Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Innocent Until Proven Guilty is a Privilege, Not a Right

So you all heard the the Supreme Court (of Douchebags) upheld the "Papers Please" section of Arizona's anti-brown people law, right?

This and the drug testing of welfare recipients should be a slam dunk "uh uh, no fucking way, turn around and refund the dollars you used to take this to the court to the tax payers because it violates one of the most fundamental tenets of the Constitution" no go. It violates the idea that a person is innocent until proven guilty. But only for some people. My pale faced, blue eyed boy child would never be asked to prove he belongs in this country. Me, my black hair and eyes, olive skin and being just "exotic" looking enough to get asked the shitty "what are you?" question won't be stepping foot in Arizona anytime soon. Also, Kid's dad, an actual drug addict but a white dude, would never have to walk into a welfare office and piss in a cup to feed his kids (that is, if he was concerned at all about feeding his kids. Which 17 years of experience tells me otherwise).

How does it violate that whole innocent until proven guilty thing? It requires people, who the government has no proof other then being poor or brown, to prove they aren't a criminal (this is leaving aside the whole racist idea that a persons mere existence is a crime depending on what side of an arbitrary line they are standing on) instead of making the government prove that a crime has taken place. Guilty until you prove you're not. Until you pee in this cup and it comes back clean, you are a drug user who doesn't deserve the same access to government programs that a middle class home owner taking the mortgage exemption on their taxes does. Guilty until you prove that you're not of not being a "real Amurikan" unlike, say Sheriff Joe "Don't hate me cause I get paid to be a racist by the state" Arpaio who looks like he keeps his skin so milky by wearing what my friend calls the KKK Snuggie (Thanks Anthony!)

While we're on this whole guilty until your not kick, let's not forget to mention New York's stop frisk. It's just for black and brown folks, according to the numbers. It doesn't actually do much of what it's stated purpose is, namely checking for weapons. I think the last number I read on it (and forgive me, I can't remember where I read it) was that it takes some thing like 3000 stop and frisks to produce one weapon and something like 85% of those are non-white people getting touched by the slimy hands of New York's finest. But if you are black or brown, you don't get to say "Fuck you, you ain't got no probable cause. I'm going home" cause you've just given the cops probable cause with the trying to leave schtick.

Now while I'm telling you all this, remember that crime rates have been dropping since the 70s. We have fewer crimes being committed while at the same time our prison rates have ballooned faster than the interest rate on an ARM. If people are committing fewer crimes, where the fuckity fuck is the prison population coming from? Mandatory drug testing? Stop and frisks? Papers Please? These are the newer laws but think about people in some states who get sent to jail for driving without insurance. GA, if I remember correctly, will put out an arrest warrant if they get a letter from your insurance company saying your coverage has been cancelled. You don't get notified of the warrant. Maybe you just switched policies because you like the Geico lizard. Won't know about the warrant until you get pulled over for speeding and WHAMO jail for you.

Innocent until proven guilty is not a reality for large swaths of the people in this country. It's a privilege. If you think otherwise, you probably haven't been stopped for driving while black.

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