Last year, just before NYPD officers were acquitted (predictably) for the murder of Sean Bell, the New York City media filled with stories about anticipated violence on the part of black folks, and the NYPD took the occasion to showcase some of their new crowd suppression tools.
But the violence never materialized. And hasn’t, for a long time – not since Rodney King, at least, and that was one acquittal, out of thousands. But every time another cop goes free, the rumor mill gins up new ‘anticipated unhappiness’ or some bullshit.
And it’s happening again for the election: The Boston Globe reports that police the cities of Detroit, Chicago, Oakland and Philadelphia have geared up for a night of violence if Obama loses. Not only does this serve as needless race-baiting (those cities are pop culture code-words for dangerous urban black folks), but it encourages the further militarization of any totally legitimate protests that do occur. It sets the wrong tone, identifying black people in America with irrational, riotous violence, but also sets the stage for the truly violent suppression of free speech and assembly bound to follow in the wake of this election.