Police Assault of James Blake: What Do They Call a Black Man Who Attended Harvard?

September 14, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us


Malcolm X once asked, “What do you call a Black man with a PhD?” He answered with bitter irony, “a nigger.”

That reality hasn’t changed in America more than 50 years later. On September 9, James Blake was standing in front of a Manhattan hotel, minding his own business, not doing anything unlawful, when he was suddenly attacked by cops who slammed him to the ground and cuffed him—without any explanation at all. This happens 24/7 all across the U.S. to people with black and brown skin. Often, it ends up in the victims being seriously injured and/or jailed on false charges, even murdered at the hands of the cops. If they’re lucky, they “only” end up bruised and mentally traumatized, while the incidents get swept under the rug by the authorities.

But this time, the victim, James Blake, is a well-known former top tennis pro who attended Harvard, was waiting to be taken to an appearance for a corporate sponsor at the U.S. Open tennis tournament. The police claim that they mistook Blake for a suspect in a credit card fraud ring. Blake is speaking out courageously and he has access to the media—so this incident of police terror has become a big deal. NYPD Commissioner William Bratton was forced to issue a public apology to Blake but also said, “I don’t believe there was a race factor at all.” Seriously, can anyone imagine the pigs doing the same thing to John McEnroe?!

Because of Blake’s speaking out, it’s come to light that the white cop who assaulted him, James Frascatore, has a whole history of repeated violence and racist insults against Black and Latino people—a history which obviously had up to this point been covered over by the police authorities. Blake is righteously demanding that not only Frascatore be fired but that the NYPD issue apologies to all the victims who filed complaints against this cop and were ignored.

The assault on Blake has put a big spotlight on the reality that the dogs are still in the streets. If you’re Black or Latino in Amerikkka, in the eyes of the police you’ve got a target on your back that says “criminal” and at any time you’re liable to being subjected to harassment and brutalization, even killed outright. The time is now—everyone has to take a stand, choose a side: Are you on the side of bringing down police terror on people, and letting those cops walk free…or are you on the side of those who say NO to this intolerable situation and are acting to STOP it?

What do they call a well-dressed Harvard-educated Black man with a pass to the U.S. Open?






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