Let the witch-hunt begin.
July 13, 2000 6:24 AM   Subscribe

Let the witch-hunt begin. Truthfully, I don't blame the police one bit for taking the guy down as hard as they did... he resisted arrest 2-3 times as well as exchanged gunfire with them twice before they subdued him.
posted by da5id (71 comments total)
Sure -- as long as they keep beating on Black guys, who cares?
posted by sudama at 7:44 AM on July 13, 2000

My opinion had nothing to do with whether the guy was black or not... He could have been white, purple, yellow, red for all I care.

Stupid, ignorant comments like that are what continue to create a divide between people.
posted by da5id at 8:06 AM on July 13, 2000

Yes, I'm sure the fact that he was shooting at them and stole their car had nothing to do with it.
posted by Nyarlathotep at 8:16 AM on July 13, 2000

Perhaps an apology from the Philadelphia police for the non-intervention of their hundred-year-previous brethren in the trade of slaves would make everybody feel better about this incident? Because you know the suspect stole the car, shot the officer, resisted arrest and bit that guy's arm because his ancestors were oppressed...
posted by m.polo at 8:46 AM on July 13, 2000

Now, this may not be obvious to a majority of the population, but while it seems perfectly understandable based on human nature for police officers in the aftermath of a highly charged chase/gunfight to continue beating up on an apprehended suspect until their adrenaline levels subside, it seems to me the whole reason for hiring and paying professional law enforcement officers is to have people who will sometimes act contrary to human nature in order to do their job (do any of you have jobs where you are allowed to act however your adrenaline takes you?).

And, until we repeal that pesky constitutional thing about "innocent until proven guilty", then police who try to perform "street justice" are only helping the guilty to avoid real justice and doing a disservice to the people they are supposed to protect. Police misconduct helps the guilty to go free, as proven here in L.A. where the Rampart police scandal has resulted in the freeing of 85 convicted felons, a majority of whom did deserve to be in jail. What do you want? A police department with hiring standards the punk they were chasing could qualify for?
posted by wendell at 9:50 AM on July 13, 2000

First off, I hate cops. They all have mustaches, they squeek when they walk.
That said, they have a crummy, necessary job. I think for the most part they are a professional force that does not use excessive force. There must be thousands of arrests every day, and only a few beatings like this a year. When these beatings occur it always seems to be some over the top scumbag who pushed them beyond the norm and stressed them out. Where are we supposed to get people with such professional standards that they can supress their own ego entirely? Could such a person even care enough to do the job?
posted by thirteen at 10:27 AM on July 13, 2000

i think wendell pretty much hit everything i was going to say.

but ill end with this, as someone who _has_ had excessive and unnessasary force used on them by police officers, allowing police and mouthing that it's okay to beat someone because they shot at them and or resisted arrest, only encourages more of the same occurance until it become more of the norm and starts occuring for more "less acceptable circumstances".
posted by sikk at 11:08 AM on July 13, 2000

The only reason our society allows cops to act this way is because the majority can look at the TV, shrug, and say "this will never happen to me," safe in the knowledge that their white skin will protect them.
posted by sudama at 11:17 AM on July 13, 2000

That is such a narrow-minded, ignorant view sudama. People like you continually perpetuate racism by making irresponsible comments like that. I have had white friends who have been "roughed-up" by the police. So don't go around thinking that it only happens to "black" skinned people.

By making statements like that, you constantly bring about a division between skin color when that isn't always necessarily the case.
posted by da5id at 11:42 AM on July 13, 2000

Besides, that, you are correct on one point sudama. You're right when you say I look at the T.V. and shrug and say "this will never happen to me." Not because the color of my skin, but because:

#1 - I wouldn't steal a car.
#2 - I wouldn't resist arrest.
#3 - I wouldn't shoot at the police and injure one while resisting.
#4 - I wouldn't steal a police cruiser while resisting.
#5 - I wouldn't lead the police on a high-speed chase while resisting.
#6 - I wouldn't take a cop's gun and use it to shoot at them while they are trying to apprehend me.
#7 - I wouldn't fight the cops trying to pull me out of the stolen police cruiser.
#8 - I wouldn't do any of the above. Peroid.

