Op-Ed Brings Fear of Cops to Life
Sunday, December 18, 2011
It's been a while since a young black man wrote such an opinion piece in the New York Times, and on Monday, the comments were cut off at 634. There were more, though, in other social media.
". . . One evening in August of 2006, I was celebrating my 18th birthday with my cousin and a friend. We were staying at my sister’s house on 96th Street and Amsterdam Avenue in Manhattan and decided to walk to a nearby place and get some burgers," Nicholas K. Peart wrote for the Sunday Review section in a piece headlined, "Why Is the N.Y.P.D. After Me?"
"It was closed so we sat on benches in the median strip that runs down the middle of Broadway. We were talking, watching the night go by, enjoying the evening when suddenly, and out of nowhere, squad cars surrounded us. A policeman yelled from the window, 'Get on the ground!'
"I was stunned. And I was scared. Then I was on the ground — with a gun pointed at me.
". . . For young people in my neighborhood, getting stopped and frisked is a rite of passage. We expect the police to jump us at any moment. We know the rules: don’t run and don’t try to explain, because speaking up for yourself might get you arrested or worse. And we all feel the same way — degraded, harassed, violated and criminalized because we’re black or Latino. Have I been stopped more than the average young black person? I don’t know, but I look like a zillion other people on the street. And we’re all just trying to live our lives."
Susan Lehman, deputy editor of Sunday Review, explained how the unusual op-ed came to be. "I received a number of submissions about NYPD's Stop and Frisk Operations, a topic of continuing interest," she told Journal-isms through a Times spokeswoman by email. "Most of the pieces were policy type analysis. It occurred to me that most readers probably had no idea that the NYPD stopped and frisked 600,000 citizens last year and that the best way to bring the various issues to life was to find someone who could describe his/her own experience. I told a number of people in justice fields what I had in mind and one directed me to Nicholas Peart."
Sunita Patel, a lawyer at the Center for Constitutional Rights, told Journal-isms that she had recommended Peart, who had agreed to be part of Floyd vs. City of New York, a class action suit filed in 2008 that alleges a widespread policy of suspicionless stops. The case is before Judge Shira A. Schiendlin of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York. "I thought Nicholas' story was very representative," Patel said. "The comments on Facebook and Twitter have been inspiring. It's moving to me that so many people can identify with his experience," she said. Many whites, especially, Patel said, were unaware of the police practices Peart described.
Peart wrote in his essay, "As a teenager, I was quiet and kept to myself. I’m about to graduate from the Borough of Manhattan Community College, and I have a stronger sense of myself after getting involved with the Brotherhood/Sister Sol, a neighborhood organization in Harlem. We educate young people about their rights when they’re stopped by the police and how to stay safe in those interactions. I have talked to dozens of young people who have had experiences like mine. And I know firsthand how much it messes with you. Because of them, I’m doing what I can to help change things and am acting as a witness in a lawsuit brought by the Center for Constitutional Rights to stop the police from racially profiling and harassing black and brown people in New York."
- Ted Mann, the Atlantic: On the Human Cost of Stop-and-Frisk
- Glenn Minnis, BlackAmericaWeb.com: NY Activists Want Feds to Probe Police Pat-Downs (Dec. 20)?
Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter filled in Monday for Signe Wilkinson, the Philadelphia Daily News' editorial cartoonist.
"In the spirit of seasonal peace, famed editorial cartoonist Michael Nutter drew today's Daily News editorial cartoon," Wilkinson wrote Monday on her Facebook page. "More to come later in the week!"
She told blogger Jim Romenesko: ". . . Tomorrow Pennsylvania State Representative Dwight Evans fills in. Wednesday is City Councilwoman Marian Tasco and Thursday Acting Sheriff Barbara Deeley. With the last two contributions, I’ve significantly upped the number of women editorial cartoonists in America.
"I offered the spot to a number of local pols whom I’ve drawn (and quartered) over the year and assured them they could take on whatever or whomever they wanted, including me and my paper."
Some of those evaluating Nutter's cartoon on Wilkinson's page were less than kind.
"Looks like Nutter working with his buddies at the Chamber of Commerce, sweeping things out of sight," said one. "They already managed to 'work together' to sweep earned sick days away from Philadelphia's working people. He's a tremendous disappointment."
Another said, "Look's like [they're] sweeping more dirt under I-95 to me..lmbo MERRY CHIRSTMAS EVERYONE....."
"National Post reporter Peter Goodspeed is one of the few western journalists to have ventured inside the Kim Jong-il’s Hermit Kingdom," Canada's National Post wrote on Monday, the morning after North Korean dictator Kim Jong Il died.
"He has seen the grey, empty streets, the 'plodding, determined, stoic and sullen' people as they go about their daily life; he has heard the officials 'worshipping' the now-dead Kim Jong-il as their god.
