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LOCAL VIEWS

When rounding up Black males

for suspected crimes...

One descript does not fit all

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Contrary to what many law enforcers think, all Black men do not look alike.

By VICTORIA GRIMMETT RABB


I was both impressed and amused when the Gay community came out with a multiple list of categories that best defined a variety of homosexual proclivities.


That’s when it occurred to me; if anyone deserves to be characterized in a more diverse manner it ought to be Black Americans—especially Black males. There is no other racial grouping as varied as Black people are, due primarily to the "one drop rule," still in effect today.

 

This practice of hypo descension automatically assigns people of even the slightest racial mix to the presumed "lowest class" of the races involved. We come in every possible skin coloration, eye color, hair texture, build, height, et al. Yet, every time there is a robbery involving a Black male, cops hear an all-points-bulletin bearing scarcely more description than this:

 

"APB Alert: Black male wearing white shirt and black trousers is 

sought, suspected of robbing a grocery story at Main Street and

Beverly Boulevard. Be on the lookout. Be cautious. May be armed!"
 

The round-up begins. Cops are permitted to roust every Black male wearing a white top and black slacks. I happened to catch a video of a young man who was out in front of his apartment building manicuring the front and side lawns and bushes when a cop pulled up.


The young man looked up and noticed the White cop heading toward him and instinctively pulled and activated his cell phone video. He asked the cop what was going on, and was told he matched the description of a Black male suspect who'd just robbed a grocer. The young man asked how he matched the perpetrator. The cop’s reply: “He is black and wearing black pants and a white top, just like you.”


The young man asked, “Am I under arrest?”

The cop responded, “No, but I have to detain you until you’re ID’d by the store owner.”

 

The young man said, “OK, man, but I teach tennis at 4 p.m., and I have to finish this yardwork before I go.

It’s already 1:10 p.m. and I still have to finish, take a shower and drive to West LA. I get a break on my rent

for doing this, and I make the rest of my rent teaching tennis—so I gotta finish up and go.”


The nervous cop said, “Look man, I’m not prejudiced or anything, but you fit the description. You’re a Black man with a white shirt and black pants. Plus, those sharp tools you’re using are like weapons. I’m gonna have to handcuff you ‘til they get here. It’s nothing personal, man…”

 

The cop ordered the young man to turn around so that he could shackle him with the hand cuffs that originated during slavery. 

 

All of this occurred months earlier and was now being aired on social media, but fury rose up in me as if it were a live event. I yelled at my phone, "Ask him what shade Black."


Our men are going to keep getting dragged from their cars, finding gun barrels and tasers pointed at them, getting shackled in handcuffs, and made to lie face down on the ground, ignoring the fact that the word used to assign our race (even those with 1 drop of Negroid blood) does not describe us well enough to take any reliable action. Why? Because Black is comprised of all colors. 

 

We therefore cannot be loosely defined without serious mistakes and repercussions. Describing a person as "Black" does not eliminate Caucasian, Asian, Latino or any other non-African features that may be the most prevalent.


Perhaps we should revert to the term “Colored,” because Whites are clearly unable to understand that “Black” as a descriptive term eliminates the variety of hues that Black people come in. Black men should all carry an info sheet with the following descriptive categories. No cop should be allowed to detain a Black suspect without answering at least the first two categories of a "Black Suspect Questionnaire":

I. What hue Black
Blue-Black
Ground Coffee Black
Coffee with Cream Black
Red Bone
High Yellow
Beige/Light Tan Black
Freckled
Albino


2. Hair

Clean shaven, Bald, Toupee
Straight, Curly, Wavy, Kinky, Afro
Pony Tail Braid, Corn Row Braids, Rasta Braids
Black, Brown, Red, Blond, Gray, Salt/Pepper, Color-dyed
Mustache: Natural, Handlebar, Dallas, Fu Man Chu
Beard: Van Dyke/Goat Tee, Circle Beard, Box Beard,
Stubble, Long, Short

3. Attire

T- Shirt, Wife beater, Dressy, Pullover,
Short/Long sleeve
Fitted/Sagging Pants, Shorts, Sweats

 

4. Shoes
Tennis, Boots, Dress Shoes

 

5. Jewelry/Ornaments
Ring, Watch, Neck Chain, Earrings

6. Teeth

White Teeth, Gold Teeth, Missing Teeth?

