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Busting the Brass Ceiling: How One Heroic Cop Changed the Face of Policing

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Adicionado recentemente pormsoul13, LyndaInOregon, kristincedar, EarlyReviewers
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Esta resenha foi escrita no âmbito dos Primeiros Resenhistas do LibraryThing.
NOTE: I won a free eBook copy of this book in MOBI format from LibraryThing's Early Reviewers (October 2020).

The fact that this book exists is nothing short of a miracle. How lucky are we that a grad student inquired into the life of Fanchon Blake, which spurred the publication of this memoir. For Blake's story is more timely and relevant than ever. Blake & Gross give readers a first-hand account of the abuses in the 20th Century policing system, some of which (such as excessive use of force) remain unresolved. Though it took nearly her entire lifetime, Blake won a major victory for women and minorities everywhere through her back-and-forth war on misogyny and discrimination that culminated in a major state court victory. I was completely in awe of her bravery. The book's latter chapters dissolve into a play-by-play of the legal proceedings, which I felt detracted a bit from the flow of Blake's story. However, the final scene in which Blake is honored at a banquet attended by later generations of female police officers serves as a fitting ending. ( )
  msoul13 | Dec 17, 2020 |
Esta resenha foi escrita no âmbito dos Primeiros Resenhistas do LibraryThing.
It blows my mind that this case was decided like... the year after my parents got married. The first class was the year my sister was born. Fanchon Blake, god rest her soul, fought bad guys and then fought the guys who were supposed to be on her side. I just can’t believe this type of systematic sexism existed that recently, I’m not dumb or blind, but it just blows my mind. ( )
1 vote kristincedar | Nov 9, 2020 |
Esta resenha foi escrita no âmbito dos Primeiros Resenhistas do LibraryThing.
Disclosure: An electronic copy of this book was provided in exchange for review by co-author Linden Gross, via Library Thing.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

This crisp memoir deals with one woman’s battle against entrenched and institutionalized bias against female police officers within the Los Angeles Police Department. And though the landmark court decision which opened the way for women and minorities to achieve equal opportunities in law enforcement careers was issued in 1980, many of the underlying issues Blake addressed continue to haunt police departments across the country.

Blake’s personal story is irretrievably woven into her personal experiences, but Gross, who co-authored and assisted in preparing the manuscript for publication, has wisely kept the focus on the LAPD policies and on the fight for equal opportunity. The book is well-organized, clearly written, and maintains its quietly confident point of view without histrionics or grandstanding. The reader clearly understands the personal toll the battle took on Blake’s personal life and on her physical and emotional health, but they’re never allowed to hijack the main thrust of the book.

Class action lawsuits, which Blake’s complaints eventually became, do not lend themselves well to exciting reading experiences. The ins and outs of the courtroom battles are summarized, but even so take up about a third of the content. Much more interesting are accounts of Blake’s attempts to get the attention and support of power and influential people within Los Angeles’ city government, which had largely been content to allow its police department to run unfettered by the realities of the Civil Rights Act, and of her quick and brutal education about the realities of what it takes to mount a lawsuit against a powerful institution.

One of the few complaints the reader might raise is the absence of any photographs of the major players. It's a minor quibble, but selected photos would have added to the reading experience in general.

There are a lot of heroes in this book, and a fair number of villains. The restrictions on female officers during Blake’s tenure range from ridiculous (walking a beat in hose, high heels, and mandatory girdle) to infuriating (physical performance scores purposely altered to prevent female applicants from passing the required tests). It’s difficult to determine what is more breathtakingly awful – the department’s cavalier disregard for Title VII requirements, or its arrogant assumption that they could get away indefinitely with the discrimination. In the current atmosphere of unrest over interactions between law enforcement and minority communities, it’s worthwhile to be reminded that one person’s stand against injustice can prevail. ( )
1 vote LyndaInOregon | Nov 3, 2020 |
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