A thick strand in the history of U.S. policing is rooted back in the slave patrols of the 19th century. Patty rollers were authorized to stop, question, search, harass and summarily punish any Black person they encountered. The five- and six-pointed badges many of them wore to symbolize their authority were predecessors to those of today’s sheriffs and patrolmen. They regularly entered the plantation living quarters of enslaved people, leaving terror and grief in their wake. Together with the hunters of runaways, these patrols had a crystal clear mandate: to constrain the enslaved population to its role as the embodiment … Read more “Baton Rouge, Falcon Heights, Dallas”
What was really on trial in the Sureshbhai Patel case?
In early September, a jury in Huntsville, Alabama, began to hear testimony in the case of Eric Parker, a white police officer who faced federal charges for violating the civil rights of Sureshbhai Patel, a 57-year-old Indian immigrant and grandfather. On September 11th, the jury of ten white men and two Black women reached a stalemate in their deliberations for the third time, leading the judge to declare a mistrial. What happened during the trial should concern all Asian Americans and anyone working on police brutality cases.
The facts in … Read more “Using Unreasonable Force for Speaking No English”
In the wake of the Mike Brown and Eric Garner decisions, of the excessive additional unarmed youth who have been killed in the short weeks following the injustice, and in the face of vast disparities facing our country at every level, I believe that there is an important discussion that we need to be having, but one being generally avoided.
In our society, we’ve demonized the “R Word” so much so, that people pretend it doesn’t exist in our communities, and certainly not in our government, legal system, or other public spaces. That word, and problem, is racism.
In my last post, I recalled an incident that occurred decades ago in Hawai’i. In that incident, I was assaulted by police officers on my 18th birthday. I assume I was targeted because I lived in a small town where I had developed a reputation as a trouble-maker. I opened the door to violence by resisting arrest by asserting my rights.
The cops involved in this incident were white, and they were acting on a description of a perpetrator that was so loose as to invite the kind of harassment I faced: “young, black hair, brown eyes, some kind of … Read more “State Power and Police Violence in Ferguson”
Your silence will not protect you – Audre Lorde
The almost daily news reports of police brutality toward African Americans, and the #fergusonoctober mobilization had me thinking about my 18th birthday. I know that probably sounds pretty random, but bear with me.
My 18th birthday presents included a case of beer split among friends (18 was still the legal drinking age in Hawai’i in that year), and a beat down at the hands of police officers who stopped me on my walk home from the party. The beating I took was so brutal that I was physically unable to speak … Read more “Calling for a Model Minority Mutiny: #fergusonoctober”
Precariat: A social class defined by the shared experience of precarity, a condition of existence without predictability or stability, particularly as pertains to employment and economic security
What the news media has euphemistically referred to as the “situation” in Ferguson, Missouri is driving home a point that too many of us have managed to miss before Trayvon Martin and Michael Brown. The Black body count resulting from police actions against unarmed African Americans is mounting. To view the situation as merely tragic (if, indeed, one can rightly put “merely” and “tragic” together) is to downplay the broad scope of … Read more “What Goes Down in Ferguson is an Asian American Concern – In Fact, It’s a 99% Issue”