On Monday, Federal Judge Shira A. Scheindlin ruled that the New York City Stop & Frisk policy was unconstitutional and in direct violation of the Fourth Amendment’s protections against unreasonable search and seizure. In response, New York City Mayor Bloomberg warned that the Judge didn’t “understand how policing works” and vowed to appeal the “dangerous” ruling on behalf of the city of New York.
In light of her decision, I checked in with Elon James White, founder of the award winning Podcast This Week In Blackness, and rapper Jasiri X, who in recent months had collaborated to give the Internet The 10 Frisk Commandments Remix, for their reactions.
The 10 Frisk Commandments takes a page from Biggie Smalls 10 Crack Commandments and sprang from an impromptu exchange at Netroots Nation last year. The collaboration began as a song that featured Jasiri X in a video directed by Elon, and was remixed a year later and re-released in a video that features a variety of artists, activists and local politicians rap-syncing to the lyrics.
The ultimate takeaway being that racial profiling is a detrimental policy that impacts us all, a point that continues to evade Mayor Bloomberg who has explicitly stated that the end of the Stop and Frisk policy may result in “a lot of people dying,” as Jasiri notes:
The sad part is that Mayor Bloomberg and NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly still don’t get it. They keep trying to make us believe that Stop and Frisk is for the benefit of Black and Brown communities. We don’t need another politician with a white savior complex, especially one who’s dangerous policies do more harm than good.
Indeed Jasiri’s rhymes, unlike Bloomberg’s bravado, are backed by statistics that indicate in the past two years out of all of the individuals stopped, nearly 90% were found guilty of no crime. Proponents of the policy champion it as being instrumental in saving “thousands of young Black and Hispanic men by removing guns from the streets” — when, indeed, findings suggest that almost one hundred percent of the time guns aren’t actually found on the individuals who are being stopped and frisked.
The ruling issued by the judge echos sentiments shared by Jasiri in the initial recording of the song when he raps;
Rule #10 a strong word call the Constitution
Or does it apply then to only white men
Is being Black and Brown probable cause Hell no
So why we getting stopped rain, sleet, hail, snow
Bloomberg – who has previously stated that “we disproportionately stop whites too much and minorities too little” -despite statistics that show that over 80% of individuals stopped are Black or Hispanic- would have you believe that it’s for your own good. What underlies his vendetta is the notion that black and brown people need to be policed for their own security.
The cultural and systemic implications of a policy like Stop and Frisk cannot be understated. While they may be harder to measure, the fact is that this policy perpetuates the notion that men of a certain pigmentation are dangerous, suspect and that treating them accordingly is justified and conducive to their own preservation.
At the heart of The 10 Frisk Commandments is a God willing to degrade you to protect you from yourself.
Elon is not impressed:
I find the whole process and ruling a bit problematic. The ruling doesn’t bring me joy because we now know what many believe is “right”–young people of color are criminals until proven not to be. NYC had a law for dehumanizing us but this still happens in places without the law. I’m reminded of the old Chris Rock joke about folks wanting credit for doing the right thing. Ruling this unconstitutional was the least they could do and I will not praise them for realizing treating people who look like me like shit was bad.
In the age of Trayvon Martin and Anthony Stokes, the simple act of being a young man of color is in itself an act of deviance that warrants giving others pause. What qualifies as an acceptable response to that deviance is what’s currently being debated.
Whether we stop and frisk them, shoot them, or deny them a heart transplant– the victims of what’s at the heart of this policy are people who deserve the right to exist in America with their dignity intact.
Asking for as much makes me sad.
This is pathetic.
If you concur, then rapsync.
Share the video– or make your own.
We may not have billions of dollars or access to all the bells and whistles of the New York City Mayor’s office– but we have the Internet, and thanks to The 10 Frisk Remix we have a soundtrack that lights the way forward.