Friday, March 28, 2008

Is There Any Alternative to Civil Disobedience During Traffic Stops?

Black State Legislators Allege Systemic Police Brutality in So. Carolina

Did the Black Panther Party wait until they had established a "pattern or practice" in court before they defended Black people against color-aroused police oppression in the courts? Of course not, because it is in the nature of systematic color-aroused oppression that the institutions of the oppressive society are often unwilling to hear the pleas of the oppressed.

That's why Black people sat in at lunch counters and in segregated buses during Jim Crow: because non-violent civil disobedience was necessary to pressure the institutions of society to recognize and address the problem.

Should Black slaves have waited for a court decree before violently or non-violently obtaining their freedom and escaping to the North?

In fact, resisting the police during the traffic arrest may have been the only way this woman had of publicizing nationally both the systematic persecution of Black drivers and the unnecessary and potentially lethal use of tasers in non-violent situations. We should give this woman an award for bringing TWO civil rights issues to national attention, for having the courage to take action while the rest of us are still obediently stepping off the sidewalk in deference and submission to Mr. Charlie.

Even as we acknowledge that, statistically, police repression of Blacks is systematic and endemic, we still have a disconnect: We still demand that individual Blacks obey the police, unable or unwilling to see these individual cases in the larger context of systematic police repression.

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