Cops wining up – American vs. British response

So islandistas, I know you’ve all seen the viral video of the NYPD officers wukking up with revellers at New York City’s Labour Day carnival.

And no doubt, many of you have sucked your teeth at the hysterical, puritanical response it has gotten in the American media.

From the New York Daily News’ nasty, degrading description of it as the officers looking like they  “were in the middle of a much-needed conjugal visit” to Essence’s sly, snide commentary by Demetria Lucas, the response has by and large been culturally disrespectful of West Indians.

First, I have major issues with the fact that it’s being widely described as “dirty dancing”.

Dirty? My culture is not dirty. Because you can’t understand that soca music and the way we dance to it is about joyful celebration and release from the daily grind and all you can see is sex because a waistline is involved, that makes it dirty? How dare you.

Second, I scoff at the weak argument that the officers should not have been wining because shootings went on that weekend and along the parade route itself and that the officers were there to “protect and serve.” First, the shootings did not happen in the area they were monitoring – I highly doubt they would be allowed to leave the area where they were posted to respond to a shooting blocks away where other officers were already posted.

And if a shooting or other violent incident did happen in their area, how does their jonesing and wukking up really detract from their ability to serve and protect? Do people think they were going to tell a gunman “hold on dey padna – I just tiefing a wine hey.” No! If something happened, wining stops and wrestling to the ground and handcuffing starts.

Really, give me a break. Miss Lucas claimed she was “putting the outrage in context” but that is not context at all. Wining and protecting citizenry are not mutually exclusive or incompatible. Absolute nonsense.

What makes the American media response look even more silly is the way more relaxed and culturally understanding response of the British to a similar video of an officer – PC Simon Lawrence, skanking at the Notting Hill Carnival. PC Lawrence said:

“The dance was an impulse, not a planned thing. It’s what I do naturally. People are there and egg you on, so you join in the fun. Sometimes in the past we have felt we were gatecrashing the party. But if you break down the barriers and take part, it tends to work. I find it makes the day go a lot quicker than standing there just looking.”

The Daily Mail (which can be as bad as NY Daily News when it comes to being conservative and denigrating), in an actually celebratory piece on PC Lawrence, quoted a Metropolitan Police source as saying:

“‘PC Lawrence certainly did his bit to help community relations and we are delighted his performance won him a worldwide audience.’”

Now how about that?

As it so happens, the poor NYPD officers who are now under investigation, seemed to have done their bit to help community relations as well – witness the crowds cheering and high-fiving the officers as they passed by. Considering the tense relationship both the Met Police and the NYPD have had with black and immigrant communities, I would think this is a good thing.

In conclusion, these people denigrating our culture need some Rudder in dey tail to understand what is really going on. The lyrics to his classic ‘Calypso Music’ explain so beautifully.

It is a living vibration

Rooted deep within my Caribbean belly

Lyrics to make a politician cringe

Or turn a woman’s body into jelly

It is sweet soca music … calypso

You could ah never refuse it… calypso

It make you shake like a Shango … now calypso

Why it is you shaking, you dont know.

3 comments for “Cops wining up – American vs. British response

  1. Ali
    September 18, 2011 at 3:58 pm

    Thank you!!! Even though I believe that the cops should not take part in the wining session :), I believe it was all in good fun and it will help improve relations with the NYPD and the West Indian community! I’ve read some comments on other blogs and it was downright disgusting and as you put it puritanical. I find it funny though that these same people will participate in spring break, bike week and Freaknik where all sexual activities takes place! I know I’m talking too much but overall it’s not that serious and there are more important things to worry about! And thanks for the David Rudder lyrics :)!

  2. September 20, 2011 at 4:50 pm

    As a yankee who participates in my city’s carnival, I’m pissed off by the comments about the officers needing to be fired. There was even someone on facebook who said this happened on Sept. 11. I’m like really, if it were 9/11 there definitely wouldn’t be any type of wining happening. I had to leave a comment to let them know it’s carnival no scene, and left it like that. I’m tired of the whole us (AA) vs them (WI), like we don’t do some questionable things. I feel safer at a carnival than I do at any AA festival because it’s all about unity, fun and nice vibes. I was mad at this year’s DC Carnival that it turned into a Georgia Avenue Day of the ’90s. Okay done ranting. :-)

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