But I guess that is beside the point. I forgot we are in a society where the criminal has more rights then the victims.

Where the news media is the one who decides who is guilty and who isn't. Where the news media can put any kind of spin on any situation.

Someone above mentioned innocent until proven guilty, but that also goes for the Police as well. They are innocent until proven guilty.
posted by da5id at 11:54 AM on July 13, 2000

Sudama has opened my eyes. I had no idea my skin color allows me to shoot police officers and steal cars.

Also I agree with Wendel on that we probably don't have jobs that allows us to give into some kind of adrenaline frenzy, but I'm also going to bet we don't all of have jobs where lots of people are trying to kill us.

posted by Nyarlathotep at 12:19 PM on July 13, 2000

white people have to go out of their way to get harassed by the cops. all a Black person has to do is wear baggy pants. as long as that's the case, any police action against a person of color is automatically suspect in my book.
posted by sudama at 12:44 PM on July 13, 2000

racism doesnt belong on mf. i dont find it particularly acceptable by stereotyping a bunch of people and hinting that we are racist ourselves.

its sad that one could walk through life with such inane views of people. i don't know if youre trying to be funny or serious sudama, either way, it's not fucking cool.

you were on the right track and you probably could of dug deeper and proved a valid point, that people think "this will never happen to me". but it has nothing to do with the color of anyones skin.

it's people like you that keep our community, society, country, and world at war. try dealing on the real problem and come up with a fucking solution instead of using some lame cop-out of "it's not fair".

it's not fair. and thats just how life is, period. i don't wear "baggy pants", so i probably have no fucking clue of what im talking about. i was unaware that all black people wore baggy pants however.

fuck racism, and fuck you.
posted by sikk at 12:55 PM on July 13, 2000

I'm amazed sudama keeps posting when the denizens of MeFi can't beat up on his/her ideas enough.

Look sikk, sudama did not say that all black people wear baggy pants-- you've already made up your mind that sudama isn't cool, so you took it that way. But that's NOT what s/he said.

What sudama said was that police officers often harass black people if said black people happen to wear baggy pants. Why? Because the baggy pants fashion statement supposedly originated with drug dealers. (Actually it seems to have come more from hip hop and rave culture, but who knows for sure.)

And sudama is right: police officers harass black people more often than white people, often for little reason. Michael Moore has done shows about this on The Awful Truth. You can read about it in the newspaper. It's not exactly a secret. And it seems like an awfully big coincidence that the majority of police beatings have involved cops piling up on a black guy. Maybe that's just the cases we hear about, but I wonder.

I also think sudama's views on race are somewhat over the top and militant. But s/he has a point, which everyone seems to be missing, because they're falling all over themselves denying that skin color has anything to do with anything. Well, contrary to our best intentions, sorry-- it does.

Are we all so defensive about race, about being part of the (largely white, mostly well-off) online community where supposedly "nobody knows you're a dog", that we have to attack anyone who points out that race still plays a big part in real world events?
posted by wiremommy at 1:21 PM on July 13, 2000

Sudama's still upset because of a previous discussion about racism and baggy pants, I think.

While (once again, Sudama) I'm not sure that racism played into this particular incident, I would be upset if a mob of police in my city had been videotaped as they beat and kicked a man for 30 seconds, even if he was a flagrantly criminal asshole who had shot at them and who deserved to go to jail for a long, long time. The police have a tough job, but one of the reasons it's so tough is that you are not allowed to beat people up, even if they deserve it.

Seriously, I have the greatest respect for most of the police officers I've ever met, but I think it's absurd to say that the deserve to have the crap kicked out of him by men (and women?) sworn to uphold the law because "pushed them beyond the norm and stressed them out," and I think that it does a disservice to majority of cops to say that this behavior is somehow normal and should be accepted.
posted by snarkout at 1:24 PM on July 13, 2000

Sudama's obviously going to keep going off on irrelevant tangents to try to make his point, so I'm going to move on.

