||[Jun. 8th, 2015|11:18 pm]
For those who haven't heard about it yet: In one of McKinney's gated communities , a mother threw a pool party for her daughters and their friends to celebrate the end of the school year. Only thing is, this mother and daughters are persons of color, and their friends' kids are persons of color, and despite the fact that the gated community's pool is supposedly open for such parties for all residents...suddenly there were "too many black people" at the party. So somebody (stories differ) called the police, telling them that a bunch of black people were in their pool and refused to leave. (Because, duh, they either lived there or had been invited to the party.)
So the police arrived and at least one of them was a hate-filled, fury-filled bully named Casebolt who (among other things) grabbed a young black teenager in a bikini by her hair and threw her down, pushing her face in the dirt and then kneeling on her back in a classic display of racism and police thuggery, and then pulled a gun on others. All this was fortunately videotaped by a 15 yo who'd been at the party, who happened to be white. Black kids were arrested right and left; the white kids (and the nastier looking white residents hovering around approving the police--take a look at the guy in shorts & T shirt who's sticking right with the worst of the cops, and the two butt-ugly-with-rage white women, one of whom is alleged to have taken a punch at one of the black girls.) Several white kids also in the pool area (not sure if they were party guests) commented that the police chased and manhandled only black and Hispanic kids, and appeared to completely ignore white kids, whatever they were doing.
McKinney is the county seat of Collin County, whose past history with regard to racism is "We got it, we love it, we're gonna keep it till we die." It's essentially a bedroom community for Dallas now, though it claims to be "slow paced" and "friendly." It's north of Plano. It has a convention & visitors website, with a little brag that it's one of Texas' top 20 tourist destinations. (No, it's not. There are many more than 20 better places to visit in Texas.) And that Money Magazine chose McKinney as the #1 Best Place to Live in America in 2014. (I presume that means for white people. Of the most conservative and conventional type.) McKinney is 74% white, 18% Hispanic, 10% black. Its median household income is $79,000, which is almost $30,000 more than the Texas median of $50,000. Both population and income have shot up starting in the mid-1990s and faster since about 2000. McKinney has voted solidly Republican since at least 1996, with Democrat votes coming in ~25% until 2008; Obama made inroads but only to 33% of the vote in both 2008 and 2012. Black population has been about the same proportionally throughout .
From my end of Texas, we were well aware that north of Dallas was a large area of white-dominated, racist, KKK-friendly, religiously narrow-minded communities that were not a destination to visit unless, passing through, you stopped at a fast-food place for a sandwich. I assumed that there were non-racists in those communities, but the voting history, the stuff people posted online from there, and the kinds of bragging they did made it clear they were not in the majority. So an incident like this in McKinney surprises me only in that someone got a clear no-questions-left video of that one police officer without its being confiscated and destroyed. It doesn't surprise me that an unshaven redneck carried a sign thanking the police for "taking care of the situation". It doesn't surprise me that it happened. It doesn't surprise me that the thug-cop who threw the girl down and knelt on her liked to watch cop-porn videos online, or that (before he deleted his accounts) he had already put up the video of himself doing that on his favorites list. It doesn't surprise me that some white people on Twitter not only defend that cop, but insist that the teenagers invited to the party were "thugs" who "invaded" the community. They do not see thuggishness on their own faces twisted in rage and hatred.
McKinney is not alone in its dominant attitudes. Plano's no better. Dallas is no better. It's an area that wants people of color to do menial work for little pay and stay "in their place." North Texas in general is an area that hates easily: blacks, Hispanics, immigrants (unless European or rich), poor people gay, lesbians, transgendered, bisexual, Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, and for that matter any of the more liberal (to it) Christian denominations. You may think I'm harsh on North Texas. And that's true. Some of it's experience. My grandparents moved from South Texas to Dallas for a year when the hardware stores in the Valley were doing well, and put my mother in a private school. They may also have been seeking better medical care for both her (she'd had polio and annual bouts of malaria) and her mother. My mother was treated very badly by faculty and other students, slammed as a "dirty Mexican" for her straight black hair, dark eyes, and bilingualism. She was glad to get back to the Border country. On various trips to North Texas, I heard things said...and I've certainly seen the open and unguarded racism expressed during political campaigns by North Texans.
But going back to the current situation. The double standard's very clear nationwide, and this is another window into the hellhole. A Duggar can get away with molesting his younger sisters and a neighbor kid for years--no report to the police, no arrest, no jail time, no mandated psychological counseling for him, no therapy for the victims--because a) he's white (the biggest thing) and b) he's from a so-called Christian family and thus assumed to have had a good ol' family values background. Multiple posters on Twitter and elsewhere have give him a clean wipe for what he did at 14 and 15 on the grounds that "he was just a kid." Yet child molestration--sexual activity with a child--is a serious crime. A white boy in Cleburne (south of Fort Worth) can drive drunk and recklessly and kill a bunch of people and get sent to an expensive addiction-treatment center instead of jail. Heck, George W. Bush never served a day in jail for his multiple drunk driving arrests when he was young, and his wife killed someone while driving and never was charged. All white. All from so-called "good families."
Here are black kids who at worst--at worst--were annoying people by being black kids having fun at a pool party and maybe some (not according to the party-giver's words, but maybe) didn't have a proper written guest pass. But even so: they weren't destroying property. They weren't breaking to apartments, smashing car windows, beating up on people. They weren't grabbing younger kids as sexual objects. They were just "there." But from the first moment this hit the news, they've been vilified as "thugs," and "invaders," and scolded for "not knowing better." Same age as Josh Duggar...doing nothing wrong but being visible and therefore annoying to white racists. Probably, yes, loud and goofy (just like white teenagers--it's not like white teenagers are quiet at a pool party and cookout. Been to them, when our kid was invited.) But not criminals. Not "thugs." Not "gangs".
