Police Should Not Be In Pride Parades

Police Should Not Be In Pride Parades

Pride should not accept police brutality.
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In 1969, the NYPD raided the Stonewall Inn. Raids on gay bars were not uncommon at the time, but what made the raid on Stonewall unique was that the patrons of the bar fought back. The resulting riot, led by trans people of color, challenged police oppression of the queer community and is widely credited as the event that sparked the modern queer liberation struggle.

Now, 47 years later, the story has changed. Instead of resisting the police, the mainstream LGBTQ movement embraces them. At New York’s annual Pride Parade, the NYPD was given the opportunity to march in uniform and was even cheered on by a crowd of mostly white queer people. And New York is not alone. All across the U.S. and Canada, police departments are given the opportunity to march in uniform, in Pride parades.

Several organizations advocating for queer people of color have protested this arrangement. Most recently, the Toronto chapter of Black Lives Matter managed to interrupt Toronto’s Pride parade. They demanded that police floats be removed from Pride. Pride organizers initially agreed to their terms, but then backed down.

This has triggered a lot of reactionary racism amongst white queer people. What a lot of us white queer people simply don't get is that our whiteness shields us from many of the realities of police brutality. The response I heard from a lot of white queers was, "The police protect us so we shouldn't alienate them." What we don't get is that while the police may protect us, people of color are not given the same treatment.

Not all cops are bad, but the police as an institution are extremely oppressive. This has been the case since the creation of police as we know them today. Before the mid-19th century, communities generally organized their own police forces. This changed when the rising upper class needed a way to keep "social order" so that the capitalist system would be maintained. Thus, a centralized, bureaucratic police force was founded. This new police force was primarily used to crush strikes and other labor-related uprisings.

Police oppression has also always specifically targeted people of color -- black people especially. In the South, the first modern police force was the "slave patrol." The slave patrols had three primary responsibilities: to catch escaped slaves, to terrorize slaves to deter slave revolts and to punish any slave who did escape. As the 19th century went on, the slave patrols did not go away, even after the Civil War. In fact, many slave patrols went on to form the organizational structure of most Southern police forces.

And, of course, police oppression of black bodies continues to this day. We constantly see people like Michael Brown, Tamir Rice, Freddie Gray, Sandra Bland, Laquan McDonald, Alton Sterling, Philando Castile and so many others who are murdered for the simple crime of being black in the U.S. Last year, a study by the Washington Post found that even though black men only make up 6 percent of the population, they account for 40 percent of the unarmed victims of police shootings. The Toronto P.D. specifically has a long and disturbing history of racism.

Queer people of color are especially likely to be victims of police violence. Trans women of color, black trans women in particular, have the highest chance of being targeted. A recent study found that trans women of color were seven times more likely than the general population to experience physical violence from the police. Another study found that 41 percent of black trans women and 25 percent of Latino/a/x trans women were arrested due to police profiling.

Thus, allowing police to march in Pride as they continue to brutalize queer people of color is in extremely bad taste. When we decide to allow police at Pride, we are accepting and even endorsing police oppression.

Plus, allowing police to march in Pride compromises the safety of queer people of color who may want to participate in Pride. Fifty percent of queer people of color have reported feeling unsafe interacting with police officers, due to police oppression. Allowing police to march in Pride shows a very clear lack of respect for those concerns.

Some people have argued that stopping police from marching would be analogous to discrimination. This is problematic for two reasons. First, the police are not an oppressed group. Second, if a queer officer wants to got to Pride, I am not saying they shouldn't be able to. I'm just saying they should leave their uniform and badge at home.

I have also heard the argument that excluding police from Pride would cause a wedge between police and queer people, which would make police brutality worse. But there seems to be no evidence to support this claim. Police have been marching in Pride for several years and yet, continue to oppress queer people of color. The only thing allowing police to march in Pride does is it allows police departments to maintain the illusion of how progressive they are.

Finally, I've heard the argument that not all cops are bad so we shouldn't vilify them. But I think this argument misses the point. Sure, individual cops can be well intentioned and may truly want to help people. But, as an institution, police are extremely oppressive because that is simply what they were designed to be. You don't need to say that every individual cop is a monster to say that the institution of police is oppressive. And again, individual cops can come and show their support at Pride, they should just leave their uniform at home.

By accepting police at Pride, we tacitly reinforce police oppression. We further alienate queer people of color and ensure that queer liberation only works for white queers. If we really want an inclusive movement that works for all queer people, police simply need to go.

Cover Image Credit: Boing Boing

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Your Wait time At Theme Parks Is Not Unfair, You're Just Impatient

Your perceived wait time is always going to be longer than your actual wait time if you can't take a minute to focus on something other than yourself.

