Melissa Harris-Perry had a segment discussing protestors holding a demonstration outside of Ferguson PD after the August 9th slaying of unarmed teen Mike Brown earlier this week and she made this bold statement: “I feel much more terror every time I see blue lights than when I think about Ebola or ISIS. It feels to me…please God don’t make me have to interact here. These videos feel like there’s nothing that makes you safe.”
Many outlets are reporting that Harris-Perry is ridiculous for this statement. It doesn’t hurt that she’s been known to be off-the-wall through her statements and her actions, like that time she made fun of Mitt Romney’s adopted Black grandchild or that time she put tampon earrings on to protest the Texas abortion bill.
While I will agree that Harris-Perry’s statement about Ebola and ISIS being less scary than police is an exaggeration, it’s rooted in truth on one side. We all know that the beaheadings of ISIS are gruesome and indeed frightening, but how often does Harrris-Perry have to deal with that in her daily life? How much do you have to deal with the threat of being beheaded? She’s speaking her truth.
Police all over the U.S. are starting to become symbols of fear for people of color. From this pregnant woman who was thrown down on her belly to Mike Brown’s killing to Lisa Mahone and Jamal Jones’ “routine” stop that left and one of their car windows shattered and Jones tasered to Oscar Grant’s brutal murder on the BART subway platform for everyone within earshot to see/record, Black people don’t feel safe anymore. Protect and serve has become a laughable (mostly nervous laughter) mantra. I understand where Harris-Perry is coming from, even if it is exaggerated.
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