Fatherly Advice on Stop and Frisk

The son of a retired cop compares his dad's take on the police tactic with his own perspective.

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As Father's Day approaches, warnings passed from father to son -- particularly among blacks and Latinos -- may also have special significance. (The timing of a silent march against stop and frisk this coming Sunday capitalizes on that significance.) Until stop and frisk is dialed back, talking to cops during an investigation with a bit of diplomacy could mean the difference between surviving and not. However, the psychic burden of blackness (or Latino-ness) -- constantly negotiating someone else's preconceived notions about you -- is a load too heavy for many to bear.

What my dad's advice doesn't take into account, though, is the police's responsibility. It's imperative that they treat all residents with equal amounts of dignity and civility. Bloomberg has said as much, when he contended that stop and frisk should only be "amended, not ended." My dad and the mayor both know that a lot of effort and education has to go toward changing officers' long-ingrained opinions about what a criminal looks like. Whether that shift in attitudes happens anytime soon is anybody's guess.

Brett Johnson is an associate editor at The Root. Follow him on Twitter.

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