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Toy Story Land at Disney's Hollywood Studios "unboxed" on June 30, 2018. My friend and I decided to brave the crowds on opening day. We got to the park around 7 AM only to find out that the park opened around 6 AM. Upon some more scrolling through multiple Disney Annual Passholder Facebook groups, we discovered that people were waiting outside the park as early as 1 AM.

We knew we'd be waiting in line for the bulk of the Toy Story Land unboxing day. There were four main lines in the new land: the line to enter the land; the line for Slinky Dog Dash, the new roller coaster; the line for Alien Spinning Saucers, the easier of the new rides in the land; Toy Story Mania, the (now old news) arcade-type ride; and the new quick-service restaurant, Woody's Lunchbox (complete with grilled cheese and "grown-up drinks").

Because we were so early, we did not have to wait in line to get into the land. We decided to ride Alien Spinning Saucers first. The posted wait time was 150 minutes, but my friend timed the line and we only waited for 50 minutes. Next, we tried to find the line for Slinky Dog Dash. After receiving conflicting answers, the runaround, and even an, "I don't know, good luck," from multiple Cast Members, we exited the land to find the beginning of the Slinky line. We were then told that there was only one line to enter the park that eventually broke off into the Slinky line. We were not about to wait to get back into the area we just left, so we got a Fastpass for Toy Story Mania that we didn't plan on using in order to be let into the land sooner. We still had to wait for our time, so we decided to get the exclusive Little Green Man alien popcorn bin—this took an entire hour. We then used our Fastpass to enter the land, found the Slinky line, and proceeded to wait for two and a half hours only for the ride to shut down due to rain. But we've come this far and rain was not about to stop us. We waited an hour, still in line and under a covered area, for the rain to stop. Then, we waited another hour and a half to get on the ride from there once it reopened (mainly because they prioritized people who missed their Fastpass time due to the rain). After that, we used the mobile order feature on the My Disney Experience app to skip part of the line at Woody's Lunchbox.

Did you know that there is actually a psychological science to waiting? In the hospitality industry, this science is the difference between "perceived wait" and "actual wait." A perceived wait is how long you feel like you are waiting, while the actual wait is, of course, the real and factual time you wait. There are eight things that affect the perceived wait time: unoccupied time feels longer than occupied time, pre-process waits feel longer than in-process waits, anxiety makes waits feel longer, uncertain waits are longer than certain waits, unexplained waits are longer than explained waits, unfair waits are longer than equitable waits, people will wait longer for more valuable service and solo waiting feels longer than group waiting.

Our perceived wait time for Alien Spinning Saucers was short because we expected it to be longer. Our wait for the popcorn seemed longer because it was unoccupied and unexplained. Our wait for the rain to stop so the ride could reopen seemed shorter because it was explained. Our wait between the ride reopening and getting on the coaster seemed longer because it felt unfair for Disney to let so many Fastpass holders through while more people waited through the rain. Our entire wait for Slinky Dog Dash seemed longer because we were not told the wait time in the beginning. Our wait for our food after placing a mobile order seemed shorter because it was an in-process wait. We also didn't mind wait long wait times for any of these experiences because they were new and we placed more value on them than other rides or restaurants at Disney. The people who arrived at 1 AM just added five hours to their perceived wait

Some non-theme park examples of this science of waiting in the hospitality industry would be waiting at a restaurant, movie theater, hotel, performance or even grocery store. When I went to see "Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom," the power went out in the theater right as we arrived. Not only did we have to wait for it to come back and for them to reset the projectors, I had to wait in a bit of anxiety because the power outage spooked me. It was only a 30-minute wait but felt so much longer. At the quick-service restaurant where I work, we track the time from when the guest places their order to the time they receive their food. Guests in the drive-thru will complain about 10 or more minute waits, when our screens tell us they have only been waiting four or five minutes. Their actual wait was the four or five minutes that we track because this is when they first request our service, but their perceived wait begins the moment they pull into the parking lot and join the line because this is when they begin interacting with our business. While in line, they are experiencing pre-process wait times; after placing the order, they experience in-process wait times.

Establishments in the hospitality industry do what they can to cut down on guests' wait times. For example, theme parks offer services like Disney's Fastpass or Universal's Express pass in order to cut down the time waiting in lines so guests have more time to buy food and merchandise. Stores like Target or Wal-Mart offer self-checkout to give guests that in-process wait time. Movie theaters allow you to check in and get tickets on a mobile app and some quick-service restaurants let you place mobile or online orders. So why do people still get so bent out of shape about being forced to wait?

