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Blue Lines, Shaded in Black and Brown: The Diallo Shooting, Race and Politics
Unformatted Document Text:  10 compelling in the consciousness of a diverse electorate. Stuart Hanlon had attributed Giuliani’s election to the “liberal vote,” friends of his who opted for a sense of safety over their political principles. But Stuart himself then reflected on the contradictions involved: You know, trusting cops is not so bad. I mean, I have two children, and when you’re raising children and there’s trouble, you call the police. That’s what you do: if you have trouble you go to the cops. If I have trouble at home, I’m going to call a cop. The same cops I may try to tear apart in court, when I’m in trouble, I go to them. So this whole black and white view that cops are bad is not fair, because you have to remember they’re not all bad. We all go to them in times of trouble. It’s a very complicated issue. They’re just mediocre people, but they have the power of a badge and a gun, and we expect them to be close to perfect. We’re hiring them to represent a society that’s not perfect, and they’re being trained by people who are not perfect, and we’re not going to get close to perfect people in the job. And yet we’re outraged when they do something terrible. Community protection? Nor are white citizens the only ones to invoke police presence. Communities of color, too, ask for protection, but with critically different consequences. Too often the latter live to regret their insistence. Cora Barnett-Simmons is an ex-probation officer and at the time I interviewed her a social worker dedicated to working on domestic violence in the Bronx. She described the dilemma of women of color who need protection from violent men folk but fear violence from the police as well. She told a string of stories about domestic violence calls that ended in the death of the man involved. “He was beating her up. But she didn’t want him to get killed,” Cora said in a shaky voice. “You know, they came in there, they used excessive force…. I

Authors: Roy, Beth.
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compelling in the consciousness of a diverse electorate. Stuart Hanlon had 
attributed Giuliani’s election to the “liberal vote,” friends of his who opted for 
a sense of safety over their political principles. But Stuart himself then 
reflected on the contradictions involved:
You know, trusting cops is not so bad. I mean, I have two children, 
and when you’re raising children and there’s trouble, you call the 
police. That’s what you do: if you have trouble you go to the cops. If 
I have trouble at home, I’m going to call a cop. The same cops I may 
try to tear apart in court, when I’m in trouble, I go to them. 
So this whole black and white view that cops are bad is not fair, 
because you have to remember they’re not all bad. We all go to 
them in times of trouble. It’s a very complicated issue. They’re just 
mediocre people, but they have the power of a badge and a gun, 
and we expect them to be close to perfect. We’re hiring them to 
represent a society that’s not perfect, and they’re being trained by 
people who are not perfect, and we’re not going to get close to 
perfect people in the job. And yet we’re outraged when they do 
something terrible. 
Community protection?
Nor are white citizens the only ones to invoke police presence. 
Communities of color, too, ask for protection, but with critically different 
consequences. Too often the latter live to regret their insistence. Cora 
Barnett-Simmons is an ex-probation officer and at the time I interviewed her 
a social worker dedicated to working on domestic violence in the Bronx. She 
described the dilemma of women of color who need protection from violent 
men folk but fear violence from the police as well. She told a string of stories 
about domestic violence calls that ended in the death of the man involved. 
“He was beating her up. But she didn’t want him to get killed,” Cora said in a 
shaky voice. “You know, they came in there, they used excessive force…. I 


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