some things about black violence and the black culture that the liberal media never say. She points to the imperative need for stop-and-frisk laws, and she says she cannot blame the police officers who in a Facebook discussion referred to the “savages” and “animals” at the West Indian Day parade. And later in the piece she uses the word “animals” herself.
The title I have copied below is the one appearing in the print version of Barrett’s guest column in yesterday’s New York Daily News. It is more direct than the online title.
Blame the Perps, not police ‘racism’
BE OUR GUEST
BY RENEE BARRETT
As a New Yorker, I am heartbroken by the death of Police Officer Peter Figoski, and as a black woman, I am outraged by the hypocrisy of elected officials like City Councilman Jumaane Williams, Assemblyman Hakeem Jeffries and others who consistently critique the NYPD and oppose its stop-and-frisk policies.
Have Williams, Jeffries and everyone else expressed their grief in the wake of the Figoski killing? Yes. But that doesn’t change the fact that these politicians and their allies never miss a chance to attack cops for their supposedly discriminatory targeting of black youth. Meanwhile, every day I read the paper and the faces of those being arrested, arraigned, tried and sentenced—for crimes they have committed—are black.
I’m not sad for these people. Not anymore. Now, I am angry. As I go about my daily business, as I commute from my home in the Bronx to downtown Brooklyn and back, I witness a generation that celebrates criminality. Young boys and girls walk around with their pants sagging around their ankles and rags on their heads, some of them even attending school this way. They recite obnoxious, offensive and violent rap lyrics. They write (misspelled) graffiti on walls promoting their gangs.
They do not communicate in proper English, this after having supposedly attending and passing English classes. These kids are constantly challenging authority and one another with no respect for themselves or anyone else.
I suppose I’m sensitive to this because, knowing a little bit about the history of black folks in this country, it breaks my heart that these kids don’t seem to want better for themselves. I also see these things as part of what contributed to Figoski’s killing, because I believe that Lamont Pride started out as one of these kids.
Pride may not have grown up on the streets of Brooklyn or the Bronx, but he clearly was part of the culture of violence and hopelessness that I see all the time.
The NYPD has recently come under scrutiny because of a few officers’ Facebook rants about “savages” and “animals” at the West Indian Day parade. Of course, it’s appalling to hear such things said, but I can’t blame the police for their frustration. I looked forward to those parades as a child, but I would never attend now due to the apparent inevitability of violence. What was once a joyful celebration of West Indian culture and pride is now just an excuse to act belligerently.
This brings us to the need for stop-and-frisk.
If Pride had, on the streets of Brooklyn, been stopped and frisked, cops probably would have noticed his warrants. They might have caught him carrying a gun. And another senseless death could have been prevented.
Why don’t Williams, Jeffries and other critics of the NYPD reach out to the communities they represent and—in voices every bit as loud as those they so often use to decry the cops’ supposedly racist behavior—urge them to cooperate with the police?
Too many of us are fighting the wrong battles. Yes, racism is inevitable, just like poverty and crime. But this is not the 1960s. We aren’t living under Jim Crow segregation. There are opportunities for those that want them.
Young black and Hispanic men and women have every reason to value themselves. We are lawyers, doctors, educators. The problem is that we are immersed in a culture that has given up on education, morals and manners. We are fighting against a culture that glorifies and promotes violence and drugs and has no regard for authority.
Take a look at what types of crimes are being committed and where. It’s time to place the blame where it belongs. The animals should be held accountable for their actions—and preferably isolated in cages where they pose a risk only to themselves.
Barrett lives in the Bronx.