This isn't a racist matter, period. Even Philly's black community leaders say so outright. And if you need more proof, bother to watch the video. Half the cops hitting this guy are black.

So all we're left with is the possibility of "police brutality." Brutality against a nutcase who:

1) Carjacked a Chevy Cavalier from an innocent woman. (For those of you not clear, "carjacking" means stealing the car by violently threatening and/or attacking another human in the middle of the street, not merely hotwiring an unattended car in a parking lot.)

2) Initiated a high-speed chase in said Cavalier when the cops found him.

3) Hit another car during that chase, injuring the two innocent people in that car.

4) When the cops surrounded him after this crash, he resisted arrest violently, then escaped and jumped into a police car.

5) He then started shooting at the cops. (Whether the gun was "his own" or whether he grabbed it from one of the cops isn't known.)

6) Succeeded in shooting one of the cops.

7) Sped off in the stolen police car.

8) Finally got cornered after another mile-long high speed chase.

9) Was yanked out of the car, where he continued to violently resist arrest.

So this guy - who, by the way, is 6'2" and 250 lbs, not some little puny kid - who threatened a woman, hurt two people after a high speed chase, violently resisted arrest and then SHOT A COP, while trying to shoot a whole many more, was considered a violent psychopath, quite possibly STILL ARMED, after being pulled out of the car and thrown onto the ground, until he was in a position where it was certain he could no longer pose a threat to anybody. Quelle surprise!

posted by aaron at 1:26 PM on July 13, 2000

And, ignoring the specifics of this case, Wiremommy's right: anyone who denies that black people get more flak from cops than white people is deluding themselves.
posted by snarkout at 1:26 PM on July 13, 2000

white people have to go out of their way to get harassed by the cops.

Pathetically untrue. What world do you live in???

all a Black person has to do is wear baggy pants.

Hmmm... We have punks and skate-boarders and Goths around here that are harrassed constantly by the police... a lot of them wear baggy pants, and 95% of them are white.

Keep Perpetuating the division between colors, and there will always be racists on both sides.
posted by da5id at 1:28 PM on July 13, 2000

Wiremommy, nobody's saying that racism doesn't exist in society. What we're saying is that sudama's own posts are themselves racist, and that he's ignoring the thread in order to make his point ... a point that, taken to its logical conclusion, is essentially saying police have no right to arrest black people because some US citizens are racist.

And I hate to break it to you, but it's not MeFi, or the "online community" that's largely white, it's the country that is. And that fact doesn't really have anything to do with any of this anyway.
posted by aaron at 1:34 PM on July 13, 2000

Sorry, wiremommy, race only plays the part in real life that we allow it to play. You don't want race to be a determining factor in how we deal with each other on a daily basis? Then stop relentlessly drawing attention to race in every discussion of every event.

To determine from a 30 second videotape, many miles away, that those police officers on the ground were acting as "racists" in their treatment of the suspect who was beaten is the sort of absurdist, lookingglass-logic these counter-racists employ. Sudama and his ilk must be getting something out of the continued foment of racial disharmony, but frankly, neither I nor my black husband can figure out what it must be...
posted by m.polo at 1:39 PM on July 13, 2000

Wiremommy never said that the police officers were "acitng as 'racists' in their treatment of the suspect"; she said "police officers harass black people more often than white people, often for little reason" and noted that the police brutality cases we hear about seem to dispoportionately involve black suspects. If you don't agree with either of her assertations, refute them, but don't dismiss an argument that she never made.
posted by snarkout at 1:43 PM on July 13, 2000

>>you are not allowed to beat people up...

Yes you are, in cases where that's what is required to stop the person from being an imminent threat to the life of the police officers trying to arrest him.

When discussing things like this, people seem to forget that just because a cop formally says "You are under arrest," or points a gun at the person, or has fifteen cops on his side versus the one perp, that the perp will not automatically become a docile, sane human being 100% of the time. Sometimes they continue to be violent and extremely dangerous. In this case, the guy was shot five times even before he drove off on that last mile-long chase. Even before he continued to violently resist arrest at the end.