"In a five-part series six years ago, Mr. Goodspeed described it as 'an experience that mixes the theatrics of The Wizard of Oz with the megalomania of ancient Egypt’s pharaohs.' During his tour of North Korea, he visited the grave of Mr. Kim’s father, toured a school with a curriculum heavily laden with propaganda, was invited to feast with the elite in a country where most of the people are starving, and saw for himself how the threat of war hangs over the country. Inside the Hermit Kingdom is a fascinating insight into a reclusive, autocratic country that is as mysterious as it is brutal."
In Foreign Policy, Isaac Stone Fish wrote Monday, "It's probably the most difficult country in the world on which to report.
He began his story, "In an age of connection, it's both refreshing and sobering to think that most North Koreans have probably heard Kim Jong Il's voice only once. In 1992 he stood next to his father, then-President Kim Il Sung, and shouted the words 'Glory to the heroic soldiers of the Korean People's Army!' And that was it."
- Chris Ariens, TVNewser: Death of Kim Jong-il, From Twitter to Cable, 50 Hours Later
- Kainaz Amaria, NPR: The View From Inside North Korea
- Asian American Journalists Association: Resources
- Global Voices: Responses to the Death of North Korean Dictator, Kim Jong-il
- Christopher Hitchens, Slate: A Nation of Racist Dwarfs (2010)
- Lisa Ling and Laura Ling with Sanjay Gupta on "Anderson Cooper 360," CNN: North Korea Mourns Dear Leader (transcript)
- Brian Stelter, New York Times: On Word of Kim’s Death, a Varied Response on Cable News
- Armstrong Williams blog: Should we Extend the Olive Branch to North Korea?
"Respondents made a clear choice in the first ever NewsPro Top Journalism Schools poll, selecting Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications as the top J-school in the country," [PDF] Jarre Fees reported for the NewsPro magazine of TVWeek.com.
"Syracuse easily claimed the top spot, followed by Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism, the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, University of Missouri at Columbia School of Journalism and the University of Southern California’s Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism.
"The survey was distributed to TVWeek.com and NewsPro readers, with 438 respondents participating.
"Placing just below the top five were Arizona State’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication, New York University’s [Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute], the University of California at Berkeley, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Journalism and Mass Communication and George Washington University School of Media and Public Affairs."
Army Spec. David E. Hickman, shown at Al Asad Air Base in Al Anbar Province, Iraq, was killed in Iraq on Nov. 14. (Credit: Courtesy of Zack Zornes via the Washington Post)
"To find Army Spec. David Emanuel Hickman on the morning after his unit returned to Fort Bragg from Iraq, you had to drive 100 miles north, to his home town," J. Freedom du Lac reported from Greensboro, N.C., Sunday for the Washington Post. "Up Highway 29, less than two clicks from the northeast Greensboro cul-de-sac where he grew up, Hickman was in Lot 54 in the Garden of Peace at Lakeview Memorial Park Cemetery.
"Freshly turned red soil covered his coffin, which went into the ground two weeks and a day before he was due home. There were two shriveled carnations on the damp dirt. There was no marker yet, no indication that this was a soldier’s grave.
"Hickman, 23, was killed in Baghdad by a roadside bomb that ripped through his armored truck Nov. 14 — eight years, seven months and 25 days after the U.S. invasion of Iraq began.
"He was the 4,474th member of the U.S. military to die in the war, according to the Pentagon.
"And he may have been the last.
"With the final U.S. combat troops crossing out of Iraq into Kuwait, those who held Hickman dear are struggling to come to terms with the particular poignancy of his fate. As the unpopular war that claimed his life quietly rumbles to a close, you can hear within his inner circle echoes of John F. Kerry’s famous 1971 congressional testimony on Vietnam:
"How do you ask a man to be the last man to die for a mistake?
" 'Thank God if David is the last one to die, because that means nobody else will have to go through this,' said Logan Trainum, one of Hickman’s closest friends. 'But it’s crazy that he died. No matter your position on this war — if you’re for or against it — I think everybody thinks we shouldn’t have been over there anymore.' ”
- Al Jazeera: Infographic: US ends Iraq war chapter
- Chris Ariens, TVNewser: Cable Nets Go Live as Final U.S. Convoy Leaves Iraq
- Wayne Bennett, the Field Negro: The end of W's war.
- Michael Kamber, "Lens Blog," New York Times: Bearing Witness in Iraq
- Geraldo Rivera, Fox News Latino: What Was It All About?
