Curfew Ordinances and Black people: an Open Question to David Love

Lost in the horror stories of endless suffering in Japan was this tragic story of 30 students who waited patiently for their parents to arrive and pick them up from school. They never came and the students never moved.

David A. Love, the executive editor of Blackcommentator.com, wrote that the reason Black people rioted after Katrina an the Japanese remained calm in a situation infinitely more horrifying came down to simple economics.

We at SBPDL disagree with this view completely, understanding that Blackwater was needed to restore order to New Orleans in 2005 for the same reason that those students requiring school discipline around the United States are disproportionately Black.

Blackwater’s (or, as it is currently know, XE) presence was unnecessary in Japan following the tsunami for the same reason that school discipline is largely a superfluous idea when it comes to Asian students.

Recall previously when we discussed the movie The Crazies and the strange rate of Black-on-Black (and Black-on-white, Black-on-Asian, and Black-on-Hispanic) crime that doesn’t in real life require the release of a military pathogen to occur. In that horror film, it took a  destabilizing virus inadvertently released into an all-white community in Iowa to bring chaos, murder and mayhem where rarely it is found.

Even in the top Black county in America, Prince Georges County, murder, crime and mayhem transpire without provocation.

Normally after a major disaster or during wartime, the local, state, or national government will declare a curfew to keep unnecessary personnel off the streets. Trying to restore order in the face of tragedy is only amplified when people roam around at night, requiring policing of these areas to stave off looters and keeping people away from damaged areas. Under such circumstances, why strain precious human resources when the national emergency, disaster, or wartime effort is already pushing the allocation of such resources to the breaking point?

Why strain resources when the national emergency, disaster or wartime effort is already pushing the allocation of resources to the breaking point?

In the United States, however, curfews are not only mandated during times of national distress but also during times when the Black population in an area becomes fractious.

Curfew laws in towns as geographically diverse as Galveston, Texas; Helena, Arkansas; Greensboro, North Carolin; Jonesboro, Georgia; Cleveland, Ohio; and Iowa City, Iowa all are needed to keep a potentially Black criminal element off of the streets. Normally reserved for such times as war or restoring order after a natural disaster, curfew laws are needed in times of relative peace because of the Black population found in cities that such laws will disproportionately target:

Minorities have received more than half the citations and warnings for juvenile curfew violations in Iowa City since the law was first enforced in March.

Twenty-two of the 40 contacts made by police officers from March through November were with minorities, according to statistics provided by the Iowa City Police Department. Sixteen were black, and six were classified as white-Hispanics. The rest were white.

Iowa City is more than 85 percent white, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, although the juvenile population is more diverse, with minority students making up 32 percent of the Iowa City school district’s enrollment.

The racial disparity seen in the curfew violations was not a surprise to Iowa City Police Chief Sam Hargadine, who warned more than a year ago, when the City Council was debating the curfew, that it may happen. He said it wouldn’t be because officers were prejudiced but rather the result of the calls to which they responded.

He reiterated that earlier this month.

“There’s nothing that says the number of juveniles who were out after dark have to be reflective of the population,” he said.

The curfew has won the backing of a former critic who works primarily with black kids and last year worried the curfew was aimed at them.

Henri Harper said more important than the statistics is the positive relationship between kids and the police that he believes the curfew has helped build through better communication.

“I think people realize that they didn’t just want the black kids off the street; they wanted kids off the street,” said Harper, director of FasTrac, an academic and cultural support program for young people.

Curfew starts at midnight for 16- and 17-year-olds, 11 p.m. for 14- and 15-year-olds, and 10 p.m. for those 13 and younger. There are exceptions for things like work, school activities and being accompanied by a responsible adult.

The City Council approved the curfew in December 2009 with a 4-3 vote after a months-long debate. Police officers did not start issuing citations until March.

A curfew proposal arose after a few large fights, among other problems, in southeast Iowa City earlier in 2009. Race was part of the debate, and the council wrote into the law a requirement that demographic and other data be reviewed annually, so it’d be known if certain groups of people or areas of town were overrepresented.

Council member Mike Wright, who proposed the annual report and voted for the curfew, said the council will need to discuss why 55 percent of the curfew citations and warnings have been issued to minorities.
“That’s a little bit troubling because, obviously, 55 percent of our population is not minority,” he said. “I don’t know what that means.”

Since Black people commit a disproportionate amount of crime in every city they reside in America, any effort to curb crime will disproportionately target Black people. 

Only in times of national distress are curfew laws needed, be it war or a horrible natural disaster. But in the United States of America, the preponderance of Black criminality necessitates the need for local city councils to enact curfew laws in an attempt to maintain order.

So, Mr. Love of Blackcommentator.com, The question shouldn’t be: Why were there no looters in Japan? Instead, the question should be: Why are curfew laws needed in United States cities where there is no natural disaster?

Why, Mr. Love, are curfew laws needed in cities where Black crime is a recurring problem and no earthquake, natural disaster or war is needed to justify the passing of such ordinances?

Curfew ordinances nationwide have been attacked as racist because, it is alleged, such ordinances have the propensity to target Black juveniles. Well, really, it is Black juveniles that tend to violate them.

Where a natural disaster or outbreak of war are not the reason for enacting a curfew, the enactment can only be because crime and disorder are in the main caused by some demographic component.

Do tell us, Mr. Loe, what demographic might that be.

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