On Toy Story Land unboxing day, I witnessed a woman make a small scene about being forced to wait to exit the new land. Cast Members were regulating the flow of traffic in and out of the land due to the large crowd and the line that was in place to enter the land. Those exiting the land needed to wait while those entering moved forward from the line. Looking from the outside of the situation as I was, this all makes sense. However, the woman I saw may have felt that her wait was unfair or unexplained. She switched between her hands on her hips and her arms crossed, communicated with her body language that she was not happy. Her face was in a nasty scowl at those entering the land and the Cast Members in the area. She kept shaking her head at those in her group and when allowed to proceed out of the land, I could tell she was making snide comments about the wait.

At work, we sometimes run a double drive-thru in which team members with iPads will take orders outside and a sequencer will direct cars so that they stay in the correct order moving toward the window. In my experience as the sequencer, I will inform the drivers which car to follow, they will acknowledge me and then still proceed to dart in front of other cars just so they make it to the window maybe a whole minute sooner. Not only is this rude, but it puts this car and the cars around them at risk of receiving the wrong food because they are now out of order. We catch these instances more often than not, but it still adds stress and makes the other guests upset. Perhaps these guests feel like their wait is also unfair or unexplained, but if they look at the situation from the outside or from the restaurant's perspective, they would understand why they need to follow the blue Toyota.

The truth of the matter is that your perceived wait time is always going to be longer than your actual wait time if you can't take a minute to focus on something other than yourself. We all want instant gratification, I get it. But in reality, we have to wait for some things. It takes time to prepare a meal. It takes time to experience a ride at a theme park that everyone else wants to go on. It takes time to ring up groceries. It takes patience to live in this world.

So next time you find yourself waiting, take a minute to remember the difference between perceived and actual wait times. Think about the eight aspects of waiting that affect your perceived wait. Do what you can to realize why you are waiting or keep yourself occupied in this wait. Don't be impatient. That's no way to live your life.

Cover Image Credit:

Aranxa Esteve

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With Liberty And Justice For All

Does granting justice to others mean we have to sacrifice our liberty?
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Like most public elementary school kids, I grew up saying the Pledge of Allegiance before the start of class every day. But to be honest, I always dreaded it. It was something extra we had to do. A box we had to check.

No one understood the true meaning of the words. As an eight-year-old, no one taught me what justice or liberty were. It wasn't until years later that I finally understood the true meaning of the words I said in a classroom so long ago.

I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America…

To what are we pledging our allegiance, our loyalty to? The United States of America, sure. But what does that entail? Not many know. Does it mean to vote? Does it mean to fight in the military? Everyone has a different answer to that question. For me, the answer is to fight for the rights of migrants and other immigrants.

And to the republic for which it stands…

What exactly is our nation standing for? What are its values? Its beliefs? Does it involve treating those less fortunate than us with compassion? Or is it everybody for themselves?

One nation under God, indivisible…

Indivisible. United. Are we united? As a country are we united? On April 30, 2018, President Trump tweeted in response to a group of 1,200 migrants that traveled from Central America to seek a better life for their children. Only 200 of them, most of them children, desire asylum in the United States.

Asylum is a legal immigration process where those that have been victimized or fear being victimized in their home countries “based on their race, religion, nationality, political belief or membership in a particular group" can apply for a special type of visa to live in the United States.

According to his tweet, President Trump viewed the migrants as a prime example of how ineffective U.S. immigration laws are. On April 30, 2018, eight of the migrants were allowed to apply for asylum. This does not mean they will be granted citizenship. It simply means they are starting the process to legally enter U.S. borders.

With liberty and justice for all…

Many of the migrants want a better life for their kids. Many of them are fleeing their countries due to poverty and threats of violence from gang members. As a child, I never had to worry about sleeping on a cold, cement floor because my parents didn't make enough money. As a child, I never had to worry about my parents being threatened in the dead of night by a gang member, demanding something in exchange for my life. One thing is certain for these migrants: there is no going back.

Everyone deserves justice. It's easy to judge the situation from so many miles away. But I am not in their shoes. And neither are so many others. It's easy to dismiss what you can't see.

But what can I do? I have my own family, my own life to worry about. I have bills to pay just like everybody else. But what would you do if it was your kid? Your mother or father? Your friend who was treated without compassion when they entered another country?

Everyone deserves liberty. Does granting justice to others mean we have to sacrifice our liberty? Not necessarily. Not if we act. As corny as it sounds, not doing something is the worst thing to do. Vote. Write. Protest. Let your voice be heard. And one day, change may happen.

Cover Image Credit: Everypixel

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