Grand Rapids, Michigan is considering making it illegal to call the police if it is done with racist intent.
The Grand Rapids city commission is considering whether to add a new ordinance that would make it illegal to call police on “people of color” for merely “participating in their lives,” making it a criminal misdemeanor to call the police against African Americans if it is done by mistake.
Local media reports that the “bias crime reporting prohibition” will criminalize contacting police to report possible crimes committed by African Americans if it is found there is no crime occurring.
Authorities claim it is not to prevent people from contacting police, but merely to encourage citizens to “check their bias” before contacting emergency services.
“Call the police, but if you’re calling because your neighbors are having a barbecue and you’re calling because of some implicit bias because they’re people of color, we don’t want to see that,” said Diversity and Inclusion Manager Patti Caudill.
They say the ordinance may be necessary because police have been called to three different scenes only to learn no crimes were being committed, and they believe the calls to police were made in “discriminatory” fashions to prevent citizens from enjoying their civil rights.
According to MLive, “The proposed ordinance puts a prohibition on any person denying another individual the enjoyment of civil rights, or for any person to discriminate against an individual in the exercise of civil rights because of actual or perceived color, race, religion or creed, sex, gender, identity or expression, sexual orientation, national origin, genotype, age, marital status, medical condition, disability, height, weight, or source of lawful income.”
Local authorities have not commented on how such an ordinance could be enforced, considering when citizens call 911 they likely believe there is an imminent threat. This could result in concerned citizens being considered criminals for merely misjudging a situation.
City of Denver Unanimously Votes to Rename Columbus Park “La Raza Park”
There might come a time when nothing in the US is named after Christopher Columbus.
The Denver City Council unanimously voted to rename Columbus Park last week Monday, and now it will be named “La Raza Park.”
“La raza” is Spanish for “the race,” which has connotations with Latino identity politics. A Denver Post article tells us that the phrase “viva la raza” (long live the race) was the “rallying cry of the Chicano movement in the 1960s and ’70s.” The Chicano Movement encouraged Mexican ethnic and cultural solidarity with a particular emphasis on their indigenous heritage. The movement, however, rejected assimilation and thus the term “Mexican-American,” essentially branding themselves as the Hispanic version of the Black Power movement.
Councilwoman Amanda Sandoval claims that the unanimous vote was an act of officially naming a park that has “always” been unofficially called by its new name. “La raza is a word of unity and about celebrating community,” she said without a hint of irony.
The reason for officially renaming the park is about what you’d expect, namely because Christopher Columbus is irredeemably associated with colonialism and genocide and is thus not fit to be honored in any way, shape, or form.
Arturo Gonzalez, a retired professor, said that “Mexican Chicanos and Indigenous peoples have suffered genocide over the last 500 years. We live with that trauma. We continue to live with that trauma.”
Renaming parks, buildings, and schools that were previously named after so-called “problematic” or “white supremacist” historical figures is nothing new, of course, but the practice has accelerated over the past several months due to the hysteria following the George Floyd riots.
Big League Politics has covered many instances of this phenomenon. One of the most recent instances included a San Francisco school district renaming Abraham Lincoln High School because black lives apparently “didn’t matter” to him:
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