Youth Speak Out
Brooklyn Students Express Their Thoughts on Stop and Frisk
After hearing a presentation from Bob Gangi, Director of the Police Reform Organizing Project, Ms. Samara Martinez’s College Now Class (through Brooklyn College) at Sunset Park High School in Brooklyn was given the assignment to express their sentiments on stop and frisk in a visual or written form. The project was done in collaboration with CUNY College Now and the Center for Urban Pedagogy (CUP).
One might chuckle at the playfully-modified package of “Stop and Friskies” except for the ominous tagline, “If your (sic) the darkest one of the litter good luck.” The warning is a sad lesson young black and brown youth of New York City are too aware of once they venture beyond their doorstep and head to school, church, or a job in their neighborhood.
The City Hall led rhetorical defense of the practice has highlighted that the vast majority of crimes are committed by black and brown young males, justifying the tactic of stop and frisk. The students see through this argument. An astute student writes: “blacks and Hispanics were most (sic) likely to be frisked than Whites (sic), but less likely to be found with weapons.”
How do affected communities feel about the routine of NYPD stop and frisks? One writes, “it is hard to be non-resistant to someone that is picking out people that ‘look like you.’” Sacrificed in the rush to purportedly secure the streets are: “people’s personal space and respect for the police.”
A student wrote, “I couldn’t help but see that the reason cops stop and frisk are to get their quotas up or met.” The problem is not the beat cop, a sympathetic figure particularly in one student’s essay, but the policy that pressures the beat cop to unnecessarily harass black and brown youth.