I’m Going To Say Some Things You Might Not Like About Police and Racial Profiling
As I made my way home from work today, I was needlessly followed by a cop for the last two and a half blocks of my trip.
When I say needlessly, I mean I was still dressed in my work clothes (I labor for a contracting company) and was carrying a strawberry milkshake with whipped cream on top.
I don’t know what kind of crime I could have possibly fit the description for, unless someone just had their house unlawfully renovated against their will and the perpetrator made himself a strawberry milkshake before making his swift getaway. And also managed to find a McDonald’s cup to put said milkshake in.
I was tired, sweaty, and miserable as I just painted all day. It is August in Philadelphia, sweaty and miserable just come with the territory.
After work I had a half hour drive with a coworker to the bus station he drops me off at everyday before I take a twenty minute, always chaotic bus trip, before concluding my trip with the 25 minute walk from where I get off the bus to my house.
I don’t deserve or want a trophy for doing what I have to and what society thinks I’m supposed to do everyday. I’ll do it until I find a way around it.
What I don’t need is to be followed by police without warrant, on my way home from working all day. By a cop who I looked to be five years his senior.
I wish I could have took a picture of this fucking kid and make no mistake about it, he was indeed a kid. A kid with aviator’s on who has probably been on the job less than a year, who took one look at me and decided he simply didn’t like what he saw, so why not follow me unlawfully.
I don’t know why he chose to “tail” me slowly as I made my way on foot up the three block stretch from my old high school to my house but I have a few theories. Here are those theories.
He saw the Beats By Dre headphones I use to drown the world out on my commute to and from work everyday and was super jealous he doesn’t have a pair.
His untrained eye mistook my prominent Native American heritage for Mexican lineage, he voted for Trump, saw my under paid day laborers uniform and figured he’d do his part to make America great again.
No surer way of doing that than to subtly harass people you think are of the nationality you incorrectly and ignorantly believe are taking jobs from “your people”, whatever the fuck that even means. Jobs “your people” weren’t taking when they were open but hey who has time for honesty or things like facts and figures when you’re busy being racist.
Wait, I actually can’t touch on that point without driving it all the way home. There is a great “South Park” episode where they poke fun at the whole disillusioned “take our jobs” rhetoric. Here it is.
As funny as it may be, this is really what racism and ignorance looks like, utter ridiculousness. This is how you look when you claim “Muslims should not be allowed in this Country”or “I’ll gladly help pay for the wall”.
You know who uses walls to keep people out? Fucking Game of Thrones characters do, in order to keep wild lings and white walkers out.
As much as I love John Snow and his Northerners, I’d like to think we’re at least slightly more evolved as a species then The Starks or Lannisters were.
Here is the reality; as a part Native American and Irish white male, I have been stopped without legitimate reason by cops over ten times in my life. I was “lucky” enough to not be stopped this particular time.
I can say, without a doubt that each and every one of those times I was stopped without just cause by a cop was based off of how I looked.
From the ethnicity they thought I was, to the clothes I chose to wear that day. As a white male who has a completely clean criminal record, I have been stopped while wearing a hoodie no less than seven times.
For anyone who wants to assume I’m being presumptuous in assuming cops who stopped me over the years were wrongly assuming my race; a bike cop once asked my female cousin who I was with when they stopped us “Why a nice girl like her was dating a thug like him” before marking my ethnicity down as Latino without asking me what ethnicity I was.
Not only did he wrongly assume my race, he wrongly assumed I was dating my cousin. I love her and all but I have no romantic interests in family.
Perhaps that is why that specific cop stopped us that night, because he thought he saw a teenage male of Latino descent walking up an alley with a good looking young white female. I mean, he made it clear that is indeed what he thought he had seen, as wrong as he was on both accounts.
All of this brings me to these main points. We need to be less quick to judge. We need to live with more empathy and compassion. Let’s try not always assuming the worst about each other and live and let live for a bit.
I know there is someone somewhere who was bothered by just the title of this article, I’ll be honest, I don’t care. I said nothing offensive except to people who are looking for a reason to be offended. If you read the title, assumed I was racist or wanted all cops dead and didn’t bother to read further, I can’t help you. You are the problem I’m speaking of actually. Presumptuous and unnecessary anger. Misplaced hate based off your past experiences.
Can we all be slightly less politically correct and fragile and a little more open and honest?
That is the only hope we have of growing and evolving as a species as a whole, to try and understand each other a little bit better.
To any cop who read the title and has never been guilty of any of the infractions below it, bravo good sir or madam. The reality is you have coworkers who do the opposite on a daily basis and you know it. I commend you for the job you do every day and have nothing but respect for your profession, just none for the ones who use the power they were granted to abuse and harass those they swore to serve and protect.