Protest Song of the Day: ’10 Frisk Commandments’ by Jasiri X
To recognize the power of protest music, acknowledge its role in keeping dissent alive and how musicians translate social issues and systemic problems into song, The Dissenter has launched a daily feature that highlights a protest song every weekday.
Over 8,000 stop-and-frisks are believed to occur every day in New York. The Nation recently posted a short documentary that included secretly captured audio of a stop-and-frisk action, where officers who were likely ordered to harass a young Hispanic male stopped him and told him they would arrest him for being a “fuckin’ mutt.”
“I’ve been stopped and frisked for years,” Jasiri X raps. “They treat us like we animals/I’m so used to it/I wrote me a manual/A step-by-step booklet/So you can get/Through your stop and frisk/Before they cock and spit.”
Rule #1 is don’t carry a gun, “even if you got a license.” Make the slightest move and the police will “empty every round of their clip til you’re lifeless.” Don’t make sudden moves is Rule #2.
Rule #3 is don’t trust police. “These cops will set a brother up/Gun ’em up/Then coverup/Whenever they run amok/And come to bust on one of us/It’s never justice/Because it’s always just us.” Rule #5 is, “Never talk back/When they talk smack/Even if they call you a nigger man/Be the bigger man.”
During the first three months of 2012, New Yorkers were stopped by police 203,500 times. Eight-nine percent of those stops—181, 457—were totally innocent. Fifty-four percent of stops were of blacks (108,097). Thirty-three percent of stops were Latinos (69,043). Only nine percent were of whites (18,387).
Jasiri X’s song is part of the movement to end stop and frisk practices in New York. He recently performed the song at a rally for NYPD accountability and community safety (Talib Kweli introduced him).
But as he tells people, this policy of stop and frisk is in Pittsburgh too. So, the song is for all people of the United States and the world, anyone who has ever been targeted and harassed by police in their communities or thinks they may leave their home tomorrow or the day after that and be targeted and harassed by police.
The Dissenter will be putting one of these up every weekday morning. If you have requests for songs that should be featured or if you have a protest song you recorded, which you would like to see featured, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
And all previous Protest Song of the Day selections can be found here.