There are plenty of people out there that can be shot a number of times, pepper sprayed dozens of times in the face at point-blank range, piled on by ten huge guys, and still keep on fighting like he'd never been touched. Yet the police are always wrong, 100% of the time, if they have to use any force themselves to get the person arrested. Sorry, but I won't accept that blindly.
posted by aaron at 1:44 PM on July 13, 2000

People of color do get harassed more often. I can't argue against that. I've witnessed it myself happening to friends of mine right in front of me. Cops will ignore me and question them with suspicion. So there is an argument for this. But this particular incident should not be used as proof for that argument. The man involved regardless of his skin color was behaving like a lunatic. He was trying to kill the police. He's fortunate he was just beaten. He should have been killed.
posted by Nyarlathotep at 1:45 PM on July 13, 2000

what was said basically in summary is that all cops are racist and beat up black people. (such would have to be the case to even remotely consider anything sudama is saying)

which is the dumbest thing ive heard. im by no means implying that there arent racist cops, or that there arent racist people (obviously racism exists, its being demonstrated right here on this post).

what i am saying is that racism is not a one shot answer to occurances. not everyone revolves around the colors black and white like a couple of you idiots above.

at anyrate, this post has become obscene and insane. i have no need to continue reading it nor replying to it.
posted by sikk at 1:47 PM on July 13, 2000

Snark, IMHO the "racist" argument in this case is an attempt to sidetrack the true meaning of what happened here. It isn't relevant, and I won't fall into that trap.
posted by aaron at 1:48 PM on July 13, 2000

Well, from the CNN story:
The WPVI images of Wednesday's incident show a swarming group of about a dozen plainclothes and uniformed officers -- some of them punching and kicking the captured Jones while other officers watch.
Does that sound like the police were using the minimum necessary force to subdue a possibly dangerous prisoner? Does it sound like a misjudgment of the level of threat the prisoner provided? If you think it sounds like the latter, then you think the behavior of the police in this incident is defensible. I can understand that. Now, read through all the above posts and tell me if it doesn't sound like some people are condoning police brutality as a way for cops to work off their aggression. I truly think that most cops are better than that and that those who aren't shouldn't be cops.
posted by snarkout at 1:52 PM on July 13, 2000

Anyone who fits any number of perceived "types" that have been observed to be tendentially engaged in criminal activities by police officers is going to be harrassed by officers more frequently than those who do not. Whether those types are people who wear baggy pants, or Communists, or Native Americans, is really irrelevant. Officers are an embodiment of the public's fears about certain segments of the population, no matter what those segments consist of. People currently are scared of black people, in the most general sense, and imagine that they commit a greater percentage of crimes. Whether they do or not is irrelevant. If in the future a few decades, ozone depletion allows solar radiation to kill off 80% of white people and render the other 20% infertile, you can bet their dire circumstances would lead them to make desperate behavioural choices, and they would become the new perpetual target of law enforcement. Black people in this country are in a situation where their survival is inherently less likely, thus giving them the motivation to find means of livelihood which may be less acceptable to the majority of people.
posted by donkeymon at 1:52 PM on July 13, 2000

To address the actual topic of the thread, BTW, I think sudama is wrong in this case. This guy was armed and dangerous and unusual force was almost certainly called for. When things seemed to begin to get out of hand, you can see some of the cops kind of pulling the others off the guy. I don't believe this was a racist incident.

But I am concerned with the enormous hostility directed towards sudama. Yes, s/he is quite militant, somewhat oversensitive to race, and rather strident.

But then again, this is a discussion board and s/he is discussing a valid aspect of the thread. As Aaron points out, even Philly's black leadership spoke out and said this incident was not racist. However, the fact that they felt the need to speak out shows that they had concerns about how the racial aspect of the incident would be perceived.

