Wednesday, June 22
Unequal Police Treatment, Personal Responsibility, and the Public Street
I was listening again to KKUP this morning, which, in addition to "Free and Clear" (mentioned earlier), has another good talk show called "Block 2 Block Radio." Today's show was about police impropriety, inspired in part by last week's Metro cover story on the brutal treatment of one former inmate. One of the hosts claimed he had been questioned by the police after having done nothing wrong and asked, "Who polices the police?"*
A caller, identifying himself as Caucasian and second-guessing the Latino hosts' claims of police brutality and unjustified questioning/profiling in San Jose, patronized the host by claiming only criminals need be concerned about police treatment; the innocent are never treated wrongly. The caller, apparently convinced police impropriety is a myth spread by anti-Caucasian racists, condescendingly attempted to bait the hosts into admitting advocacy for giving special treatment to "people of color." When one host spoke about his interest in the welfare of his "people," he was referring to Latinos with contempt for the Man and for order in general, wasn't he--or maybe he was just talking about the people of his diverse neighborhood? The gist was that, if only San Jose's people of color practiced more personal responsibility, the police would give them no trouble. The caller had never caused himself to be wrongfully questioned; why can't people of color prevent this from happening to them?
Anyway, this guy might just be a reactionary who's easy to pick on. But it became easy to sense many others might share a similar defensive, territorial attitude, as the caller stated he would consider a person of color driving a "beater" car through his white, affluent neighborhood suspicious. What business does that outsider have in such a neighborhood? Crime, no doubt.
Yet that outsider would in most cases be driving along a public street. Every citizen is perfectly entitled to pass along every public street; no private property owner is legally entitled to take it upon him-/herself to block access to a street by a specific group of people. To do so would be flagrantly un-American. But, sadly, it seems private property rights are often perceived as extending onto neighboring public property.
Anyway, after the skeptical guy hung up, too confident in his position to absorb the host's thoughts, the show received callers ridiculing him.
*The host didn't mean to be accusatory, but his question was worth asking nevertheless.
July 6: A "shout-out" here to David Madrid of "Block 2 Block Radio."
Oh my god they are staking out your home. Oh my god, call the cops. But they havent done anything dear. well sure they have they are disturbing the peace. can't you hear how loud that radio is. don't we have laws in this country? I will have you know that I am...
Based on my research, the international government including the UN are for other purposes and cannnot do much more either.
Advice: Go watch some movies.
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