I have to give it up to CNN this time around. They actually challenged bullshit instead of playing along. Good job, guys.
The fact of the matter is that this woman, Michelle Cook, broke no laws. None. She was in compliance with the law, which states that citizens are not required to produce their ID (in certain situations). Simply stating ones name is sufficient. She did that. But it didn’t matter. When she gives her name, he says “that’s not good enough” which is false. Legally, it is good enough. So, that would be him making shit up as he goes along and escalating the situation as a result. She broke no laws whatsoever and STILL he arrested her. I am glad the judge dismissed the case, but it didn’t need to even get to that point.
It seems like the issue is not about being in compliance with the law. It’s about Black people being in compliance with the current officer’s personal feelings, their interpretation of the situation based on their mood, their biases, what they ate for breakfast, did the dog piss their favorite shoes, or are they just racist. The way these situations are analyzed and critiqued, Black people are essentially being asked to be at the officer’s mercy. Does the officer feel like upholding the law today? Does the officer feel like escalating or deescalating the situation? Who knows. Who cares. But just be ready to be unlawfully arrested or maybe even killed. Whatevs. Good luck and may the odds be ever in your favor.
Now, obviously this is not ok, especially when Black tax dollars finance their salary. Does Michelle Cook get an “implicit-bias” tax break? Because it appears that she, and others who look like her, can’t count on the officer to actually follow the law but she can count on his bias and his current mood of the moment to take over and color how he decides to apply or not apply the law to her. Can someone point me in the direction of the economic study that states that it makes perfect money sense for a person to pay the same price for a good or service that others pay yet but not be able to enjoy the same benefits?
And this definition of “resisting arrest” is getting very loose. Way. Too. Loose. That is the new go-to excuse for arresting people without cause. One thing about law that law school taught me is that you can pretty much argue and rationalize any damn thing you want. The legal system has managed to justify all sorts of asinine behavior. It’s rarely about right or wrong, it’s about power dynamics and who makes the “better” argument. And if the argument is in line with social norms/status-quo, then you are at a great advantage. So, I’m not surprised that the “resisting arrest” argument is not being challenged and critiqued in public discourse like it should be.
The last but very important point about this video I want to make is that it showed the gendered side of racism that no one wants to talk about-how Black women are more readily masculinized and perceived as a threat compared to White women, who are considered the embodiment of all things feminine, innocent and pure, and therefore less threatening. It’s an image that is routinely reinforced in the media, schools, and religion. All Black women are pretty much aware of this reality, that if they get into a dispute with a White woman and police are involved, there is a good chance that they may be treated more aggressively than the White woman will be treated, and that any sign of emotion whatsoever could seal her fate. (*cue the “b-b-b-but, but Black women have attitudes…” choir, to which I say, please drink bleach and die.)
Anyway, so this video is reason 178 as to why I’m seriously considering leaving the U.S. to live in a country where Blackness is the standard AND is respected. Easier said than done and I do not for a second believe it will be an oasis of perfection. I am well aware that corruption is everywhere or that my “Americanness” will impact my experience. I get it but there is just something to be said for living in a country that is run by people who look more like you instead of living in a country run mostly by people who oppress you, are afraid of you, hate you, don’t understand you, aren’t used to you, are routinely amused by you but don’t really see you as an equal, yadda, yadda, yadda. Chile, bye with all that. My blood pressure can’t deal, and you know Black folks with blood pressure. At the rate things are going, it’s like staying in an abusive relationship hoping things will change. Not happening. I honestly don’t know what the future holds for Black people in America. There is talk of creating a Black run police force which on paper sounds marvelous, but as a woman, I know I need for Black people to get serious about tackling misogyny and sexism before I can be totally comfortable with that. Too many Chris Brown and Ray Rice apologists and callous “thot” (that ho over there)-labeling in our midst for me to have confidence in a Black police force properly handling a domestic violence or sexual assault complaint.
But, I’m sure we’ll figure it out. We always do.