Thursday, May 03, 2012

WNYC's Radio Rookies in Crown Heights (+ a local effort to confront stop and frisk)

WNYC's Radio Rookies, "a New York Public Radio initiative that provides teenagers with the tools and training to create radio stories about themselves, their communities and their world," aired a show about Crown Heights yesterday morning (thanks to reader Tara for passing the link along). Put together by four students at the High School for Global Citizenship, all recent immigrants from the Caribbean, the show examines their own lives in Crown Heights and their relationship with nearby communities, including their Chabad neighbors across the Parkway. The Radio Rookies page has a nice article/transcript, as well as links to some of their other great shows. Among other issues, they've recently tackled the local reaction to the killing of Trayvon Martin as well as Stop and Frisk policing

On that last note, one local resident (who blogs at has been drawing attention to stop-and-frisk policing through a one-man march and stenciling of "NYPD Get Your Hands Off Me" around the city, including at City Hall. Check him out on FB here. His tactics appear unorthodox to many, to be sure, but when the orthodoxy has accepted Jim Crow policing, unorthodox thinking is a must.


  1. I'm gonna go ahead and say that stop-and-frisk is not Jim Crow policing at all.

    I would take a look at some crime statistics and reword that. Racial profiling? Maybe.

    1. It's meant to be a provocative turn of phrase, of course, but I'm far from the first person to make the comparison:

      I've looked at quite a few crime statistics, and read quite a few articles about them. It's not a question that the vast majority of those who are stopped and frisked are young Black and Latino men. Defenders of the program argue that this doesn't constitute unfair profiling because these individuals are statistically most likely to commit crimes, while those of us who are opposed to it consider this argument completely ignorant to the ways in which daily humiliation and increased likelihood of arrest for minor infractions pull people into the criminal justice system and are actually the cause of some of this disparity (structural poverty and racism are other major factors, of course).

      Even beyond that specific argument, when I call stop-and-frisk "Jim Crow policing," I do so because I've seen the way this kind of policing is used to police certain spaces on the basis of race, something that's easy to observe on Franklin Avenue and even easier to observe in and around Columbia University, where I am a student. One effect of racially-based harassment is segregation, and the comparison is Jim Crow. I've shared this story from a former NYPD officer many times, but he says lots of this better than I do: