***Warning To People Of Color***
Stumbled on a NYT opinion piece that discussed the selective enforcement of Quality of Life Laws. Laws created to arrest POC in public places, such as Starbucks or even one’s backyard. They are called the new Jim Crow laws of the North. However, these laws were always in the book and selectively enforced in the North.
The difference between the North and the South is a matter of nuanced versus overt racism.
Am I paranoid when I express concern about being profiled and followed by a cop while driving the back roads to my home? How about the dagger stares from white women I received while eating dinner?
First time in years, I felt the utter hate of white people. White women attempting to intimidate me with their hateful stares. The chef even got in on the hatred. I ordered a rare prime rib, my friend a medium rare. His was medium rare, mine overcooked and dry looked like leftovers. When I pointed out the prime rib was not rare the chef claimed my prime rib came from the end part as if that was my problem.
I caution people of color to be careful around white people. They have laws that can be used to selectively imprison and even murder black people. Not all whites are dangerous but please exercise caution as you cannot tell the good ones from the bad ones based on looks.
Last month in Philadelphia, a white Starbucks manager summoned police officers to confront a pair of African-American men after one asked to use the restroom before he had purchased a drink. About two weeks later, at Lake Merritt Park in Oakland, Calif., a white woman called police to report a black family that was grilling food for a picnic.
In both instances, the victims were accused of violating laws or rules governing conduct in commercial establishments and public spaces. In the first case, it was for trespassing or loitering. In the second, it was for using a charcoal grill outside of the designated areas.
“Quality of life” laws serve as a potent instrument of racial segregation. They provide commercial establishments, law enforcement officers and everyday citizens with tools enabling them to police racial boundaries while at the same time claiming to simply be upholding the law.
In contrast to the Jim Crow laws of America’s dark past, these laws supposedly apply to everyone. But in practice, they clearly don’t. Like most middle-aged white people, I have spent countless hours in Starbucks without buying anything. Plenty of white people have barbecued, blasted music and drunk alcohol at that same Oakland park, without anyone calling the police.
Take public beaches. In the South, white officials literally drew color lines in the sands and the waters off shore. In the “racially liberal” Northeast, towns devised elaborate, and ostensibly colorblind, procedures for determining who could access public shores, and what they could bring and do once inside, and then proceeded to enforce them for black and brown people only.
In the 1930s, Long Branch, N.J., passed an ordinance requiring all residents to apply for a pass that would allow access to only one of the town’s four public beaches. Town officials claimed the rule was meant to prevent overcrowding. Without exception, though, black applicants were assigned to the same beach and were denied entry to the others.
Full story at The North’s Jim Crow