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3 - “Black Cop”: It’s a Blue Thing (or Is It?)

from Part I - Policing

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  20 January 2022

Gregory S. Parks
Affiliation:
Wake Forest University, North Carolina
Frank Rudy Cooper
Affiliation:
University of Nevada, Las Vegas
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Summary

Kami Chavis utilizes KRS-One’s 1993 song “Black Cop” to consider the contradictions inherent in being a black police officer. The song reveals the complex role that black police officers play in the subjugation of black communities. In the song, black officers are portrayed as utilizing the same street justice and harassment as their white counterparts to “oversee” black people, just as plantation owners and enslavers used black overseers on plantations to keep enslaved people subjugated. In fact, the lyrics suggest the deliberate use of the black officer to effectuation the continued oppression of the black community. The George Floyd death was the last ember to land upon a long-burning fire that would spread throughout the country. In response to protests against police brutality, several municipalities made significant and broad changes to their police practices. Among these changes are demands to diversify the police, arguing that if there were just more black officers, this might ameliorate the complaints of racial profiling and police violence against blacks. However, a careful analysis of Black Cop and its enduring themes require us to examine this proposition.

Type
Chapter
Information
Fight the Power
Law and Policy through Hip-Hop Songs
, pp. 55 - 74
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2022

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