- Created on 27 September 2013
Photo credit: The Huffington Post
The controversial police tactic of stop and frisk isn't necessarily a form of racial profiling, said Republican candidate for New York City mayor Joe Lhota on HuffPost Live on Thursday afternoon.
Since 2004, New York Police Department cops have conducted more than 4.4 million stops though only about 12 percent led to an arrest or citation according to a professor who's researched the issue. Blacks and Hispanics -- especially young men -- make up roughly 87 percent of suspects stopped by police.
HuffPost LIve's Marc Lamont Hill asked Lhota if he considered stop and frisk to be a form of racial profiling.
"No. No, I don't," said Lhota, who was a deputy mayor in Rudy Giuliani's administration. "Some of it may be," suggesting some officers might misuse their authority.
Stop and frisk has emerged as one of the most divisive issues in city politics this year. A federal judge ruled that the NYPD has administered it in an unconstitutional manner and appointed a monitor to rein in the police force so that individual rights are not violated.
The City Council, meanwhile, overrode Mayor Michael Bloomberg's veto on two bills aimed at reforming the questionable tactic. One law created a post in the police department for an inspector general, appointed by the mayor, to review potential abuses. The other law allows alleged victims of racial profiling to sue the police in state court.
Lhota's Democratic opponent, Bill de Blasio, endorsed both measures and also said he'd replace Commissioner Ray Kelly if he wins.
Lhota, however, has called the laws unnecessary, because racial profiling is already against the law while stop and frisk was upheld in a 1968 Supreme Court decision.
"There's no place in the city for racial profiling. Absolutely none," said Lhota. "It's a violation of federal law, state law and city law. And anybody who commits racial profiling should be disciplined in the most severe possible way."
However, Lhota believes that police should undergo additional training on how to properly utilize stop and frisk as a tool and the public should be educated about what cops are permitted to do.
"If somebody is walking down the street and happens to be black, that is not a reason to stop them," said Lhota. "If somebody is walking down the streets and their pants are hanging a little bit too low, that's not a reason for it."
- Created on 27 September 2013
(CNN) -- "I was suicidal in college," a Harry Potter-looking hipster recently told me. The young man's words stunned me. It wasn't his age or gender or style that took me by surprise. It was because he's black.
Even though suicide is the third leading cause of death for black males ages 10 to 24, I had no immediate image, no ready reference for a young black man hurting so bad he wanted to die or for a black man so sick he was driven to kill.
The recent mass shooting by Aaron Alexis at the Washington Navy Yard was horrific and tragic. It made me think about the interior lives of black men -- about how little anyone knows how black men feel when they're in agony or depression.
Black man in pain is a story rarely told.
Hip-hop is considered a safe and powerful space to tell black men's stories. Yet Eminem is the rapper best known for narratives about suicide, addiction and emotional pain.
See video of Navy Yard shooter Before he was the Navy yard shooter
It's easy to imagine someone who looks like Eminem, Kurt Cobain or Alexander McQueen as suffering from depression. But Lee Thompson Young? Not so much.
There's no quintessential cult movie -- a "Black Boy, Interrupted" so to speak -- where we see a black man who struggles with depression or distress. There are even fewer examples of black men seeking help. "The Bob Newhart Show," "M*A*S*H," "Frasier," "In Treatment" and "The Sopranos" are all shows involving men in or providing therapy. They are all white.
It's hard to believe what you've never seen.
The conventional narratives about black men tend to be narrow and depthless. They are often presented in two distinct and superficial ways -- as the criminal or as the incredible. Sometimes you'll see them behind bars or in the courtroom. Other times you'll see them in the limelight. Just turn on the TV and the black men you see are actual or fictional lawbreakers. Or they are superstars.
Aside from these two stereotypical identities, we know nearly nothing about the inner lives of black men. Are they complex? Are they unknowable, untouchable, undesirable or unworthy of help in our collective societal imagination?
It is clear that Aaron Alexis was very sick. He had a "pattern of misconduct" while he was at the Navy. His symptoms weren't a secret. He even went to a Veterans Affairs hospital seeking help for sleep-related issues.
There's been a lot of discussion about him slipping through the cracks and receiving security clearance, being able to enter the Naval Sea Systems Command building easily. But what concerns me is the fact that even though his behaviors raised eyebrows, he wasn't checked for mental illness.
Alexis massacred 12 people like a mad man. The surveillance video showing him armed with a shotgun prowling the building is chilling.
The question is: Can we as a society become more sensitive to black men who need help?
We can start with the book "Black Pain: It Just Looks Like We're Not Hurting" by Terrie Williams, which provides an intimate and honest exploration of the interior lives of black men. We can also encourage the media to look more closely at black men and their emotional complexities. We have to be familiar with one another's pain. Knowledge can reduce ignorance and enlighten us.
- Created on 26 September 2013
samule l. jackson,
The 64-year-old recently gave a candid interview to Playboy's Stephen Rebello. The discussion opened with talk of his new flick with Spike Lee, "Oldboy," and then turned to talk of linguistic errors in society today. Jackson told an anecdote about how, when he was younger, he always made sure to address his elders properly. Nowadays, he sees people on Twitter who don't even know the difference between "your" and "you're." (To which the actor asked: "How the f--k did we become a society where mediocrity is acceptable?")
Rebello raised the point that even highly educated people, including Barack Obama, consciously drop g's from words in order to sound more like the average Joe.
"First of all, we know it ain’t because of his blackness, so I say stop trying to 'relate,'" Jackson replied while chatting with the men's magazine in West Hollywood. "Be a leader. Be f--king presidential. Look, I grew up in a society where I could say 'It ain’t' or 'What it be' to my friends. But when I’m out presenting myself to the world as me, who graduated from college, who had family who cared about me, who has a well-read background, I f--king conjugate."
He then addressed comments he made last year to Ebony magazine, saying he hopes "Obama gets scary in the next four years." Alas, he doesn't think much has changed since then, due to the political deadlock in Washington.
"He got a little heated about the kids getting killed in Newtown and about the gun law," he told Playboy. "He’s still a safe dude. But with those Republicans, we’re now in a situation where even if he said, 'I want to give you motherf--kers a raise,' they’d go, 'F--k you! We don’t want a raise!' ... How do we fix the fact that politicians aren’t trying to serve the people, they’re just trying to serve their party and their closed ideals?"
(The actor's use of the f-word is not out of anger. He has said that using the term "motherf**kers" helped stop his stutter.)
Despite his harsh words, Jackson has long been an Obama supporter. Last September, before the 2012 election, he starred in an ad telling people to "Wake the F--k Up" and vote for Obama, dubbing Mitt Romney an "out-of-touch millionaire."
In 2008, Jackson helped raise $10 million for Obama, according to The Hill. Both he and Sharon Stone donated $50,000. Other donors included Halle Berry, Jamie Lee Curtis and Jamie Foxx.