Treat Memorial Day Weekend the Same as Spring Break and Winter Music Week
The video shows a large crowd gathering around a pair of Miami Beach police officers who are trying to subdue a couple resisting arrest on the sand near First Street and Ocean Drive. The drunk party goers yell at one of the cops after he slams the woman to the ground. "That's some pussy-ass shit," one guy says.
Three young men get in the face of the other officer, who has the boyfriend in a choke hold. Had this incident happened during Memorial Day weekend, I don't need to tell you how it would have turned out. You can bet some very intolerant Miami Beach residents would have used the ruckus as another reason to ban African-Americans from the city for the three-day holiday.
But the melee came during last year's Ultra Music Week, the March electronic music extravaganza that begins this week and brings thousands of young, predominantly white partygoers to our sunny shores.
The police presence for Ultra and Winter Music Conference is nothing compared to the number of cops on the streets of Miami Beach during Memorial Day, which last year led to two police-involved shootings during what has become known as Urban Beach Week in Miami Beach. One man died and seven people were injured, including three cops, in one of the incidents.
The same rowdy, unlawful behavior by young party goers occurs during both tourist-driven music events, yet supposedly equal rights groups like the Unity Coalition only complain about Urban Beach Week.
This year, Ultra and Winter Music Conference honchos kissed and made up, so the parties are gonna be going strong for almost two weeks. Yet none of the anti-Memorial Day activists on Miami Beach are suggesting there's a problem with the hordes of pill-popping ravers who turn the city into a huge drug den and openly drink liquor on the sidewalks. There won't be any complaints from condo dwellers about the barrage of techno music coming from hotel pool parties. You won't see police task forces running drug stings to bust all the tourists holding Ecstasy, ketamine, GHB, and cocaine on Washington and Collins Avenues.
Where is the community group Take Back SoBe to stop the drug fueled raves in the nightclubs, hotels and beaches? Who is forming the coalition to persuade Miami Beach Mayor Matti Bower to put an end to spring break? Oh, that's right, it's a problem only when the party people have a darker skin color, even though their tourism dollars help Miami Beach businesses survive during the slow summer months. The city and its inhabitants should welcome Memorial Day weekend partiers the same way they roll out the red carpet for spring breakers and house music fans.
African-American visitors deserve the same level of respect.
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