Where's the "he's just a kid" pass for black kids? Nowhere. When 12 year old Tamir Rice was shot by a cop who had already shown psychological unfitness for duty in a previous department...and the cop lied about what really happened (what really happened was he hopped out of the car and shot Tamir while screaming at him--no delay, no attempt to talk to him) people were eager to find reasons why Tamir was "out of control" and explain that his bad family caused his bad behavior. What caused the cop's bad behavior? What bad family set him up to shoot a 12 year old and then lie about the circumstances? What bad behavior of his parents caused him to let the kid die rather than call an ambulance? Or take Michael Brown: I knew kids in high school who shoplifted, and charges were never filed...and they certainly weren't stopped by police for jaywalking (about the only place you'd get in very mild trouble for jaywalking was the three or four block length of Main Street downtown) or shot.
Why, for that matter, did the supposed "good cops" at the McKinney situation not intervene when Casebolt, the clearly out of control thug-cop, was yanking that girl around and kneeling on her? Why did they wait until he pulled a gun (though: good on them for stopping him from shooting kids and maybe others. I'm glad they did that, because Casebolt looks so out of control I believe he'd have shot someone just to relieve his own tension.) Why didn't they get that disgusting white guy in the shorts and T-shirt away from the thug-cop and the kids and tell him to go back to his apartment and stay there? He wasn't helping. He was inflaming things and acting as an approving audience for the thug-cop. Why, for that matter, are cops' social media not policed by their departments, with some understanding that a person whose "favorites" list consists of videos in which cops beat up on citizens or are praised for beating up on citizens is a sign of impending trouble--this guy is an angry sicko about to break loose? Casebolt should not be a law officer ever again, anywhere, until he has had psychiatric evaluation and some serious retraining...and yet he's been teaching in their police academy. What has he been teaching in the police academy? Just how to use excessive force on kids who have not committed any crime?
At some point in police recruitment and training, we completely lost track of what police officers should be like...or we allowed media representations of them that were both flattering and exciting, and thus let them think this is what policing was about: kicking in doors, slamming people up against walls and onto the ground, shooting their pets, shooting them, cussing them out, screaming at them, kicking and hitting and hitting. I used to blame the FOX TV program "Cops", which regularly showed cops being violent and then complaining about violent criminals. But I think it's more than that, though that's certainly part of it. There've always been some bad cops. There've always been some crazy cops. But in my childhood the typical cop made an effort to stay calm, not scream and holler at people just like an out-of-control angry husband or hysterical woman. They had some understanding of human psychology--of what produces paralyzing fear, for instance, or pain so intense the person cannot control his/her reactions. Most people when arrested were not thrown on the ground. Being stopped while driving did not mean being screamed at to "get on the ground!!!" SWAT teams didn't show up heavily armed and kick in the door screaming at the people in the house in the middle of the night.
Except with people of color. Nobody who was old enough to see in person or watch on TV the brutality and the obvious out-of-control rage and hatred of the white cops beating up on civil rights marchers will forget it...and there's a deep chasm between those of us who were horrified and disgusted and grief-stricken and those who continued to make excuses for it, and side with the police. We can recognize, in new situations, the same out-of-control rage and hatred. That's not even talking about the KKK and its vile behavior. And it's still horrifying, disgusting, sickening. The way the distorted mouths, lips curled up and out, twisting and snarling, come out with the same obscenities and insults. The bunches up jaw muscles. The tightened muscles around the eyes. The swollen necks and veins. The eagerness to hurt, to kill.
White kids...will be ignored when they're doing small wrongs. If their pool party gets rowdy and loud...if some white kids crash a backyard party...nobody calls the police, or not for a long time. If the police need to talk to them (exceptions in some working class neighborhoods in tough cities) the police talk. They don't grab white girls and slam them to the ground unless the girl attacks them. (That being said, an Austin policeman broke a white female musician's wrist because he was afraid she might kick him in the shins. That's also excessive force.) They talk to the white boys. They don't use force to arrest them first and then ask the questions. If the kid gets upset, they try to calm him or her down. They make allowances for the age of the kid. Because they don't know who the fathers are and whether roughing up the kid will get them sued.
Black kids--Hispanic kids--are expected to hear and understand a screaming white guy instantly, and comply instantly. A deaf black man, who (being deaf) could not hear the policeman yelling from behind him, was shot because he didn't obey instantly. They're expected to "hold still" while being hurt, tased or beaten repeatedly if they can't. (One kid was forced down on top of a fire ant bed, and tased because--with the ants biting him all over his front, he squirmed.) Eric Garner was killed by a cop putting a choke hold on him...the cop either not knowing, or not caring, that compression of the carotid arteries and airway could cause death, and the reason the man didn't "just relax" was that his body was telling him he was about to die--and he was. Anyone will struggle for air. But people of color are supposed to be completely submissive, even when choked. Black kids are supposed to be able to react in a way that no kid can--and no white kid is expected to.
We do still have some good police officers. But we don't have enough, and the bad ones have sullied the reputation of all of them.
And I'm not even able to talk coherently about those smug, smirking blonde girls-with-guns on the Capitol steps bragging about their privilege. Just make a rage sound in the back of my throat.