelmingly white neighbors see him trying to get in, and call the cops. Let's say he's caught in the same situation as Dr. Gates? What, exactly, do you think is going to happen to him?

Remember, this is crazy-ass Houston, not Cambridge. Not that Boston's reputation as a Liberal Town isn't one of the most overhyped ideas in imagination.

Friday morning (July 24, 2009) on the Stephanie Miller Show, Executive Producer Chris "Boy Toy" LaVoie said, flat out, that if confronted by the Cops in a similar fashion, one should just obey them.

Wonderful advice, Chris. Too bad there is every chance it won't work.

I can do what the Cops say and still wind up dead.

Again, its a fact of life. I know it. My Father knows it. Dr. Gates knows it.

The only people who seem surprised by this fact are, frankly...people like Chris LaVoie.

Oh sure, there's outrage when it happens. But expect the shock last about a week or and, but before you can say "Freeze, negro" things have gone back to the way they've always been.

The sight of Armed Police at his door (looking for him, mind you), I'm sure sent Dr. Gates into a frenzy. Yes, I'm sure part of it was pride, having his dignity assaulted like this. But in the end, we all know where his mind went. My mind would have gone to the same place. And, to be frank, I'm not sure Dr. Gates owes anyone an apology.

(Actually, that's not true. I'm sure Dr. Gates doesn't owe an apology to anyone, and I hope he launches a lawsuit that bankrupts the Cambridge Police Department. How else are Police Departments going to learn?)

Now, the President, Officer Crowley (and I say that with apologies, since I'm not sure of his actual rank), and Dr. Gates are all going to have a beer at the White House at some point, and eventually hug it out.

Let's not kid ourselves though, while a couple of beers will go a long way to solving the problem of Gates and Crowley. It's not going to fix the larger issue.

I'm actually pretty much convinced Officer Crowley is decent man. The way he was able to banter with the President at the end of their conversation makes it sound like he's a guy you could (to coin a phrase) have a beer with. I'm even sure he earned his job teaching other Cops how not to racially profile.

But that's just it, isn't it? Crowley isn't the exception. He's the rule.

Even the best of you, the most high-minded, the most liberal of you can have moments where you reveal...I hate to you really feel about things. (If you want a benign example of this principal, ask Whoopi Goldberg about former-boyfriend Ted Danson donning blackface for a roast during their relationship -- which ended soon afterward.)

Now, is Ted Danson a racist? No. Is Chris LaVoie? I doubt it. But both men have shown moments of stuptifying ignorance about race in their own country.

But let's be honest, it's not something they have to think about, do they? I do. Hell, I have to.

The problem with Officer Crowley, and other Officers like him, is that a similar bad moment from him can get someone killed. Someone like me. Someone like Dr. Gates. Someone like my Dad.

Yes, Police work is a highly dangerous job.

The only thing more dangerous, is being a black man anywhere nearby.