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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​An Open Letter To The People Who Don’t Tip Their Servers

This one's for you.
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Dear Person Who Has No Idea How Much The 0 In The “Tip:" Line Matters,

I want to by asking you a simple question: Why?

Is it because you can't afford it? Is it because you are blind to the fact that the tip you leave is how the waiter/waitress serving you is making their living? Is it because you're just lazy and you “don't feel like it"?

Is it because you think that, while taking care of not only your table but at least three to five others, they took too long bringing you that side of ranch dressing? Or is it just because you're unaware that as a server these people make $2.85 an hour plus TIPS?

The average waiter/waitress is only supposed to be paid $2.13 an hour plus tips according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

That then leaves the waiter/waitress with a paycheck with the numbers **$0.00** and the words “Not a real paycheck." stamped on it. Therefore these men and women completely rely on the tips they make during the week to pay their bills.

So, with that being said, I have a few words for those of you who are ignorant enough to leave without leaving a few dollars in the “tip:" line.

Imagine if you go to work, the night starts off slow, then almost like a bomb went off the entire workplace is chaotic and you can't seem to find a minute to stop and breathe, let alone think about what to do next.

Imagine that you are helping a total of six different groups of people at one time, with each group containing two to 10 people.

Imagine that you are working your ass off to make sure that these customers have the best experience possible. Then you cash them out, you hand them a pen and a receipt, say “Thank you so much! It was a pleasure serving you, have a great day!"

Imagine you walk away to attempt to start one of the 17 other things you need to complete, watch as the group you just thanked leaves, and maybe even wave goodbye.

Imagine you are cleaning up the mess that they have so kindly left behind, you look down at the receipt and realize there's a sad face on the tip line of a $24.83 bill.

Imagine how devastated you feel knowing that you helped these people as much as you could just to have them throw water on the fire you need to complete the night.

Now, realize that whenever you decide not to tip your waitress, this is nine out of 10 times what they go through. I cannot stress enough how important it is for people to realize that this is someone's profession — whether they are a college student, a single mother working their second job of the day, a new dad who needs to pay off the loan he needed to take out to get a safer car for his child, your friend, your mom, your dad, your sister, your brother, you.

If you cannot afford to tip, do not come out to eat. If you cannot afford the three alcoholic drinks you gulped down, plus your food and a tip do not come out to eat.

If you cannot afford the $10 wings that become half-off on Tuesdays plus that water you asked for, do not come out to eat.

If you cannot see that the person in front of you is working their best to accommodate you, while trying to do the same for the other five tables around you, do not come out to eat. If you cannot realize that the man or woman in front of you is a real person, with their own personal lives and problems and that maybe these problems have led them to be the reason they are standing in front of you, then do not come out to eat.

As a server myself, it kills me to see the people around me being deprived of the money that they were supposed to earn. It kills me to see the three dollars you left on a $40 bill. It kills me that you cannot stand to put yourself in our shoes — as if you're better than us. I wonder if you realize that you single-handedly ruined part of our nights.

I wonder if maybe one day you will be in our shoes, and I hope to God no one treats you how you have treated us. But if they do, then maybe you'll realize how we felt when you left no tip after we gave you our time.

Cover Image Credit: Hailea Shallock

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Sociolinguistics Series: Part 50

Language is a powerful tool.

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It's part 50--halfway to 100! I'm so glad to still be here writing! In this section, we will talk about Dr. Shikaki's findings on how Palestinians view the state of Israel.

25 years ago, 85% of Palestinians supported a two-state solution. 10 years ago, this number decreased to 70%. Dr. Shikaki believes this was due to an increase in the prominence of Islamism in Palestinian society during the second intifada; Islamists were opposed to the two-state solution. In the most recent survey, the December 2018 one, only 43% of Palestinians supported the two state solution.

In 2000, American President Bill Clinton met with Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak and PA Chairman Yasser Arafat at the Camp David Summit to come up with a solution to the conflict. It ended without an agreement, but in December of 2000, Clinton once again proposed a resolution: the Clinton Parameters.

The content of the Parameters basically allowed Israel to annex settlements while Palestine to take 94-96% of the West Bank, as well as Arab neighborhoods in East Jerusalem. There were other guidelines regarding territory, refugees, security, and the end of the conflict. Essentially, the West Bank would have been split up by Israeli roads and settlements--which is kind of the reality today.

Both the Israeli government and Arafat accepted the terms with reservations, and Arafat wrote to Clinton a letter asking for clarifications on the terms. Clinton and Dennis Ross, an envoy of the Parameters, publicized that Arafat had refused to accept the terms; they painted Palestinians in a negative light, saying that Israel wanted to accept the peace negotiations but Palestine did not.

American Lawyer Robert Malley was at the Camp David Summit and oversaw parts of the Clinton Parameters. In 2001, he said that three myths had come out of the failure of both negotiations, and that these three myths were dangerous to any future peace processes if people kept believing in them.

These myths are as follows: "Camp David was an ideal test of Mr. Arafat's intentions," "Israel's offer met most if not all of the Palestinians' legitimate aspirations," and "The Palestinians made no concession of their own."

He said that these three statements were not true but very heavily publicized by America and Israel after the negotiations failed; rather, there is more nuance to each of these issues, and America and Israel have just as much responsibility in the failure of the Summit and Parameters as Palestine did. Malley wrote, "If peace is to be achieved, the parties cannot afford to tolerate the growing acceptance of these myths as reality."

Anyway, what does this have to do with Dr. Shikaki? He polled Palestinians not only on the their attitudes to the two-state solution, but the Clinton Parameters as well. 25 years ago, there was 60% support for the Clinton Parameters by Palestinians, but the June 2018 poll showed that the number had gone down to 37%.

The last ten years shows a significant decrease in public support for both the two-state solution and the Clinton Parameters, and it could be a result of disagreeing with specific parts of the proposals (such as how the Temple Mount/Dome of the Rock or Jerusalem is delegated).

I did some further digging when I got home, and I found this data from the UN Division for Palestinian Rights website:

"A 25 December [2000] published poll found that 48% of the 501 Israelis questioned were opposed to the proposals; 57% would object to Palestinian control of the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound; 72% were against even a limited return of Palestinian refugees to Israel. A 29 December published poll found that 56% of the Israelis would oppose a peace agreement reached on the basis of the Parameters."

This shows that though public media--especially Western media--may have painted the Palestinian government as the villain (and Israel and America as the "victims"), the proposals accepted by either government had varied support among its people.

The Israeli civilian population did not want to accept the Clinton Parameters because of the way certain things would be resolved; their reservations lie with the Temple Mount/Al-Aqsa Mosque because the Temple Mount, which is the holiest site in the world for Jews, would have been given to Palestine, while Jews would have control of the Western Wall of the Temple Mount (which is the status quo).

In addition, there was a section in the Clinton Parameters that dealt with the right of return for Palestinians, where there would be a certain number of Palestinian refugees who settled in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, while other Palestinians either would become citizens of their host countries, move to a third-party country, or settle back into the land that is Israel Proper (with permission from the Israeli government, of course); many Israelis did not support this.

That was the public opinion years ago. Today, there is even less support for these proposals. Dr. Shikaki outlined three issues as reasons for a decrease in support of compromise, which we will cover in the next section. Stay tuned!

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