If New York City’s stop-and-frisk program wasn’t controversial before, a new YouTube video will make sure of it.
From The Nation:
“Exclusive audio obtained by The Nation of a stop-and-frisk carried out by the New York Police Department freshly reveals the discriminatory and unprofessional way in which this controversial policy is being implemented on the city’s streets.
On June 3, 2011, three plainclothes New York City Police officers stopped a Harlem teenager named Alvin and two of the officers questioned and frisked him while the third remained in their unmarked car. Alvin secretly captured the interaction on his cell phone, and the resulting audio is one of the only known recordings of stop-and-frisk in action.
In the course of the two-minute recording, the officers give no legally valid reason for the stop, use racially charged language and threaten Alvin with violence. Early in the stop, one of the officers asks, ‘You want me to smack you?’ When Alvin asks why he is being threatened with arrest, the other officer responds, ‘For being a fucking mutt.’ Later in the stop, while holding Alvin’s arm behind his back, the first officer says, ‘Dude, I’m gonna break your fuckin’ arm, then I’m gonna punch you in the fuckin’ face.’ “
Ah, the ol’ “bastard race” insult. And how fortuitous that it should come up in the same week that Colón landed in the New World (October 12).
The “mutt” label has been at the heart of anti-Latino racism for centuries, and it all can be traced back to the founder of the Latino people. When Colón came to the Americas bearing the Spanish flag, he brought the Spanish language (Castilian), the Spanish religion (Catholicism), Spanish disease (smallpox) and, worst of all for the natives, Spanish men. The conquistadors put the natives to work as slaves, most of whom would die of smallpox, and they took many of the native women as their mistresses, whether the women were willing or not — all sanctioned by their Christian God, by the way (Deuteronomy 21:11-14).
Having decimated the native population, the Spanish and the Portuguese were first to ship African slaves to the New World. In Cuba, Puerto Rico, Hispaniola (Haiti and the Dominican Republic) and Central America, they put the Africans to work in the fields growing cacao, sugarcane, coffee and tobacco, and in the mines digging up gold and silver. They took some of the African women as mistresses, of course, and soon the New World saw the creation of a marginalized caste of people whom the Spaniards called criollos, men and women born and raised in the Americas who had a mixture of native, African and European blood.
These people were the forerunners of what would become the modern-day Latino.
So when a police officer in Harlem calls a Latino boy a “mutt” while frisking him, not only is it offensive, it’s also true.
Latinos are a bastard race — not purely European, not purely native, not purely African. No one would claim us so we claimed ourselves. We are a raceless people. Our heritage is wide and rich, drawing on influences from opposite ends of the globe.
I’m Latino, a “mutt” if there ever was one. But see how I still keep my head held high and my tail wagging.
[Video from The Nation.]