“I wanted to be a defense lawyer because I wanted to come back and protect my community. I wanted to protect my people from the police. People around here grow up hating the police. But you know what they’ve done? The police have recruited our people. They’ve made it more complicated. They’ve got Dominicans and Puerto Ricans doing their work for them. Because they know it’s hard to hate your people. But as soon as that badge goes on, it changes you. Once that badge goes on, your people are the ‘boys in blue.’”
Understanding that institutionalized racism has less to do with the color of the perpetrator at the individual level than the overall racist structures, procedures, and beliefs of the institution itself is a lesson too many people ignore (or choose to ignore) to deny racism as the foundation for policies like stop & frisk. Just because the cop performing the frisk is brown does not take racism out of the equation since the powers that be have made prejudice — even prejudice against those who look like you — a central premise in being able to do your job “successfully” in the eyes of the NYPD.