Acting on Illusion

As I write this, my social media feeds are awash with news of James Blake’s deplorable encounter with an overeager New York policeman, who, acting on little more than the illusion of evidence, tackled Blake to the floor while the former tennis star awaited his ride to the US Open. Blake has received immediate and public apologies from New York City authorities but has been vocal in his insistence that apologies, and even a potential successful lawsuit, are not what he wishes to see come of this incident. Blake has the stage now because of his previous celebrity, but he readily acknowledges that he shares his experience with many unsung others, particularly in underprivileged and minority neighborhoods. For this reason, he wants to transform this trauma “into a catalyst for change in the relationship between the police and the public they serve.” Blake’s aim to convert a negative individual experience into larger positive social change is on my mind as I think about the figure

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