Incidentally, Ted Rall wrote a scathing editorial on police brutality. To paraphrase him, I think we can safely say that in this particular case, when the cops KNOW this guy shot a cop, they have to use whatever force they feel is necessary to keep a known shooter of cops from shooting again.
posted by wiremommy at 1:56 PM on July 13, 2000

"Black people in this country are in a situation where their survival is inherently less likely"

What the hell does that mean? I had no idea Afro-Americans were heading towards extinction. Perhaps the EPA should pass some measures.
posted by Nyarlathotep at 2:02 PM on July 13, 2000

Wiremommy, the other way to read the apparent necessity the black community in Philly felt to speak out might be the far more practical political strategy known as "distancing."
posted by m.polo at 2:13 PM on July 13, 2000

Unusual force is called for, but it doesn't apply here. The guy was taken under custody and THEN the police proceeded to beat the crap out of him. See the difference? Use unusual force in order to bring under control. Use normal force once brought under control.
posted by evilmaryellen at 2:14 PM on July 13, 2000

That being said, I see no reason to believe that racism has anything to do with this case.

The police will vehemently defend one of their own. Not always a bad thing, but combined with a hostile and rapidly developing situation and a mob mentality, it is easy to see how such an event could occur. That it does not occur more often is a credit to the majority of law enforcement personnel out there. They are continually provoked by a hostile and distrustful populace who see them as the tools of an elite few used to prevent anything that could disrupt the rich and powerful's riches and power. And who is to say that as a whole they are not? But individually, they are still working class people, who put their lives on the line every day for what they believe in, or in some cases for the petty sense of self worth that comes from even the smallest amount of authority.

None of them want to be killed, any more than anyone else does, but they are in a situation where the opportunity from time to time will present itself to highlight for the general public just how much they do not wish to be killed, and what they can do to people who would try. Sure, training, and oversight, prevents this bahaviour the vast majority of times, but no system is 100%.
posted by donkeymon at 2:17 PM on July 13, 2000

I feel strongly about issues of race, gender, sexuality, all the big ways people categorize and stereotype one another. But I know something sudama seems to have not yet figured out: when you boil EVERYTHING down to an issue of discrimination, all you do is piss people off. Maybe that's why sudama's getting the shit kicked out of him on this thread (gosh, wonder if he's black, perhaps what we have here is a hate crime right on MetaFilter?)----because police brutality is something every American should be very concerned about, and when you jump in and go "oh, it's all about racism", all that does is get people at one another's throats on the highly volatile subject of race, and people forget all about the actual issue, which in the case of police brutality has nothing to do with race in and of itself!

If this thread hadn't gone down this road, I might have thought to post the question Where does the line get drawn? How much of an immediate threat must an individual be before he gets what's coming to him from the cops? And who are any of us to judge the level of that threat sitting here safely behind our computers? It's all nice to think the police can resolve every situation without ever having to so much as raise their voices but this is the real world, and even cops with the highest regard for human life and dignity can probably put all that abstract theorizing aside when confronted with a guy with a gun and no regard for human life at all.

However, this topic *did* get out of hand right away, and as a result what I feel most compelled to say is that I've been mistreated by the police too. Not physically, no. Only your basic power-trip harrassment. You can get arrested in this country for having an attitude problem, it turns out. And I'm as white as they come.

'Course, the cop who arrested me for being surly was black... boy, more hate crimes, where the hell is the national association for the advancement of caucasian people when you need it?

see how pissy otherwise rational and sympathetic people can be when confronted with militancy? I can't imagine anyone here thinks policemen should be allowed to beat anyone they wish, and I can't imagine anyone here thinks it's right to make any assumptions about whether a person's a criminal or a threat based on his skin color, but we're all at one another's throats, anyway.

Thank you, sudama. As usual you're doing a hell of a job at enlightening us all.
posted by Sapphireblue at 2:19 PM on July 13, 2000

As a white person, as a general rule, I don't have to worry about this--that's the very definition of white privilege. As an affluent, straight, white guy, I have to go out of my way to get the machinery of society bearing down on me, and I think that it's important for me to keep that in mind that I always have that advantage. I'll never be stopped for driving while black.

