Building a surveillance state is not healthy. As the state continues to incinerate civil liberties in the pursuit of incorrigible power, young folks will violently learn the effects of disobedience. Stop and frisk is now life in New York City, with conversations now starting to shift from how to halt this “preventative” policy to how to train police officers to be benevolent stalwarts.
But psychological damage of not allowing folks the freedom to walk and congregate in their own neighborhoods without fear creates deleterious and cumbersome silence that evolves into a pathology of hate for oneself.
As this video documents, Stop and Frisk uses draconian tools that hurt the self-confidence of young boys of color in the formative years before adulthood.
Kasiem Walters, a high school student relived his experience living under state surveillance. He finds no comfort with the police that swore to protect him. Describing the violent yanking, groping, pushing, and intimidating that officers inflict onto his body, Kasiem said that his perception of police changed dramatically, admitting to being robbed and not calling the cops out of fear — of cops.
According to some recent studies, nearly half of inner-city youth suffer from some form of post-traumatic stress syndrome. Kasiem described many of the classic symptoms of shell shock that are stated by Marina Post, a fourth-year medical student at Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, Texas:
“Symptoms of numbness include a loss of interest, feeling cut off from people, being unable to have loving feelings, feeling the future is cut short, or avoiding actions that remind them of the stressful experience,” she added. “Hyperarousal, on the other hand, occurs when you are very much on edge all the time, have difficulty sleeping, and you’re alert, but to an extreme degree.”
Police officers exasperate these symptoms with their brazen activity in communities of color. In the landmark case challenging the efficacy and legality of stop-and-frisk stops, New York City officers baldly reveled in the fear that instilled in African-American men and boys.
Here is what was reported from the case:
Dang made a total of six arrests out of his 127 stops. He wrote one summons. He found contraband once. He never recovered any weapons and he only stopped people of color, primarily African Americans, 115 times to be exact. He never stopped a white person.” Dang’s record here is stunning enough alone. More telling still is the justifications he recounted to the court for making many of his stops, referring to repeated observation of individuals’ general behavioral patterns, including “furtive movements” — a vague policing phrase regularly stretched beyond the limits of all reasonableness. “We have a general idea of their behavior,” Dang testified.
Being hyperaware of yourself in a primarily negative way can release the stress hormone cortisol. Cortisol interferes with your appetite regulating hormones, which can lead folks to eat to relieve stress. And there in not a shortage of cheap, sugary, fat-laden foods to numb the pain that cannot be expressed without public and private censure.
Take a look at this video and listen to young Kasiem’s testimony. He’s truly a brave young man: