Walk Black Live

Readers Respond to ‘The Bill of Rights for Black Men’

Lear Riojas

Dark Streets

Bryonn booked: the author in the Harvard Law library
Bryonn booked: the author in the Harvard Law library

As a young black female, I have witnessed firsthand what can happen to people of color who are in the wrong place at the wrong time. I've seen countless white women clutch their purses tighter, walk faster down a dark street, even scream bloody murder at the mere sight of the person accompanying me.

Daisy James

Harvard Laws?

While I sympathize with Bryonn Bain's predicament, I am fairly sure that there is another side to the story. I am surprised that a professor at Harvard Law would accept and endorse such a piece of victim propaganda.

David González
Silver Spring, Maryland

Sidewalks of New York

I am a white woman, and every day while commuting I see very sad situations involving black men and the NYPD—just last week a young boy being roughed up face-down outside of Macy's. The cops were using horrible language, making a huge scene. Thank you for having the courage to print the Bryonn Bain article. Please continue to attempt to enlighten your readers to what truly goes on in New York.

Carolyn McCarthy
Morristown, New Jersey

Out of Control

Bryonn Bain's angry, yet controlled, cover story about his ordeal with the NYPD relates what is undoubtedly just one of many such incidents—mostly undocumented—that occur regularly. The white community has Giuliani to thank for the safety of the city in general, but how safe are we going to remain if white citizens do not feel outrage at the treatment of nonwhite citizens by the police?

Rob Donner

Generation X

This was a great and necessary article—some might say too extremist, but it takes extremism to make change. I am an Asian woman who thinks it must be hard being a black man in America. Hopefully, by the time the next generation grows up, people will be more sensitized to the issues that ethnic minorities deal with, and convictions like these will be mainstream. Now, if you could also publish an article about how many Asian American women despise their continued sexualization and fetishization (the Dragon Lady myths) in American media and culture, I'd be an even bigger fan of The Village Voice.

Jane Liu

Body English

I am a Wall Street attorney who happens to be black. Though I have never experienced the level of harassment that Mr. Bain endured, I have been profiled, watched, and followed by police officers for merely walking down the street. I was very pleased that Mr. Bain published the name and badge number of the harassing officer. It is time that we take a greater stand for our rights. In the present situation, I fear for my life more from cops than from the element they are supposedly protecting me against.

R. Brent English

Profiles in Prejudice

The sad truth is that I was not at all surprised by Mr. Bain's story. I've heard and read countless stories of brothers being stopped and humiliated and arrested simply because of the color of their skin—which translates to "they fit the description." The mayor would have us believe that the type of behavior exhibited by these goons in blue is vital to the safety of the people of the city. Not until this kind of behavior becomes unacceptable—by all people—will our innocent African American men be treated with respect, instead of fear and hatred.

Michelle Hilliard
Jersey City, New Jersey

Color Coding

As an African American male, I can agree with the amendments presented by Bryonn Bain. It takes little to nothing to end up in jail attempting to prove you are not guilty if you are on the other end of a white person's accusation. This system requires people of color to walk the streets passively, hoping nobody accuses them of anything. When was the last time you heard about young white males complaining about this type of treatment?

Howard Allen


Bryonn Bain assumes that his treatment was caused by the fact that he is black. I am a white lawyer in a white community, and I can tell you that white youth are treated the same way by white cops who suspect them of committing a crime. The problem is less often racism and more often rampant abuse of authority by the police. We need to make sure that people who go into police work are not doing so because of an authoritarian complex.

James H. Manahan
Cleveland, Minnesota

Madison Avenue

Bryonn Bain went to Columbia and Harvard! How dare those evil white police officers arrest him. He was involved in an unfortunate situation, but one which could happen to anyone.

Christopher Tennant
Madison, Wisconsin

Sisters Under the Skin

I come from a family of three sisters, and I can relate to what Bryonn Bain is saying. My oldest sister is working on her Ph.D., my middle sister graduated from Columbia Law School, and I am currently working on my master's degree. Would New York City police look at the three of us walking down the street and see three black girls who are teenage mothers and high school dropouts? Probably so.

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