Let me mention the Times piece on race relations among undercover cops in Harlem, which I thought was one of the best pieces they've published in years. You may disagree, of course.

Was race a factor in this incident? I think those of us who aren't Sudama can agree that it wasn't. Is there a pattern of police mistreatment of minorities? I think you have to be consciously ignoring the evidence of things like racial profiling to say that the answer to this is no. And ignoring the fact that it's a violating of what America stands for, using race in one's mental profile of "criminal" often leads to tragedy.
posted by snarkout at 2:20 PM on July 13, 2000

This is about the ugliest 'discussion' I've seen online in a while. (I do go out of my way to avoid 'em though)

> What the hell does that mean?

It means if you're born black in the United States there's more of a chance you'll die a violent death.

This is about the ugliest, (both sides), thread I've seen on MetaFilter, or anywhere, in a long time. The few people trying to engage in reasonable discussion are being out-shouted by folks more interested in rhetoric than in understanding . . .
posted by alana at 2:23 PM on July 13, 2000

"Black people in this country are in a situation where their survival is inherently less likely"

What I meant by that is that if you are born an African American in this country, you are stistically less likely to be born into wealth or into a safe environment, less likely to receive the education you need to succeed, and more likely to become a victim of the system. They are not headed towards extinction. In fact, I predicted in the same comment that white people are headed towards extinction. It is simply my belief that the African American born in America today has it a little harder on average than the Caucasian.

posted by donkeymon at 2:23 PM on July 13, 2000

Hey, if Sudama wants to start a new thread about his point, then I'll be happy to take his complaint at face value and debate it there. Just don't attatch it to this case and attempt to sidetrack a not-really-related thread when it's just getting started.
posted by aaron at 2:26 PM on July 13, 2000

I think that the reason this discussion is turning towards the racial issue so much is that there is not too much else here to discuss. I think that everyone here can agree that they would not like their own ass kicked by some cop who is having a bad day, and that violent offenders need to be dealt with in a proportionate way, and that police are not intended to act as judges or take any punitive action against anyone. There is not enough information to decide whether their actions were justified or not, and they may or may not have been, so the discussion becomes a stepping-off point for any number of vaguely related tangents. While potantially irritating, I cannot see what is 'ugly' about this. Perhaps some of the views expressed may be seen as juvenile or uninformed, but that is exactly what forums like this exist to combat.
posted by donkeymon at 2:31 PM on July 13, 2000

>>The guy was taken under custody and THEN the police proceeded to beat the crap out of him.

No, he was not. He was pulled out of the police car and they got him on the ground. Being horizontal does not mean you are no longer an imminent threat to people inches away from you (especially if you still have a gun on you), and certainly doesn't mean you are "in custody" (if he was "in custody," why couldn't they even get the cuffs on him?).
posted by aaron at 2:38 PM on July 13, 2000

Guy commits attempted murder on police officer, puts thousands of innocent bystanders at risk via a car chase, bites, kicks at officers, etc. The guy NEEDED the shit kicked out of him, and probably got less than he deserved. Screw all the bleeding hearts. Assholes come in every color - and assholes are not a minority.
posted by quonsar at 2:40 PM on July 13, 2000

But the cultural issue is larger, donkeymon. It's not just that there is not much else here to discuss; it's that discourse in contemporary America - on any topic, this one included - is so frequently side-tracked onto a discussion of the Evil, Rich, White People stomping on the Poor, Noble, Suffering Black People, usually steered there by a Sudama or someone like him (I fully expect to see video footage of Jesse Jackson in Philadelphia in time for the evening news shows).
posted by m.polo at 2:42 PM on July 13, 2000

sudama - So what are you suggesting we do about it? You have everyone's attention here. Now's your chance.

"any police action against a person of color is automatically suspect in my book"

The only thing that irks me about your posts is they all stop right there. Okay, sure I believe you. Now what?

