Dr. Monica C. Bell, Associate Professor of Law, Yale Law School (right), spoke at The University of Tulsa College of Law on ways the "non-criminal functions of policing" shapes our cities and, at the end of the day, helps to perpetuate vast differences between the quality of life experienced by millions of Americans. 



Meet Richard, a NYC teen, who is ending his summer at a camp providing urban youth a chance to experience the countryside.  He's taking a walk through the countryside and by countryside, New Yorkers, especially from Manhattan, can mean quaint oceanside towns in enclaves of power and wealth like The Hamptons

With his younger cousin, this walkabout for the two teens will get them a visit from the police.  Calls were made. By the end of the encounter with a local officer, Richard and his cousin would clearly understand, for the first time in their lives that something you begin to intuit when you reach about 11, 12 years old in America (it may be even younger these days) but, can't quite name...that there is something incongruous, as Dr. Monica Bell puts it, about your American life and  the lives of other Americans. 

Richard, the older of the two, also felt something else...he and his cousin were lucky to get back to urban America that day.

In a leafy Texas suburb, also young, Ann and Ron can't believe how wonderful their new home has turned out to be...the police are practically like concierges. Dr. Bell will later talk about communities where off duty officers, though still in uniform, are co-opted to provide private services like  those seen as added amenities contracted through outside agencies and homeowners' associations. 


mechanisms of segregated policing



Segregation in housing allows states to create conditions "concentrating people in difficult situations."



Richard and his cousin "did not realize that just walking around could get them in trouble."  Police decide who belongs where, reinforcing "racial incongruity." 



Perpetual profiling leads to the negative connotation that a neighborhood or community "seems like it is racist."   



Police departments coordinate "with other bureaucracies," (raids on housing) decreasing trust.



Police are the "face of the state."  Police interaction when varying widely by community, precinct or division acts not to fight crime, but, to criminalize entire groups and areas of a city.  



"Shifting borders as mechanisms to increase the domination" of the preferences of one group while subordinating the preferences of another.

And, There's A Third America

Excerpted from her paper "The Challenges and Possibility of Dismantling Legal Estrangement in the 21st Century," Dr. Bell's talk on anti-segregation policing references other works identifying a third America.  

Corporate America located, in the vernacular, in Downtown, on Main Street, in the commercial districts of our cities and towns receives yet a third, even heightened value level of policing. 

Though it's tempting to try to encapsulate Dr. Bell's one hour talk in a nutshell. the Furman/University College Dublin/Yale JD in law and Harvard PhD in sociology took the TU audience on a precise journey through one is complicated and all our efforts to make it less so are more denial than real work.  What if, to reduce crime, Bell suggests, police departments adopted policies treating every American community equitably...aka...the same.  Not possible, you say?

From Dr. Bell's talk you get the idea she would agree...a bit.

Because what did seem to fit in a nutshell from the lecture may turn out to be a seminal idea on the possibilities for new policing standards in America.

Crime reduction as a result of treating all Americans justly is not a Tulsa problem or a Dallas problem or Baltimore or Detroit or Washington DC or, for that matter a Vian or Sperry or Sapulpa or Henryetta's an across the board, set in stone American problem.  

The nutshell.

The nation, through centuries of effort and planning remains segregated. Thus, the challenge for police departments in every American city and town is to have the same department show up on segregated scenes in America.  

In short, the Tulsa Police Department and the NYC Police Department and the LA Police Department can't show up as the 

       Tulsa Police Department and NYC Police Department and LA Police Department in handfuls of chosen communities/divisions but, show up in the same cities as the Race Police in other, equally chosen districts.

This article: R. Clardy/NTm  1.21.2020  Tulsa.OK



Whose Preferences?

It makes about as much sense as saying all people without dreadlocks need to leave the United States within two weeks.  Or, American workplaces now require all employees to purchase and drive BMWs.  

Public university grads need not apply.  

I don't like broccoli, it must be banned from all restaurant menus.  Immediately.

Or, here's one that does make sense.... "Under-served communities in America proportionately pay more in taxes than anyone else on the planet, rather than total exclusion, from now on, those communities will have first dibs on all decisions related to city planning.

Or, we could all calm down and live as though there are 7 billion people on Earth and not 7, 70, 700, 7,000 or 700,000 who will decide for everyone else every aspect of their lives.

In Mont Belvieu, TX, population just over 3,500, teen Deandre Arnold was informed last month that he won't be allowed to graduate in May if he doesn't comply with the academic standards for, he's done that.


Arnold must cut his dreadlocked hair by May, or no diploma for him. 


If only all our problems could be solved by changing our hairstyles.

Originally sent by an NTm reader on Facebook, start THE CONVERSATION, let us know your opinion on the issue of hair as a standard for academic success.

mount belvieu: the look the town prefers

Mount Belvieu, TX Barber Shane Niemann says "that is the policy."