Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Stop and Change

NYPD's increased presence was visible at local train stations in Southern Brooklyn Saturday night. They stood along the sidewalks  giving out Safety Tips postcards to subway riders and pedestrians about increasing awareness during the summer against petty theft. I was one of those passersby who got a postcard and an earful of conversation from one of NY's finest.

He wanted to explain the cause for Commissioner Kelly's initiative and talk with the public on how to be more vigilant. I didn't have time to get into a discussion on other initiatives in our communities on racial profiling. But I imagined. I imagined the sort of distractions we create to the important conversations about racial disparity to equal treatment  under the law. And about the discomfort we have talking matter of fact about the bigoted practices among police and communities of color on tasks like Stop and Frisk.

What if in imagining a different role play between cops and citizens  we could really have an exchange that included men of color actually being respected as men and as equal citizens with due protection under the law. And what if in our conversations we could include preventative action with the police that would extend beyond petty theft on a subway car, but to planned partnerships between neighbors and police officers to make all of our communities safe and livable. Maybe then we wouldn't need postcards that distract us from the more critical issues we're avoiding. Maybe then we could build trust for one other. And maybe then real change could begin.

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