victims were accused of violating laws or rules governing conduct in commercial establishments and public spaces. In the first case, it was for trespassing or loitering. In the second, it was for using a charcoal grill outside of the designated areas.
“Quality of life” laws serve as a potent instrument of racial segregation.
.. They provide commercial establishments, law enforcement officers and everyday citizens with tools enabling them to police racial boundaries while at the same time claiming to simply be upholding the law.
.. these laws supposedly apply to everyone. But in practice, they clearly don’t. Like most middle-aged white people, I have spent countless hours in Starbucks without buying anything. Plenty of white people have barbecued, blasted music and drunk alcohol at that same Oakland park, without anyone calling the police.
.. The selective enforcement of minor ordinances, as many critics note, performs the same work today that segregation laws did in the past.
.. These wealthy enclaves were also among the first to use privatization as a means of segregation
.. recalled accompanying two white teenage friends to a private beach in the neighboring town of Milford. Although Motley’s white friends were not members, they went there often. But with an African-American joining them, “there was suddenly a membership requirement.”
.. It will take more than sensitivity-training sessions and the public shaming of racist, hypervigilant white women to dismantle today’s system of segregation. Limiting the power of white people to use the law to act out their vision of a “quality” life that excludes black people is a place to start.