Yesterday, I said “fuck you” to Mike Bloomberg.
During Michael Bloomberg’s 11 years as Mayor, stop-and-frisk was the law of the land. Born out of the fear that crime would return to the levels of the 1980s and 1990s, cops were given new powers under the guise of “reining in crime”.
Under stop-and-frisk, cops could “stop” and “frisk” anyone they determined to have been or who was about to be involved in a crime. This program targeted black and brown men and as a result, many of them became afraid of simply walking around their neighborhood. According to New York Times , in 2009, Black and Brown people in New York were nine times as likely to be stopped by the police compared to their white neighborhoods.
In Crown Heights, stop-and-frisk was a common practice. I witnessed men as young as 16 stopped, questioned, and subjected to undignified searches for looking “suspicious”. Nearly all of my younger cousins and male family friends have been stopped or frisked for no reason other than walking while being black. After school, my friends and I would talk to our teachers about the best way to behave when we were stopped by police in order to avoid being arrested or shot. As a kid, I memorized The Black Citizen’s Guide To Police Confrontation in the hope of protecting myself and my friends. Witnessing so many of my friends and family stopped and searched by the police etched the practice of stop-and-frisk into my psyche. So much so that when I was an orientation adviser in college upstate, I would warn young black men that when the police posted an APB — usually describing a black male between 5’8 and 6’2 — it meant that they might be rounded up as suspects. I would say, “it’s not you that did something wrong…the system just thinks you are the wrong color most of the time. So don’t get mad, stay quiet and stay smart.”
Fuck stop and frisk, fuck Bloomberg for defending this racist policy, and fuck his apology that was too little and too late. None of what I saw done to young black and brown men can ever be erased or appeased. The best thing Mike can do is shut up and pay taxes on all his properties, assets and financial holdings. We don’t need any more racist billionaires.