"In an article published in the latest issue of Dutch fashion magazine Jackie, the magazine offers a little advice on how to dress like Rihanna without looking like the 'ultimate niggerbitch.' That’s right," Parlour magazine reported. "No typo there. Check out the full English translation below:
" 'She has street cred, she has a ghetto ass and she has a golden throat. Rihanna, the good girl gone bad, is the ultimate niggabitch and displays that gladly, and for her that means: what’s on can come off. If that means she’ll be on stage half naked, then so be it. But Dutch winters aren’t like Jamaican ones, so pick a clothing style in which your daughter can resist minus ten. No to the big sunglasses and the pornheels, and yes to the tiger print, pink shizzle and everything that glitters. Now let’s hope she won’t beat anybody up at daycare.' "
Jackie Editor in Chief Eva Hoeke posted an apology on the magazine’s Facebook page in which she said, ". . . While the author meant no harm — the title of the article was intended as a joke — it was a bad joke, to say the least."
- Todd Johnson, theGrio.com: Common: 'No regrets' on n-word track with Maya Angelou
- Rod Watson, Buffalo News: Can’t have it both ways with N-word
"Africa has just lost one of its greatest allies in the fight for human rights," Michael Mungai wrote Sunday for the Huffington Post. "The death of Christopher Hitchens, one of the most prolific adversaries of pernicious superstitions, is a big blow, especially to a continent where children and elderly women are subjected to physical harm on suspicion of witchcraft."
Mungai is the co-founder of Dagoretti 4 Kids, an East African organization whose mission includes, "To protect the orphaned, neglected, abandoned, abused and misused children in our community."
"While the legendary author will be missed in the West for his outspoken criticism on political issues," Mungai continued, "some of us in Africa will miss him for his stand against religious impunity, which is responsible for disease, political instability, and deaths in the world's most impoverished continent.
" 'The Hitch,' one of the most brilliant minds that I have ever encountered, will be remembered for his audacious renunciation of Pope Benedict XVI's (and his predecessor's) rejection of condoms' efficacy against HIV/AIDS in Africa. I have personally witnessed women dying of AIDS back home in Nairobi, Kenya, based on the fraudulent opinion that condoms aggravate the spread of the dreaded disease. Hitchens exposed how religious dogma by the Church has been held paramount to African lives. He stood for justice no matter how powerful and influential the transgressors were."
- "Don’t just repeat it. Report it," Brian Stelter wrote Friday for the New York Times. "That’s the lesson this week for MSNBC and for The Washington Post, both of which apologized for repeating a liberal blog’s claim that Mitt Romney had uttered a phrase on the campaign stump that was used in the past by the Ku Klux Klan." Post ombudsman Patrick B. Pexton also criticized the Post.
- Forbes magazine Monday unveiled its list of "30 Under 30" — "These are the people who aren't waiting to reinvent the world. FORBES, leaning on the wisdom of its readers and the greatest minds in business, presents the 30 disrupters under 30, in each of 12 fields, making a difference right now." The media category appeared to include no African Americans or Latinos, but Maneet Ahuja, a hedge fund specialist at CNBC who is of South Asian Indian background, made the cut. ["While there are over fifty people of color on our other 30 Under 30 lists, diversity in media remains a national issue, which this list reflects," Forbes spokeswoman Alexandra Talty told Journal-isms on Thursday.]
- Current and former members of the Federal Communications Commission were among those honoring Henry M. Rivera, the first Hispanic to serve on the FCC, Monday for 25 years of service as chairman of the Minority Media and Telecommunications Council. The council describes itself as "a national nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting and preserving equal opportunity and civil rights in the mass media, telecommunications and broadband industries, and closing the digital divide." Julia Johnson, former chair of the Florida Public Service Commission, is to succeed Rivera as chair.
- Ali Zelenko, vice president for communications at Time Inc., responded Monday to a question from Journal-isms Friday about the upcoming departure of Steven Gray, Time magazine's sole African American correspondent. ". . . Here is our response to any future inquiries you have regarding diversity of Time staff: 'There is diversity of all kinds at all levels of Time's masthead. Maintaining and increasing that diversity remains one of our top staffing priorities.' "
- "Former 'Today' show supervising producer Javier Morgado is joining CNN’s new 4-hour morning show as Senior Broadcast Producer," Chris Ariens reported Friday for TVNewser. "Morgado, most recently a VP of business development at Latina magazine, spent more than 10 years at NBC News, at Miami’s WTVJ, NBC News in New York and lastly at 'Today.' ”
- "On the third day of clashes between security forces and protesters in the center of the capital, a new battle broke out Sunday between Egypt’s state-run and independent media over whom to blame for the violence," David D. Kirkpatrick reported Sunday for the New York Times.
- "South African authorities announced on Thursday the launch of a criminal probe against international news agencies The Associated Press and Reuters for installing cameras outside the home of anti-Apartheid figure Nelson Mandela, according to news reports," the Committee to Protect Journalists said. "Invoking the National Key Points Act, an Apartheid-era law designed to curb reporting of areas deemed sensitive, authorities described the presence of the cameras as a breach of Mandela's privacy and the law and launched a criminal investigation into the news organizations, news reports said."
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