a white woman talking honestly about her experiences
June 17, 2020 9:02 AM   Subscribe

@KristaVernoff When I was 15, I was chased through a mall by police who were yelling “Stop thief!” I had thousands of dollars of stolen merchandise on me. I was caught, booked, sentenced to 6 months of probation, required to see a parole officer weekly. I was never even handcuffed. THREAD:
When I was 18, I was pulled over for drunk driving. When the Police Officer asked me to blow into the breathalyzer, I pretended to have asthma and insisted I couldn’t blow hard enough to get a reading.

The officer laughed then asked my friends to blow and when one of them came up sober enough to drive, he let me move to the passenger seat of my car and go home with just a verbal warning.

When I was 19, I got angry at a girl for flirting with my sister’s boyfriend and drunkenly attacked her in the middle of a party. I swung a gallon jug of water, full force, at her head. The police were never called.

When I was twenty, with all of my strength, I punched a guy in the face -- while we were both standing two feet from a cop. The guy went to the ground and came up bloody and screaming that he wanted me arrested, that he was pressing charges.

The cop pulled me aside and said, “You don’t punch people in front of cops,” then laughed and said that if I ever joined the police force he’d like to have me as a partner. I was sent into my apartment and told to stay there.

Between the ages of 11 and 22, my friends and I were chased and/or admonished by police on several occasions for drinking or doing illegal drugs on private property or in public. I have no criminal record.

If I had been shot in the back by police after the shoplifting incident - in which I knowingly and willfully and soberly and in broad daylight RAN FROM THE COPS – would you say I deserved it?

I’m asking the white people reading this to think about the crimes you’ve committed. (Note: You don't call them crimes. You and your parents call them mistakes.) Think of all the mistakes you’ve made that you were allowed to survive.
@ava "one of the best threads on the criminalization of Black people that I’ve read lately."
posted by katra (6 comments total)

This post was deleted for the following reason: poster's request -- LobsterMitten

Yeah this is vaguely interesting, and obviously anecdotally consistent with what has been statistically proven: white kids with privilege get away with more than kids of color and poor kids.

But this absolute focus on the individual as the site of change creates suggests such a poor understanding of how social realities change, and is a political dead-end without a wider plan for dismantling oppression. At its best, it may help a few people become aware; at its worst, its just liberal virtue signaling, like a Starbucks anti-racism statement. The world doesn't change by every single individual person become "aware" of their personal experience racial disparities - it changes through solidarity, organizing, and making radical demands that can't be ignored.
posted by RajahKing at 9:33 AM on June 17 [3 favorites]

I’m asking the white people reading this to think about the crimes you’ve committed. (Note: You don't call them crimes. You and your parents call them mistakes.) Think of all the mistakes you’ve made that you were allowed to survive.

I should have committed many more crimes, apparently.
posted by Going To Maine at 9:34 AM on June 17

Yeah, I have been thinking about this. Like the time I passed out, drunk, in my front yard because I had forgotten my keys and I didn't want to wake up my roommate, and got woken up by a City Of Atlanta cop that someone had called. I told him what happened and we had a good laugh about it and he let me start knocking on the door. No chokehold stage!
posted by thelonius at 9:41 AM on June 17

Metafilter: mmm, yeah this is vaguely interesting
posted by Flashman at 9:45 AM on June 17 [2 favorites]

Saw this yesterday and it read as a humblebrag to me.
posted by MillMan at 9:55 AM on June 17

I'm torn, because I think for white people who have been thinking about this for a while, yeah, it's obvious and reads kinda like a humble brag or virtue signal.

But right now, it appears that lots more white people who weren't as fully engaged with anti-racist work are stopping to think a little bit more about what is happening. I personally don't know exactly what made this moment that much different than the hundreds of other higher-profile deaths of Black people at the hands of police, but if a story like this from a white person can help those people think a little harder, by relating to something they relate to ("wow, I actually also had a giggle with a cop when I stole stuff and never thought that everyone didn't get that treatment"), well, I'm all for it. Even if, to me, it seems insane that they wouldn't have thought about this until now.

Is this message actually reaching those people? That's the question. And I fully agree that there needs to be a follow-up to storytelling, which is action. But lots of times, sharing an anecdote can start that.
posted by knownassociate at 10:04 AM on June 17 [1 favorite]

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