I think everyone here would give you a lot more support if you were saying something beyond how unfair life is. And most people here will agree that black people get treated differently because of there skin color. So while you have everyone's attention, how about saying something constructive? Everything you've said so far is rather decisive.
posted by y6y6y6 at 2:53 PM on July 13, 2000

Oops - divisive
posted by y6y6y6 at 2:55 PM on July 13, 2000

Aaron, I give you a case in point: "The guy NEEDED the shit kicked out of him, and probably got less than he deserved."

If one thinks the police were behaving with due professional restraint and had to hurt the guy in order to prevent the situation from escalating, that's one thing. If one thinks that it's the job of the police to send people to the hospital, that's another question entirely.

Pardon my bleeding heart for pointing out that there's a reason America has things like courts, trials, and Constitutionally-guaranteed due process.
posted by snarkout at 3:27 PM on July 13, 2000

Boy, I want to post an article about how Kottke, Zeldman, and the other blogger elites are racist in their use of Web standards and mean postings, just to touch off the biggest MeFi flamewar of all time.
posted by snarkout at 3:31 PM on July 13, 2000

It is always interesting in major cases like this. How many laws did this guy break and here he is the victim? Anyone else see something wrong with a person stealing your car, leading a high speed chace, and then grabbing a gun and firing off some shots? True, it never happens to me, however I know if I carried a concealed weapon you would find that some would be car jacker would be dead and all hell would break loose because I had the guts to shoot first. Use all of the stats you want and where does it get you.....nowhere. 4 out of 3 people have no idea what they are trying to prove by using them. True, growing up outside of the city I do not see the crime or difficulties most face, however I never knew a place that couldn't be turned around by putting in a little hard work rather than expecting someone else to do it for them. Anyone hear about the cop hero on the front page of the newspaper? I certainly can't remember a headline telling me what went right in the line of duty.
posted by brent at 3:39 PM on July 13, 2000

As far as I'm concerned, the guy's incredibly lucky the cops didn't shoot to kill. Given that he'd already shot a cop, that would have gone down as a righteous shoot.

*My* question is, if even the black leaders say it wasn't a racist event, why did CNN play the color card so high in the story? Allowing editorialism to sneak into your news writing is a very dangerous thing to do.

(Clarification: writing, because I *expect* it in the story selection; that's why I choose a news outlet. But once you've picked it; write it clean, please.)
posted by baylink at 4:19 PM on July 13, 2000

I would like to ask this -

WHY did this story become about racism against african-americans?

Ok, I come to these points -
1) "Sure -- as long as they keep beating on Black guys, who cares? posted by sudama"

Why would you say that?

Either you meant that the whole beating was race related. In that you think the officers who beat the "Black guy" were racist.

Or, if I correctly understand, you imply that "whites" don't really care about police brutality if it happens to "Black guys". And are racist. All of "whites" are racist.

Is that it?
posted by refund at 4:42 PM on July 13, 2000

I think now, the conversation came to a bit of a hault, because it reached a point where all has been said, and it can only go up one level. Most people don't have the guts to do so, but if they did, it would look something like this
posted by refund at 4:45 PM on July 13, 2000

what i was trying to get at with my first sarcastic remark (sorry about that) is that i believe that the response of the cops would have been different had the perp been white. why do I think that? because, as wiremommy discussed, we rarely (never?) hear of police brutality of this magnitude happening to white people.

i wasn't sure when i posted and am still not sure now to what extent racism played a role in this incident. the only thing i'm sure of is that it did play a role, and that the role it played didn't help the perp nor the cops in this case.

it must seem like i'm taking every opportunity to get up on a soapbox and use metafilter to preach my views, but that's not my intent. i'm simply committed to raising awareness of racial issues and educating people about the functioning of racism. apparently from the response here, i'm not yet that good at it :)

i'm not going to defend myself point-by-point against all of the jabs i've received in this thread, and i'm not going to use this response to counter every thought/opinion with which i disagree. i would like to respond to y6y6y6.