7. Age

Victoria Grimmett Rabb is a freelance journalist based in Southern California.

Funds for crucial Education

By ILHAN OMAR

US Congress

 

Education is a pathway to greater opportunity and economic security. It is the lynchpin of the American Dream. I am committed to ensuring all Americans have access to an affordable, quality education at every level, from pre-K through college and beyond.

We must equip our nation's elementary and secondary schools with the best possible resources in order to help prepare our students for their future. That means increasing federal funding for crucial education pro- grams and grants to local schools, as well as repairing and updating classroom infrastructure. Our students cannot thrive in schools that have leaking ceilings, classrooms without heat or air conditioning, and contam- inated drinking water. They need a safe environment and high-quality equipment to succeed. We must also ensure that the teachers who mentor our students have what they need to prosper by providing all school employees with higher wages, paid leave, and first-rate benefits.

But we cannot stop advocating for students once they graduate high school, particularly given the increasing barriers they face in pursuing higher education. The rising cost of college and post-secondary education and training is limiting the opportunities and mobility of our future workforce. College debt has increased 170 percent since 2006 and now exceeds $1.5 trillion dollars, making it harder for borrowers to succeed, build wealth or contribute to economic growth. That burden of debt has a disproportionate impact for students of color and working-class students, perpetuating our nation's growing equality gap.

I am fighting for our students by pushing policies that will address the rising cost of college. That includes policies like establishing tuition-free college and eliminating the existing student loan debt that's currently holding millions of Americans back. Enacting such plans will ensure that everyone - regardless of their income or zip code, the color of their skin or their parents' occupation - has access to a quality, affordable education.

Ilhan Omar is the US 5th District Democratic Congressional representative for the state of Minnesota.

A just system of immigration

By ILHAN OMAR

US Congress

Since the founding of this nation, immigrants have been integral to the develop- ment and diversity that makes America so unique. Many immigrants and refug- ees, like myself, have escaped war, oppression and socio-economic strife in

our homelands to seek better opportunities in the United States.

But sadly, our nation's immigration system is fundamentally unjust and trag- ically inhumane. Instead of extending humanity and compassion to migrants and refugees, we treat them as criminals. There is no need for children to be put in cages. There is no need to fund an expensive wall that only stands for hate and bigotry. There is no need to the Immigrations and Customs Enforce- ment (ICE) agency routinely crack down on innocent immigrants in a brutal and militarized fashion.

 

My position will always be to establish a just immigration system that welcomes and protects all human beings, never treating anyone as a presumed criminal, no matter their ethnicity, religion, or any other orientation.

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Rep. Ilhan Omar

In Congress, I continue to push for ICE to be abolished and replaced with an agency that can defend our national security without criminalizing and brutali- zing vulnerable communities. I am also steadfastly fighting to prevent even one more dollar from going to the Department of Homeland Security that could be used for the continued vilification of immigrants or other practices that violate the fundamental values we hold as a country.

I am also fighting for a pathway to citizenship for DACA recipients, TPS holders, and DED recipients. I am committed to doing all I can to help the more than 11 million undocumented immigrations living in the United States come out of the shadows and get access to rights and privileges they deserve.

 

Just as importantly, we cannot continue to ignore the plight of migrants and refugees, which is why I am pushing for a return to our historical role as a leader in refugee resettlement and reform of our existing policies abroad that are causing people to flee their homes for a safer future.

Ilhan Omar is the US 5th District Democratic Congressional representative for the state of Minnesota.

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