Where Do You Draw the Line Between Privacy and Public Safety? [Reader Forum]

Readers sound off on the policing of people of color everywhere, from the streets to between the sheets.

By Nia King Jan 28, 2013

People of color are disproportionately policed, both in public and in private. This week’s reader forum looks at the circumstances affecting women of color’s choices regarding reproductive health care on the anniversary of Roe vs. Wade, and how the spread of stop-and-frisk policies is impacting black and brown communities from coast to coast.

Last week, upon the 40th anniversary of Roe vs. Wade, Samara Azam-Yu reflected on common misconceptions about abortion, and noted how lack of access to health care limits the reproductive options of low-income women and women of color. Also last week, Jorge Rivas reported that the city of Oakland has entered an expensive consulting contract with former Los Angeles Police Department chief William Bratton, an unapologetic advocate of stop-and-frisk. Here’s what you had to say.

On the anniversary of Roe v. Wade, LavMenace said:

Thanks for the article. People on the other side often women who have abortions as those who are doing it because of convenience. They do not realize that women often cannot continue a pregnancy if they have other children they need to take care of and they are simply not ready to become a parent. The response is usually adoption but not every woman can do this.

Melissa Salazar:

Thank you for this honest and enlightening look at abortion AND pregnancy. I think too often they are separated issues, like you stated in the article. I know the focus here was urban women, but pregnant women of color and disadvantaged economic circumstances suffer as well live in a rural area. I live in New Mexico, was diagnosed with diabetes halfway through my pregnancy, and had to travel at minimum 90 miles round-trip to do my well-baby visits. Our state has no public transportation so it was me in my car, and of course during work hours, meaning missed work time. Abortion services are also at least 90 miles away, sometimes more like 200 miles. How women with few resources get abortions, prenatal or post partum care under these circumstances is a very troubling thought. Keep writing and we can raise the consciousness of politicians and those who think it’s too easy to get an abortion, and contrast it with how easy they could get prenatal care–both are difficult.

Mayraa Esparza:

Thank you Samara for writing from the heart. All too often our society blames and shames women who have made the difficult choice of having to terminate their pregnancies. Yet, we never hear their stories, or stories from people who are there to support them. I know it’s not easy to check our assumptions because we’ve been so desensitized by the subject. However, it is because of compassionate people like you that I hope the dialogue shifts to a more humane, understanding, and empathetic one. Keep doing what you’re doing, we can reverse and own the dialogue and shifting our society’s understanding by continuing to educate folks. Thank you for all the great work that you’re doing. Keep writing!

Regarding stop-and-frisk, Diana Wei Pu commented:

Cities with stop-and-frisk are doomed to large scale civil unrest and civil and human rights lawsuits.

D.L. Williams:

My only input is look at those who have been shooting up these schools, malls, and movie theatres lately. Sounds like they’re "stopping and frisking" the wrong people if you ask me.

Crea TiveOne:

LA has been a mess for years, so…are we supposed to feel like this is a good move bringing him aboard?


I really would urge people to look at what he did in NYC before he joined the LAPD. Look up the names of Anthony Baez, Anthony Rosario, Yong Xin Huang, Nicolas Heyward Jr., Frankie Arzuaga, Anibal Carrasquillo and I could go on. His policies target and kill young people in our communities. Under Bratton, police in NY were put on track to be in charge of "school safety" in the public schools.

Each week, we round up the best comments in our community. Join the conversation here on Colorlines.com, and on Facebook and Twitter.