Mayor Bloomberg's Stop-and-Frisk And The Prison Industrial Complex

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Why can't Mayor Bloomberg put the same kind of energy into equitably sharing out the City's contracts, as he does in stop-and-frisk?


[Commentary]
 
Make no mistakes about it.  New York City Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly is a rank and file member of the movement to exterminate African Americans males.

Never mind their civil and constitutional rights: stop them, frisk them, lock them up. That's the attitude of Kelly and New York's Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

With nearly 700,000 young Black and Hispanic youth trapped in the annual dragnet of the NYPD's racially discriminatory stop-and-frisk campaign both Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Police Commissioner Ray Kelly have turned deaf ears to cries from the community to end the operation.

Preposterously, in a May 21, 2012 Op-Ed column in The Daily News, Commissioner Kelly claimed that the stop-and-frisk campaign was for the benefit of the Black community.

Yet is Kelly really looking out for the African American community or is he simply securing bodies for the prison-industrial-complex? In addition to creating jobs for Upstate New Yorkers, the mass incarceration of African Americans also disenfranchises a whole ethnic community as Michelle Alexander details brilliantly in "The New Jim Crow."

Commissioner Kelly claims he cares about the welfare of African Americans. Yet he has never spoken a word to show that he understands what's really going on in our communities. We don’t need to pay police to round up young African American men and woman because some officer thinks, just by observing someone walking in the streets, that they may have contraband on them.

White communities across America are armed to the teeth with people in possession of illegal weapons and contraband. Who is out there stopping-and-frisking them?

The rampant crime in the Black communities is that of neglect and abandonment. The unemployment rate ranges anywhere from 19-to 49 percent in most Black and Hispanic communities. These atrocious conditions would not be tolerated in White communities and states of emergency would be declared. To neglect the needs of a people and then to arrest them en mass amounts to genocidal policy.

The neglect is planned. If Mayor Bloomberg were to put the same kind of energy into equitably sharing out the City's contracts, including to African American-owned businesses we would see a remarkable transformation. Jobs would be created in our neighborhoods, supporting families and entire African American communities.

Right here in New York the City contracts outs billions of dollars worth of construction jobs. Yet, when I drive across the Brooklyn Bridge or along the highways of this city I don't see many African Americans doing the work. Less than 5 percent of the total work force is African American even though we make up more than 23 percent of the city's population.  We're entitled not only to the construction work but to jobs in every arena where our tax-payer dollars are used to expand, maintain and manage the needs of this city.

If Kelly, as he claims, is so interested in the welfare of the African American community, why not get his boss Mayor Bloomberg to launch work-training programs for Black and Hispanic youth in conjunction with the City's major unions as electricians, plumbers and other crafts?

Instead both Commissioner Kelly and Mayor Bloomberg are fixated on the illegal stop-and-frisk which encourages police officers to regard all Black and Latino males as criminals and develops resentment towards police.

What better evidence do we need that there is a financial incentive in criminalizing Black and Latino youth around the country when investors can now purchase shares of companies such as the Corrections Corporation of America that operate private prisons?

The Correction Corporation of American has already entered into contract with several cities to privatize their prisons. The Ray Kelly and Michael Bloomberg type of policing would be a God-send to the company.

Rather than continue with the fiction that stop-and-frisk is about reducing crime, I would recommend that both Commissioner Kelly and Mayor Bloomberg start by reading Michelle Alexander's book which the scholar Cornel West has referred to as "magisterial work."  The lessons in Alexander's book are applicable to many urban police forces.

Dr. West sums it best when he says Alexander's book shows "the systemic breakdown of black and poor communities devastated by mass unemployment, social neglect, economic abandonment, and intense police surveillance."

Perhaps Bloomberg and Kelly could even recruit Michelle Alexander as a consultant. There's no question they must abandon the illegal and racially discriminatory stop-and-frisk campaign.

Thousands
of New Yorkers will gather on Father's Day, June 17th, 2012 for the "End
Stop-And-Frisk Silent March Against Racial Profiling."

For more information, please visit
www.silentmarchnyc.org  


"Speaking Truth To Empower."




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