Rpllng Stone (264813)

Rolling Stone magazine has always focused on music but has also had a penchant for political comment. And 2018 is no different. In the latest issue, the publication challenges America’s notion of Jim Crow, as more and more white people seem to be calling police on Black people who are basically exercising their rights to move about freely. And in today’s climate where police shootings are taking a heavies toll on people of color, that’s dangerous. With the recent re-opening of the Emmett Till case – where a 14-year-old Black kid from Chicago was brutally beaten and killed by two white men who thought he had flirted with a white woman – reminds many people of a time called the Jim Crow era, where Black lives were constantly at risk for being in the wrong place and the wrong time, and just being. Writes Morgan Jerkins, although present-day experiences are thankfully not as deadly as Till’s, there are still white women lying about or exaggerating their fears, whether or not they understand their motivations for doing so. When Allison Ettel, or “PermitPatty,” called the police on a Black girl for illegally selling water, she hid around a corner to avoid being on camera, then lied to say that she never called the police, though records refuted her claim. Linda Krakora, who called the cops on 12-year-old Reggie Fields for mowing a lawn, said, “We have always been told by the police if we feel threatened, ‘Don’t confront these people. Just tell us.’” More recently, another woman, nicknamed “NewportNancy,” called the cops on a Black woman smoking in a parking lot, threatening eviction for “smoking on the property.” From slave masters to the Ku Klux Klan to presidents to Supreme Court justices, the power of white men has always been ubiquitous, and so the abuse of their power was easily seen. But white women and their fears represent a less public terror – their gender obscuring the lethality of their tactics. Lying is a minor concern as long as the social order between races is maintained. Identifying as the victim allows the women in these scenarios to maintain both innocence and ignorance. Luckily, modern technology has revealed the insidiousness of this form of racism as well as the perpetrators’ consistent failure to grasp the severity of their behavior. With the assistance of camera phones, the public is forced to have a discussion about this perilous kind of supervision and what can be done about it. Brando Simeo Starkey of “The Undefeated” argued that shaming white people for calling the police on Black people could actually be beneficial as a means to stop their harassment. On “The View,” Whoopi Goldberg commented: “What’s brilliant is that a lot of people are saying, ‘This does not make sense to me. So, it’s [the videos] trending in a better way.” It’s not just about a person of color feeling misjudged in a fleeting moment – these events have residual effects over time. Suicides among Black children have risen 71 percent within the last decade. Although researchers do not unanimously agree on the causes, some suggest that those affected by racism, as well as poverty, are put at a greater risk. According to research conducted at the University of Minnesota, when Black children are aware of racism, they become less connected to their communities and less academically invested because of the disillusionment of their places in society. When Black people are pushed out of neighborhoods due to redlining and gentrification, displacement trauma follows. The space is no longer theirs. The knee-jerk reactions of the white women in these examples to meddle in the lives of these innocent Black people demonstrate reliance upon the power of the state to carry out that which they cannot – to effectively “control” people who are not like them. We need to realize that white feminine fear does not produce innocuous behavior, but a kind of harassment that often leads to racial trauma. Jerkins, who is Black, adds, “If we are ever going to meaningfully address racial injustice in this country, we must unpack the power of this fear and understand how it is inextricably linked to discrimination, police brutality and other forms of racial terrorism. For it is through someone’s baseless apprehension that people like myself are only a phone call away from being exterminated.”