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Communities and the Police

May 31st, 2015 at 06:06 am » Comments (0)

Appearances can be deceiving and policing is not different – both involve human beings – except for the explanation that nothing exists in a vacuum.

Yet, Expansions should not be used as an Excuse. A frame of reference, perhaps grounds for forgiveness, but never a reason for bad behavior (mine or another’s ) – If your gut reaction is to read no further in fear of unpleasant observation – please do stop. But, if you want to think about Solutions instead of Excuses, let’s consider talking about it.

Earlier this week we watched the premiere of the TV series Aquarius – and shortly after the evening news featuring sensational TV personalities interviewing residents of “inner City” Baltimore – the jury is still out on the show – I do not know where the writers plan to take this, but they are certainly setting a background and based on my life experiences, possible accurate – it is going to be about how they choose to use it – Explanation or Excuse.

The character building most certainly brought back memories and they were not all good – but you might be surprised where I found “something to hope for”

An explanation possibly worth examining in the interview was my gut reaction to the “situation” the presented as each garnered their 15 seconds of fame, the residents presented a startlingly clear picture of what is wrong and maybe even how to fix it.

Lining and working primarily in the NY Metro area in the 60’s and 70’s (and well pretty much all my life) – growing up in a typical working class neighborhood undergoing change – read that moving from a balanced (based on census data) mostly white moving to mostly black and finally today it remains so with pockets of Hispanics.

Among the things I learned in life is that God always finds a way to give us what we deserve.

In the interview, and by way of explanation – anyone individual living there who said anything else would have to be suicidal – but reference to the “Code” and how “You don’t help the police”

Well, any cop with half a brain in their head and a decent Training officer from rookie to chief knows you do not solve crime without leads, and you cannot protect with out cooperation.

So here is one of the surprises – I am an admirer of Malcolm X and consider his assignation one of the greatest losses to best long term interests of the Black community than Martin Luther King.

Certainly I did not agree with all of Malcolm’s recommended solutions and his plans to achieve those goals – but certainly he had ideas and ideals worth examining. I am so sorry that more of today’s angry young men of all races are denied by divisionist race baiters from knowing more than entertainment TV masquerading as “news” makers and reporters allow.

Why? well if you watched Aquarius, you saw the same thing he did – YES there was distrust between the Black community and the “man” – that did not mean you threw out the baby with the bath water.
or better yet in his words:

No… Before you come asking Mr. Muhammad does he teach hate,
you should ask yourself
who taught you to hate being what God made you.

Malcolm recognized that teaching hate instead of self-respect – encouraging blame was not a solution or a justification.

It is no accident that members of the Nation of Islam, as portrayed fairly accurately were always well-dressed, well-spoken – no street jive, no pride in poor grammar, and most of all no excuses. They expected their community to cooperate with them. AND, they expected members of the community they served to have enough self-respect and responsibility to maintain personal standards of decency.

They did not “go along to get along” they were proactive in seeking and obtaining results and choosing their battles. And quite frankly they did not much care who the “bad guys” were – if you were black and engaged in any form of criminal behavior you suffered the consequences. You were held responsible for their actions. Street Justice is often Blind Justice – maybe not the easiest to accept.

As a young blond white woman, I would have had no trepidation living in any of the housing complexes where the men who adhered to the Code of Behavior set forth by Malcolm. There was a time when I did and when that sense of community pride ceased to exist in favor of leaders who preached hate and disenfranchised the community by taking step infanticize its members, I moved.

Next stop was an area of the East Village – controlled by the Hell’s Angels, I had more issues with their style than that of Malcolm, but they also looked out for their neighbors. The life lesson learned during that time was that so long as you did not as a woman “join the culture” and become a passenger, but rode your own bike, you were reasonably safe. (well, it helped to have a “hollow leg” and a healthy dose of “control freak” so an aversion to drugs)

If a community choose to cooperate and take a proactive approach to solving its problems – the perception will be it gets better policing – not the reality that law enforcement does not exist in a vacum, and there are insufficient numbers for Cops to fill the void.

If a community refuses to cooperate in its own best interest – actually living by some sort of misguided street code encourage by divisionist – they get the chaos.

If the police are not TAUGHT to develop sources and then how to PROTECT – those sources cannot cooperate and it is not reasonable to expect them to do so.

It is no accident that NYC was spared some of the rioting of the 1968 – when Mayor John Lindsay walked his “white Irish Ass” into Harlem – the message was clear – he wanted to help better not oppress but to accomplish that the community had to trust him and he had to know he could trust them. I have always wondered if he wore, instead of a ring of body guards (yes they were there but very low key) or a “vest” but an adult diaper

And the community responded – its preacher did not seek to divide their community but preached for a greater long term good – it was an era when informants abounded in ALL the communities in NYC and as a result more of the real bad guys were taken off the streets.

NYC emerged – not unscathed – but certainly less so. Our courts certainly have a part to play and those who control the correction system need to do more than maintain calm. Society needs to again understand that infanticizomh leads to crime and corruption = teaching how to truly build self-respect and in turn how to keep it, giving respect when needed.

There is a lesson to be learned – bad things can happen to good people, but less so when the Police are allowed to do their job and when the Cooperation between Community & Cops makes the difference.

In his speech to the SNCC just weeks before his death –

“If I can’t live in the house as a human being, I’m praying for that house to blow down, I’m praying for a strong wind to come along.” “But,” Malcolm concluded, “if we are all going to live as human beings, as brothers, then I am for a society of human beings that can practice brotherhood.”

I am forever grateful for parents who did not condemn based on color but on performance and for the wonderful example set by our neighbors the Reverend and Mrs Seton and the conversations we had, and the people they introduced me to that so shaped many of my views on possible solutions.

I sincerely believe that were he with us today – Malcolm would identify the enemy as those who use oppress by “letting them eat cake” and not those who would prefer to enable not infanticize.

looking forward (I think) to your thoughts and maybe how you think each of us can act in our long term best interest to begin to make the changes needed.







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