Archivado para Julio 22nd, 2010
Today, the College Board releases reports on college completion rates and the news is not good for Latinos.
In case you missed: Eugene O’Donnell on lessons from police-protesters clash in Puerto Rico.
Through Twitter-verse: Survey says immigration will get Latinos to vote.
by Eugene O’Donnell
Policing demonstrations is one of the hardest tasks that police departments anywhere face, and nowhere is it done perfectly. Even the New York City Police Department (NYPD), the most practiced agency on the face of the earth at handling all stripes of public assemblies, has not escaped criticism. Some alleged they were heavy-handed during the 2004 Republican Convention. More recently, Puerto Rico’s police department has been sharply criticized for alleged excessive force during a protest last month.
Five points should be made:
There’s no substitute for good planning
The more time the police have to plan, the better. The best police departments devote many hours to reviewing and preparing for contingencies. They look at protest sites, carefully examine deployment, and try to build in flexibility to everything they do. Open, respectful communication with protest organizers and leaders is encouraged. Good planning also means good hands-on training where officers role play confrontations and crowd control before they actually have to handle them.
Learning Lessons from Puerto Rico and off the island is vital
Every protest or large crowd the police handle should provide a wealth of ideas about how to improve handling the next event. The learning should never stop. And lessons can be learned from everywhere in the world, not just Puerto Rico. All police work is learning by doing and nowhere is this more true than in handling large gatherings and protests.
It’s Not Brutality Just Because it’s Caught on Camera
With cameras being everywhere today, police actions seem to be captured all the time. In some situations, the police have no choice but to use force on people. It never looks good, and it should be kept to a minimum, but just because there’s a picture of the police hitting someone, doesn’t mean it’s unnecessary brutality.
The Cops and the Citizens Need to be Mindful of Each Other’s Human Dignity
The police and the people on the other side of the barricades are friends and neighbors and fellow countrymen. They need to be reminded of this again and again. Some officers forget this, and engage in brutality. Some protestors use protest to break the law, incite the police and they rally support to their cause by seeking out confrontation with the police. On the mainland, some groups use hate speech when referring to police officers. This goes way beyond holding a rally to make a political statement or oppose a government policy.
The Policing Should Reflect the Values of Puerto Rico
In some places, the police plan on making mass arrests to head off serious violence. Even minor law violations result in demonstrators being placed in custody. Some police departments also deploy truly massive numbers of cops in riot gear at even small protests. This can intimidate free speech and expression. While ideas can be gathered from other places, the police-in all they do- will receive the most respect and support if they are seen as representing the values and ideals of Puerto Ricans.
Eugene O’Donnell, professor of police studies at John Jay College, is a former NYPD Officer. He taught at John Jay’s campus at the Academia de la Policia de Puerto Rico in 1994.
This op-ed was originally published in Spanish in El Diario-La Prensa’s July 15, 2010 edition.
by Maria Nieto
Over the past few days, the 11th annual New York International Latino Film Festival has found itself surrounded by controversy over its promotional commercial as well as for its programming roster that increasingly showcases the work of more and more non-Latinos. The commercial, in particular, has drawn fire because of its unflattering and unrealistic depiction of Latinos. So has the festival’s decision to allow British director Tony Kaye to direct the commercial.
Casper Martinez of www.LatinoFilmChatter.com ignited the debate via Facebook after posting videos on the subject. Martinez argues that in allowing Kaye to direct the piece, the festival went against the very heart of its mission to create opportunities for Latino filmmakers. Kaye’s final product only served to solidify the outrage from the community and further added to the belief that the piece reflected the lack of an in-depth understanding of the Latino culture.
The commercial shows a young girl as the director of what appears to be a film or video directing her grandmother from behind the camera. The girl, in her pursuit of the perfect performance from the grandmother, yells at her to pronounce the Spanish word “Sí” with greater intensity. She proceeds to not only yell at the grandmother but to also insult her by calling her names and showing an overall lack of respect for the older woman. In return, we see the grandmother eventually stick her tongue out at the girl. At the end of the commercial we see a young hand holding a gun and firing off two shots at an unknown victim.
The commercial I’ve just described bears little to no relevance to Latino viewers. Given its nature as a creative work, one could argue that it is a product of the artistic license given to filmmakers. One could also argue, however, that no creative project exists in a vacuum. Creative projects are ultimately judged by their audience whose task it is to either consume or reject the work. In this case, more than one judge has deemed the piece unworthy.
The festival’s commercial has angered so many because it should have been a looking glass into who we are as Latinos. Instead, due to its director, the commercial wound up being yet another projection of what many in mainstream society judge us to be. In sharp contrast, it is my belief that the inherent power of Latino filmmaking is that of expanding society’s understanding of the full complexity of the human beings behind the term “Latino.” At a time when our community is besieged by anti-immigrant sentiment, I cannot think of a more vital endeavor.
As publisher of www.LatinosInEntertainment.com, I was compelled to take part in the often heated debate that raised issues not only of Latino identity, but also of the power and purpose of Latino filmmaking as well. It is my hope that the directors of the festival will be able to see the outcry from the community for what it is – a plea for the festival to retain its focus and its mission of empowering Latino filmmakers.
The festival was born out of a commitment to empower our community and the vehicle for opportunities that the festival represents is too important to let slip away. Today, that community should live not only in the festival’s title - but should also live once more in its central mission. It is our hope that the festival to revert back from the misguided course that it is currently on and come back to its roots of empowering Latino filmmakers in their pursuit of furthering authentic portrayals of Latino identity.
Maria Nieto is the publisher of www.LatinosInEntertainment.com.
The Spanish version of this op-ed appears here.