What advice do they have for us now?

Hey ya’ll. I have some news. You may want to sit down for this bc I suspect it will be shocking. In a case of mistaken ‘black guys all look the same, so we don’t have to double-check his identity before we introduce his face to the pavement‘ identity, some cops in New York roughed up 35-year-old former tennis player James Blake.

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CHARLES KRUPA/AP James Blake, seen here during his match against Marcel Granollers at the 2012 U.S. Open, calls the incident ‘definitely scary and definitely crazy.’

Former tennis great James Blake was slammed to the ground, handcuffed and detained by five plainclothes city cops Wednesday outside his midtown hotel before heading out to the U.S. Open, Blake told the Daily News.

The officers, who were all white, mistook Blake for a suspect in an identity theft ring operating around the midtown hotel.

The incident occurred around noon in front of the Grand Hyatt on East 42 St., as Blake, a 35-year-old African-American who attended Harvard before going on tour, was waiting for a car to take him to Flushing Meadows, where he was making corporate appearances for Time-Warner Cable.

“It was definitely scary and definitely crazy,” said Blake, who was once ranked No. 4 in the world and was among the most popular U.S. players of his generation. He suffered a cut to his left elbow and bruises to his left leg.

Asked if he considered it a case of racial profiling, Blake said, “I don’t know if it’s as simple as that. To me it’s as simple as unnecessary police force, no matter what my race is. In my mind there’s probably a race factor involved, but no matter what there’s no reason for anybody to do that to anybody.

“You’d think they could say, ‘Hey, we want to talk to you. We are looking into something. I was just standing there. I wasn’t running. It’s not even close (to be okay). It’s blatantly unnecessary. You would think at some point they would get the memo that this isn’t okay, but it seems that there’s no stopping it.”

Shocking, isn’t it? That police officers would not just harass or restrain, but physically attack a black man under the most wafer-thin of justifications. I find my thoughts drifting…drifting…back to all that lovely, useful advice given to black people by the ever so enlightened and helpful white people who have our best interests at heart. Those white people who are much more insightful than we black savages could ever possibly be. The white people who know best how we should live our lives. They have such useful advice for us. You’ve probably heard the advice before. It looks much like this:

“If you don’t want to get harassed or detained or arrested or beaten within an inch of your life or killed and had your death blamed on suicide rather than a homicide”, they say, “don’t talk back or get an attitude or smoke a cigarette or cry out in pain or resist arrest or walk wrong or be a teenager or be a child in their own bed”.

They say if we follow those easy to remember rules, then we won’t face extreme violence from police officers. Well, what handy-dandy tips do they have for us when we’re engaged in the same activities that everyone else does in the course of a day? When you’re minding your own business in public, where you have the right to be, and you’re walking, which you have the right to do, and you’re attacked by cops who think you look like this *other* black person they’re looking for and don’t even bother to ensure they have the right suspect? How do we avoid that? I mean since we’re talking about the steps white people think black people need to take to avoid cops choosing to use excessive force on us. Heaven forbid we talk about cops modifying their behavior so that they don’t brutalize black folk.

Gah. I despise the wretched stench of victim blaming.

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What advice do they have for us now?
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6 thoughts on “What advice do they have for us now?

  1. 1

    Yep! One must walk in designated areas at designated times of day or evening, wear the proper clothing, don’t dress up because that’s enticing to rapists, don’t dress down because that shows you don’t care about your appearance to any man, in your orbit, who might want to date you. Be wary, carry your car keys in your hands, don’t wear heels because you have to be able to run away, don’t wear sneakers because those are unattractive, and don’t be suspicious of men because that’s not fair.

    Boy! The world is just full of people ready to tell others how they should be living so as to avoid the notice of White men.. I mean bullies.

  2. YOB
    2

    This story is getting very heavy rotation on my local news so Blake’s experience is raising awareness. This incident is going to be hard for the white privilege deniers to talk around.*

    Silver lining/cloud? Maybe. :/

    *will not be surprised to be wrong about that. 🙁

  3. YOB
    3

    This incident is going to be hard for the white privilege deniers to talk around.

    Never mind. *sigh* Should’ve read the comments to the linked article first.

  4. 5

    “They say if we follow those easy to remember rules, then we won’t face extreme violence from police officers. Well, what handy-dandy tips do they have for us when we’re engaged in the same activities that everyone else does in the course of a day? When you’re minding your own business in public, where you have the right to be, and you’re walking, which you have the right to do, and you’re attacked by cops who think you look like this *other* black person they’re looking for and don’t even bother to ensure they have the right suspect? How do we avoid that?”

    Yup. And this is a wealthy, attractive, mildly-famous guy who made it to the near-pinnacle of an extremely White sport and was on his way to the tournament where he played a legendary match (he had a late-night match against Agassi that is considered one of the best US Open matches ever and is regularly replayed during rain delays.) This just shows that no matter how high you climb every Black man can be targeted for this kind of shit.

    “I mean since we’re talking about the steps white people think black people need to take to avoid cops choosing to use excessive force on us. Heaven forbid we talk about cops modifying their behavior so that they don’t brutalize black folk.”

    This. A million times. Great post.

  5. 6

    Yep, it’s exactly like rape prevention: The reasonable criteria get defined afterwards, so they can include the one you “missed”.
    And that’s not even to mention that even if that shit worked it would be completely unreasonable to demand, and impossible to follow.

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