In many cities across the country, youth of color are getting swept up by police, stopped and searched as they walk through their neighborhoods, typically just because they fit a certain profile. The blatant racial bias in these “stop and frisk” tactics, particularly in New York City, has led some to dub it “Walking while black.” The same kinds of aggressive and discriminatory police tactics are at work in anti-immigrant crackdowns, particularly with the recent onslaught of policies like Secure Communities and Arizona’s notorious anti-immigrant law SB 1070, which encourage collusion between local and federal authorities to apprehend and deport undocumented immigrants. All these policies are associated with escalating racial profiling, encouraging police harassment, and erodeing trust between law enforcement and communities
But some are trying to reclaim their streets. There’s been a groundswell of resistance by grassroots community groups, setting in motion a wave of creative protest actions, legal campaigns and cultural projects that raise awareness about our growing police state.
Hip hop artist and activist Jasiri X spoke with our partner project, The SoundStrike, on his latest video “10 Frisk Commandments.” Here’s the video and the interview. –Michelle Chen
In his ["10 Frisk Commandments"] video Jasiri gives youth 10 tips on how to not get the shit beat out of you by cops. It is a clever way of displaying the irony of how to not be beaten by police for absolutely no reason. It is a contribution Jasiri has made to the growing movement to end the New York Police Department’s policy of the random and unwarranted stopping and frisking of Black and Latino youth.
Why did you make this song?
Cause Stop and Frisk is not only a bad policy in that 85%-90% of the people stopped are innocent, but it’s also unconstitutional cause we’re getting stopped for no reason other than we’re people of color. Plus we’ve seen in cases like Ramarley Graham that these stops are leading to people being unjustly killed by police
In your opinion, has police abuse against young people of color increased over the last few years?
I don’t think abuse has increased, but our knowledge of it has. Because of social network site we can find out about these cases almost immediately and share them with like minded people. Trayvon was killed in a small town in Florida but the information was able to be shared all over the world and actually led to action.
What do you think will change the way police in this country treat young black and brown men?
Either we have to completely retrain police or hire more police from our neighborhoods or we as a community, people and nation have to say enough is enough and refuse to except this type of unjust treatment. If we say no justice, no peace, we have to mean it.
What are some books or movies you would recommend for people to peep?
A few of my favorite books are The Isis Papers by Dr. Frances Cress Welsing, Confessions of an Economic Hitman by John Perkins and Dark Alliance by Gary Webb. Movies I’d recommend are “When We Were Kings”, “Bamboozled” by Spike Lee, and “LA Confidential”
Do you sleep?
Definitely not enough lol