That Softie Mike Bloomberg Won't Make Rudy Giuliani Give Up Loving Stop-And-Frisk
Mike Bloomberg is running for president as a Democrat, which means he can't overtly embrace racism and racist policies. At the very least, he needs to apologize for all the times he did. He's a new man with a New Democrat attitude. Rudy Giuliani, however, spent eight years as New York City mayor kicking black people in the teeth, and when his two terms of racial terror were up, he passed down his steel-toed boots to Bloomberg. He even endorsed his then-fellow Republican. Now Bloomberg has denounced the infamous "stop-and-frisk" police tactic of forgetting black people are citizens, and Giuliani doesn't even know who Bloomberg is anymore.
Giuliani blasted Bloomberg's newfound glimmer of humanity during an appearance Sunday on "The Cats Roundtable with John Catsimatidis," which apparently exists.
GIULIANI: What is this stuff that [Bloomberg's] condemning stop-and-frisk? I did it for eight years. He did it for 12. I did 100 [thousand] stops. He did 600 [thousand].
Even in a city of more than 8 million, that's a lot of black and brown people to feel up so Broadway tourists can feel safe. Giuliani insists that Bloomberg loved "stop-and-frisk" as much as he did, and he's now trying to act like that friend of yours who claimed they never bought a Spice Girl record. (Those ladies sold 85 million worldwide. It wasn't just me!)
GIULIANI: He was 100 percent in favor of that program. As enthusiastic about it as I was.
Bloomberg however has apparently met some black people since he was mayor and instead of having them stopped-and-frisked, he actually listened to them. Bloomberg apologized again for promoting the racist policy at a "Mike for Black America" event in Houston this week. (Bloomberg is very wealthy, so he might actually clear out the Dakotas and give black people our own America.)
BLOOMBERG: There is one aspect of approach that I deeply regret, the abuse of police practice called stop-and-frisk. I defended it, looking back, for too long because I didn't understand then the unintended pain it was causing to young black and brown families and their kids. I should have acted sooner and faster to stop it. I didn't, and for that I apologize. ... I've listened to their stories. I've heard their pain, and their confusion, and their anger, and I've learned from them and I've grown from them
This comes after the release of a 2015 audiotape where Bloomberg said some gross things in defense of "stop-and-frisk." Backing away from a racist policy is an indication that Bloomberg understands how critical the black vote is to winning this primary. If he was just trying to woo suburban white women, especially the so-called "future former Republicans" who lean right but loathe Donald Trump, Bloomberg would lean on his involvement with Everytown for Gun Safety and, well, "stop-and-frisk." White suburbanites — either secretly or openly — appreciate whatever steps were taken to make New York less Taxi Driver and more "Sex and the City." Of course, that change had more to do with an improving economy more than brutalizing black and brown people. Giuliani disagrees, because he's a terrible human being.
Giuliani is probably more helpful to Bloomberg's political aspirations than he's even been as Donald Trump's personal lawyer. His unrepentant racism makes black people more likely to at least consider Bloomberg's apologies. Giuliani is the same guy who said that he'd "saved more black lives than Beyoncé." I'm only alive today because of "Crazy in Love," so I don't know what the hell Giuliani was talking about. I lived in New York during the Giuliani years and his administration rarely showed anything but antipathy toward black lives.
It seems that Trump is at least preparing for the chance that Bloomberg is the Democratic nominee. The former New Yorker is now trying to claim that he loved Giuliani-style "stop-and-frisk" but thought Bloomberg "abused" the policy. Although Bloomberg hardly has the best record on race, no black person is stupid enough to believe that Giuliani was the "least racist" mayor, and this black person bought a lot of Spice Girl records.
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Stephen Robinson is a writer and social kibbitzer based in Portland, Oregon. He's on the board of the Portland Playhouse theater and writes for the immersive theater Cafe Nordo in Seattle. Tickets are on sale now for his latest Nordo collaboration, "Curiouser and Curiouser," an adaptation of "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland" and "Through the Looking Glass." It promises to feel like an actual evening with SER (for good or for ill).