Everyone has chimed in on the arrest of African-American scholar Henry Louis Gates Jr by the Cambridge, Massachusetts police almost two weeks ago as a “teachable” moment. If there are any lessons to be taught, its solely for those who have been under illusions about the reality of race relations in the United States. Whether it’s the corporate media assembling clueless panels of propagandists disguised as “political analysts,” post-racial pontificators, or even scholars who are surprised that their stature doesn’t insulate them from racial profiling, racism is back in the spotlight saying ‘hello, sunshine!’
For those who don’t need a lesson, this is an opportunity to share! Blacks and Latinos have always been disproportionately targeted by law enforcement officials. This is so commonplace, but since the experiences of people of color are ignored, statistical evidence exists in abundance to corroborate their claims. It’s just like President Barack Obama originally said as a matter of fact before he backtracked and invited Gates and Sergeant Crowley to a round of beers at the White/Yard House.
So, donpalabraz.com readers, have you been harassed by the police before? Have they paid a visit to your house? They have to mine! A couple of years ago, I was blasting Mars Volta one weekend morning surfing the internet when two Anaheim police men showed up at my door. Apparently, someone had called them to my house to investigate a “suspicious smell!” Never one to turn down an opportunity for a smart ass joke, I replied, “Well, I haven’t showered yet! Maybe that’s it!” Of course, the cop wasn’t amused as I learned that the supposed offending odor was to be that of marijuana.
At this point, the other policeman at my door opened the screen door too wide and sent it crashing into the wind chimes hanging from my front patio. Again, on the defensive, I remained inside my house but uttered “nice one there, buddy!” His partner swiftly backed him up saying “he didn’t mean to do that.” I was being an asshole, because this was an exercise in futility. Some racist neighbor of mine thought that they smelled pot and sent the Anaheim police to the house where the Mexicans lived. The two cops at my door had no search warrant, but asked me if I had any friends over and countless other stupid questions.
In short, they had nothing, and once they realized as much, I shut the door on them and went about my day readying a shower. It was supposed to be the end of it all, yet after I got out of the shower fifteen minutes later, I peeped into my front lawn from a bedroom window only to see the two policemen searching around my Yucca plant. Seriously! How embarrassing must it have been to have them snooping around the property for a considerable amount of time in plain view of all my neighbors? Plus, they had lied, saying they were going about their ways. Well, before I could say anything, the two policemen finally did get into their car and drove away.
Now, about that beer Mr. President…I’ll take an Arrogant Bastard Ale!