Beware of ‘dehumanizing stares’

One sign of an authoritarian society is how authorities react to those whom they feel are not properly subservient to them. The American people are slowly being conditioned to be obsequious to government power. Mike Spindell writes about a bill being discussed in the New York State Senate that would make it a felony to, among other things, ‘annoy’ a police officer in the course of his duties. He gives a long list of cases where the police have taken offense at people who were acting perfectly legally but not subserviently.


John Eskow writes that police seem to be particularly fearful of black people’s eyes.

On Memorial Day, in Miami, a 14-year-old black kid named Tremaine McMillan was walking down the beach with his mother–and bottle-feeding his puppy–when cops blocked his path in ATVs. A few minutes before, the kid had been rough-housing in the surf with a friend, and the cops wanted to question him about it.

Moments later, the cops body-slammed the boy—still holding his puppy—onto the beach, got him in a chokehold, and arrested him for resisting arrest.

So far, so sickeningly normal.

But in this case, the police’s cover-story for the body-slam, the chokehold, and the kid’s subsequent arrest—that he was “clenching,” or, in other accounts, “flaring” his fists–was hard to sell, due to one small but troublesome fact: cellphone video showed that the kid never stopped cradling his puppy. So the police spokesman invoked a truly terrifying specter: the teenager, he said, was giving the cops “dehumanizing stares.”

Jonathan Turley writes about another black man who, despite passing a sobriety test, was still arrested for drunk driving because his eyes were red. He later scored 0.00 on the breathalyzer test.


  1. voidhawk says

    hey, at least it isn’t illegal to photograph the police in America yet as it is in England thanks to Section 76 of the Counter Terrorism Act

  2. richardrobinson says

    No one is proposing that men be arrested for leering at women. But thanks for playing the false-equivalence home game.

  3. steve oberski says

    Because cops are employees of the state and are paid to implement the governments monopoly on the use of violence to enforce the laws of the land.

    No one forces them to become cops or remain cops and they are free to leave their position should they find dehumanizing, objectifying stares too much to bear (the poor dears, my heart does go out to them).

    Women, on the other hand, don’t have that option.

    Your concern for cops is touchingly naive, but not to worry, there are plenty of provisions in place to ensure that they do not suffer permanent damage due to dehumanizing, objectifying stares, and in fact, as the linked to article indicates, many of them are more than willing to take this onerous duty into their own hands.

  4. says

    The instant women can legally start tazing bro-dudes for staring, I’ll share your concern.

    Until then, kindly please to fuck off.

  5. leni says

    Even granting that staring could be harassment (which I think it could), it should still be fairly obvious to you, wtfwhatever, that the standards we use when discussing everyday behavior are not the same standards we use when discussing evidence for criminal offenses. The standards for determining criminal offense are typically, although not in this case, higher.

    Staring is not a criminal offense, it’s a social offense (at least in many cultures- most maybe I don’t know). We consider it rude because it makes many people uncomfortable. And even though we all know this, suddenly we throw that rule out the window when the target is a woman. Then all of a sudden it’s some sort of compliment and the same activity that would make just about anyone else uncomfortable magically becomes just an innocent offhand kind of compliment. Do you know what that is? It’s a double standard and it’s a kind of disrespect. Feminists know this and so should you. Disrespect, however, is not generally illegal.

    Which is a good thing especially for you, I imagine.

    Anyway, if you disagree, please feel free to try it out on your boss tomorrow. Let us know how the talk with HR goes!

  6. baal says

    Depends on where you are in the U.S. Thankfully most of the lawsuits have been in favor of allowing citizens to video tape in public like cities, cops and businesses have been forever.

  7. baal says

    When my wife worked a stint in a fast food drive through, I was very tempted to get a baseball bat and loiter near the window. The number of misogynist statement and low level general abusiveness was unbelievable.

  8. Mano Singham says

    This is something that I just don’t understand, how people can be abusive to random people with whom they have only the most fleeting of interactions.

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