San Francisco CAREN Act Seeks to Curb Racially Biased 911 Calls

Legislation approved on Tuesday at a San Francisco Board of Supervisors meeting may soon make people civilly liable for racially biased 911 calls in the California city. Sean Blackmon, the host of By Any Means Necessary, joined Radio Sputnik’s Political Misfits to discuss the new law and discriminatory police actions against Black Americans.

The Caution Against Racially Exploitative Non-Emergencies (CAREN) Act is a reference to the name Karen, used by people on social media to describe people who commit racially biased actions. Other names, like Becky, Susan and Chad, have also come to represent stereotypes of whiteness. The law was signed by all 11 supervisors, according to the Associated Press.
“First thing I want to say is I do think it’s hilarious that they went out of the way to call it the CAREN Act; that’s pretty funny. I mean the fact that that term has entered the mainstream to the extent that it has is just kind of mind-blowing to me,” Blackmon told Political Misfits hosts Michelle Witte and Bob Schlehuber on Wednesday.

Although the act sounds promising, Blackmon told Sputnik he’s interested in seeing how things play out in actuality.

“I’d be interested to see how it actually plays out in action and if someone could sort of be successfully sued. I think they should be. We should be clear that there is a class of people in this country, and it isn’t just white women … We’re talking about a class of people who understand innately that the police serve and protect them and their interests,” Blackmon explained, saying that such people use the police as a “personal army” or “street sweeper” to apprehend people of color, poor people and homeless people for “miniscule” and “trifling” issues.

“We’ve seen the police called on Black people for like sitting, standing outside, just for the most ridiculous things,” Blackmon noted.

Racially motivated 911 calls are not uncommon in the US. Earlier this summer, a white hotel employee in North Carolina called the police on a Black family using the hotel’s swimming pool while they were staying at the hotel as guests. In May, Amy Cooper was fired after she called 911 on a Black man bird-watching in New York’s Central Park. In July, Cooper was charged with a misdemeanor for falsely reporting the incident.

Several California residents have called on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors to consider renaming the act.

“The only aspect I wish the Committee to consider is changing the name of the Act,” one resident wrote in a letter to the board.

“Even if this letter is mistaken in its analysis of racial or gender equality, the Committee must also consider the impact it has on innocent women's names that have nothing to do with the atrocious behavior of the women being mocked as the ‘Karens’ of the world. We all go through life with our skin color and our name. The former less mutable than the latter. However, we can spend a lifetime building our name and reputation, which can be lost in a moment. The Committee should not participate in that effect,” the resident added.

To participate in the discussion
log in or register
Заголовок открываемого материала