By Alex Distefano
By Scott Snowden
By Anna Merlan
By Steve Almond
By Jena Ardell
By Jon Campbell
By Alan Scherstuhl
By Tessa Stuart
Letter of the Week
Doug Strott of Indianapolis may be "a libertarian by party" in the sense that he is identified as such on the voter rolls, but he is assuredly no libertarian [Letters, August 39]. Real libertarians poke a finger in the eye of the oppressor; they do not lick his jackboot.
All New Yorkers need to decide right now whether we are sheep or whether we are free men and women. We can start by refusing to consent to these unconstitutional searches, which are more fitting for a police state than a country that is allegedly trying to "defend freedom." Not only are the bag searches a gross infringement of our Fourth Amendment rights, but they will not make the slightest difference in stopping terrorist attacks. All they accomplish is to make stupid people feel safer, which is hardly the proper function of the police.
Re Aina Hunter's "Keep Moving, Son" [August 39]: One of the original writers for the Voice once said to me, "I never claim to be objective, but I always try to be fair." That principle seems to have gone missing here. While Robert Cornegy's father was and remains a solid voice of both anger and common sense, I believe the remainder of the article to be seriously uninformative and deficient. For instance, no suggestion is offered as to what the police should have done differently in the immediate aftermath of a very ugly melee in which two local residents were also stabbed and/or slashed.
As a resident of Carroll Gardens whose child attended Brooklyn New School (the sister school of Brooklyn Collaborative Studies), I find it rather curious that, as far as I can tell, no effort was made to contact people like the African American woman who was the past parent coordinator of Brooklyn Collaborative Studies and the current chair of the school's parent association; Buddy Scotto, a widely respected local activist; or me (a member of the local community education council). All of us have far more nuanced takes on what has happened than the sources quoted. But then, reporting those perspectives would have undermined the impression that the Carroll Gardens community is filled with racist yahoos out of On the Waterfront.
I wrote my essay to get into law school four years ago about the differential police, and subsequent judicial, treatment young teens of color receive in South Brooklyn compared to their white counterparts. This hypocrisy led me to quit working for the New York court system in a position that asked me to reinforce these stereotypes and actions by the police. In South Brooklyn, "boys will be boys" unless they are black or Latino, in which case adolescent behavior is potentially criminal and needs to be addressed by the juvenile (in)justice system.
When I lived in Carroll Gardens, Carroll Park was the place where young white kids smoked weed, hung out in packs, and often tried intimidating passersby. In Red Hook, kids get picked up for trespassing simply for hanging out in front of a public housing building without ID.
Sadly, this is not some isolated phenomenon, limited to an old-school Italian neighborhood in Brooklyn. Rather, this is the American way, where we have racialized crime and continue to perpetrate this great lie that crime is a black thing. So, while I am thrilled to see the Voice publicize the criminalization of young Latino and black teens in Carroll Gardens, I am saddened by the thought that the police continue to operate the same old way.
Aina Hunter's "Keep Moving, Son" is a completely biased portrait of a neighborhood in which juvenile delinquents are supposedly being victimized by antagonistic policemen. I am a young Afro-Hispanic resident of Carroll Gardens and have been for over a year now. I have never once been harassed by local law enforcement officials. However, I have twice been subjected to verbal abuse by the hooligans who attend school and loiter several hours after dismissal. Carroll Gardens is a very diverse neighborhood, and it's completely unfair for the author to suggest otherwise: "the part-hipster, part-yuppie, part-old-school-Italian Carroll Gardens neighborhood in Brooklyn." To suggest that racial prejudice plays a part in these actions is borderline propaganda. I'm outraged that there has been no mention of the opinion held by residents here, nor any of the local business owners. I surmise the reason being this would be detrimental to the contrived image of police harassment.Try getting the whole story next time.
Aina Hunter replies:
I'm afraid Trinidad misread the article. The situation has less to do with "juvenile delinquents" and racial prejudice than with a specific fight involving two groups of young peopleone group that lives in Carroll Gardens and one group that does notand a police solution that resulted in making the black and Hispanic kids feel unwelcome. It was not an indictment of Trinidad's neighborhood.
Lioness in summer
Re "Texas Hillary" by Kristen Lombardi [August 39]: Through each of the worst assaults by the Bush administration on rights, civilian bodies, and simple decency, Senator Clinton has generally been on board. She was there for Bush on the resolution to use force against Iraq and insists she has no regrets; she endorsed the Patriot Act's shredding of basic civil liberites. Like John Kerry, she has been helpfully silent on the issue of torture, occupying herself instead with the critical business of hidden porn in video games. She shares the president's enthusiasm for so-called "free trade" and endorses the substance, if not the style, of his opposition to gay marriage. Rumor has it she is prepared to vote in favor of Bush's nominee to the Supreme Court, John Roberts.