Instead Of BEYONCE, Boycotts Should Target Police Unions That Condone Police Brutality

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[Commentary]

Police unions across the country are now planning mass boycotts against pop sensation Beyoncé, because of her recent Super Bowl performance statement championing the memory of the Black Panther Party—and because she supports the Black Lives Matter Movement.

Black America should sent a clear and unambiguous message that we are just as capable of using the boycott—because we are the children of those who fought in the Civil Rights Movement.

Since they want to boycott Beyonce, the time has come for us to boycott the Police Benevolent Associations—and those corporate entities who support them, unconditionally, even while they are killing African Americans, especially youth; many of these corporations make money off of Black people.

This week it became clear that the campaign by police to boycott pop star Beyonce’s upcoming world tour is heating up. The Miami Fraternal Order of Police is pushing for a boycott of the launch of her world tour, which is slated to start in April in Miami’s Marlin’s Park.

The furor against Beyonce revolves around her “Formation” music video—which was followed by her Super Bowl performance, where her backup dancers used Black Panther themed costumes. Both the video and Super Bowl performance showed support for the cause of the Black Lives Matter Movement.

"To taint police officers globally in the Super Bowl is really wrong," said Sgt. Ed Mullins, president of the Sergeants Benevolent Association in New York City. Mullins said he supports the boycott, while claiming “no one in the country is trying to resolve the issues between communities of color and the distrust of law enforcement."

Sgt. Mullins should include himself as part of those who’re doing nothing to “resolve the issues.” Instead of boycotting Beyonce, Sgt. Mullins should be working to change the crooked culture of racism that is creating the issues he says no one is trying to fix.

Another babbling race-arsonist who felt the need to interject his two cents was former Mayor Rudy Giuliani. “I thought that she used it as a platform to attack police officers, who are the people who protect her and protect us and keep us alive,” Giuliani said. “And what we should be doing, in the African-American community and in all communities, is build up respect for police officers and focus on the fact that when something does go wrong, OK, we’ll work on. But the vast majority of police officers risk their lives to keep us safe.”

Who is the “us” that Mayor Giuliani is talking about? The truth is: historically, America’s police force has never had the protecting of African-Americans as a policing goal. How can they when America’s police force—from its historic beginnings—were used to oppress Black people?

Ever, since Blacks were released from plantations many in White America conspired to replace Slavery with other means of controlling Black bodies, and their labor. America’s contemporary police primarily arose from earlier martial means of control like the Slave Patrol and Night Watch.

As Dr. Victor E. Kappeler, Foundation Professor and Dean of the School of Justice Studies at Eastern Kentucky University—and a former police officer—said: “The birth and development of the American police can be traced to a multitude of historical, legal and political-economic conditions. The institution of slavery and the control of minorities, however, were two of the more formidable historic features of American society shaping early policing. Slave patrols and Night Watches, which later became modern police departments, were both designed to control the behaviors of minorities.”

Giuliani, Sgt. Mullins, and their ilk, are being disingenuous when they pretend not to know that the police operate as an oppressor of Black people. So why would police resolve antagonism against African-Americans when that is a central mission of White America’s police to begin with? Why else is there such silence to address the police violence and murder of Black people?

Now these dishonest folk tell us they will boycott Beyonce. We should tell them to go ahead and do it. Isn’t it time we start to boycott the Police “Benevolent” Association—and those corporate entities who support them without any constructive criticism whatsoever?

Minister Louis Farrakhan has pledged to utilize the FOI—Fruit of Islam—to perform security duties for Beyonce. Perhaps more Black musicians and celebrities should consider using Black owned security firms to provide security and such for all their functions. Why should Black celebrities enrich White police who may be victimizing our people?

One of Black journalism’s legendary icons Ida B. Wells said this—before the dawn of the 20 Century—about using economic boycotts to obtain some measure of justice against the oppression of Black America “The appeal to the white man's pocket has ever been more effectual than all the appeals ever made to his conscience.” Indeed, this tactic was used effectively by Dr. King and the Civil Rights Movement during the Montgomery Bus Boycott of 1955.

The unchecked racist aggression against African-Americans—by police and some in White America—is evident today during the ongoing backlash against the Presidency of President Barack Obama. Daily, racist and race-baiting Republicans find myriad ways of attacking the 44th president.

But none of these people utter a single word of condemnation against brutal police, even though they are often falling over one another to condemn those who perpetrate violence against police.

Ironically, many said nothing during the violent standoff in Oregon by a group of White wackos. Why didn't they organize a boycott against them?

This planned police boycott of Beyonce is yet another attempt by police, and their apologists, to silence those pop celebrities who dare criticize them. We saw them try to do it to filmmaker Quentin Tarantino, who made these comments during last year’s Rise Up October police protests “I’m a human being with a conscience. And if you believe there’s murder going on then you need to rise up and stand up against it. I’m here to say I’m on the side of the murdered."

Mr. Tarantino was attacked by police officials including NYPD’s current Commissioner Bill Bratton, who said “there are no words to describe the contempt I have for him and his comments.” Well he should look in the mirror.

Let’s keep in mind, this is the same commissioner who claimed the death of two NYPD officers were “a direct spin-off of this issue of these demonstrations.” But instead of cleaning up the filth in their police stations they blame everyone else—and continually refuse to take responsibility for brutal, murderous actions of their “brothers in Blue.”

We also saw a similar call to boycott New Jersey’s musical superstar Bruce Springsteen after the release of his 2001 “American Skin (41 Shots) song,” penned in reference to the 41 shot police execution of African immigrant Amadou Diallo on Feb. 4, 1999 in the Bronx. Springsteen, like Tarantino, never wavered under the threat of the police boycott—and neither should Beyonce.

It’s not often we see admirable and courageous stands being taken by pop stars—in fact, most become co-signers of the oppression of the masses by remaining silent when they should be using their artistic platform to stand for change. Beyonce’s contribution is a welcome sight in the fight for racial justice. Perhaps, her stance will give other pop artists the necessary courage to speak up.

Black America should also send the message to the police and their unions that two can play this boycott game. Our people have a long history of using the boycott in America. And it may very well be time to start identifying and withholding our patronage from those corporate companies who support police while remaining silent on abuses of police against African-Americans.

 

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