So while you have everyone's attention, how about saying something constructive?

i doubt my answer will be satisfactory, because i'm still searching myself. if the answer were easy or obvious, i suspect a lot of you would already know the answer. from experience i can tell you that one of the main reasons racism persists to this day is that it is a difficult painful soul-searching experience for a white person to confront his or her own racism -- and that until all white people do so, the vicious cycle will continue.

every white person harbors subconscious racial prejudice, and invariably that prejudice affects their behavior at times. every white person benefits from being white in many ways -- this is the so-called "white privilege". many whites claim to be colorblind -- this is an absurd pretense that whites have developed which eases their conscience and keeps them ignorant of the very real role race plays in everyone's life.

so what do we do? well, regarding the topic i believe the bigger issue is that cops should never get out of control like they did in this case. i don't know what to do about that. regarding racism, i can only suggest a first step, which is for every white person to examine themselves and honestly assess their thoughts and feelings about race -- and learn where these thoughts and feelings came from. at that point i can only hope that people with good hearts will see the role they play in racism and commit themselves, like i have, to working to end it.
posted by sudama at 8:23 PM on July 13, 2000

(just when I thought this thread wouldn't go longer)

sudama, thanks for clearing some of your points up, but I have to respond to this:

every white person harbors subconscious racial prejudice

whoah, whoah, whoah. Hold the phone. Let's back up there. How about:

every person harbors subconscious racial prejudice. Every single person, not just the white ones. We all carry prejudice around, from all sorts of sources. Every day we're confronted with unknown people, and there's a little tingle in your head that tries to figure out if the person in front of you can be ignored, should be feared, or is a potential friend. Prejudice is simply pre-judgement, judging something before the fact, and of course is inherently flawed (as nothing is ever judged perfectly all the time).

If you want to commit yourself to ending racism, end all racism, not the just the racism you see in "every white person."
posted by mathowie at 9:20 PM on July 13, 2000

Whites who are sincere should organize themselves and figure out some strategies to break down the prejudice that exists in white communities. This is where they can function more intelligently and more effectively, in the white community itself, and this has never been done.

--Malcolm X
posted by sudama at 9:53 PM on July 13, 2000

we rarely (never?) hear of police brutality of this magnitude happening to white people.

I do believe that if the perpetrator had been white, the outcome would have largely been the same. But we never would have seen such extreme coverage of it by the media. The major media now seems to seek out anything that has the slightest possibility of controversiality, and blow it up on a major scale.
posted by jbelshaw at 9:57 PM on July 13, 2000

Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that. Hate multiplies hate, violence multiplies violence, and toughness multiplies toughness in a descending spiral of destruction....The chain reaction of evil--hate begetting hate, wars producing more wars--must be broken, or we shall be plunged into the dark abyss of annihilation.

--Martin Luther King, Jr., Strength To Love, 1963.

posted by mathowie at 10:02 PM on July 13, 2000

Good start. I'm "white", but I feel strongly about this issue. I agree that talking about it will help. I also agree that it's good to raise awareness on an obnoxiously frequent basis. But I also think you do blacks a disservice with comments like these - "all a Black person has to do is wear baggy pants"

You make it too easy for people to dismiss what you are trying to express. I find your last post more constructive than all of the other posts I've read from you.

I feel emotionally about this issue because I used to date a black woman in Irvine, CA, which is a very white and conservative place. I was able to see unconscious racism on a regular basis. The way most white people treat blacks is ridiculous. It's a joke. I could spend hours recounting stories of how people treated her like a criminal. Without even knowing it.

Blacks get treated like dirt in this country. I believe this is partly caused by the thinly veiled contempt whites have, but I also think it's due to the tendency of blacks to play the race card constantly. It doesn't do any good to just cry "racism." Try offering some suggestions.

If we don't work together nothing will ever get fixed. Try to draw us in instead of just rubbing our nose in it.

"examine themselves and honestly assess their thoughts and feelings about race "

This won't work. People delude themselves. They have to be shown. Whites and blacks need to spend more time together. Make it real.

"every white person harbors subconscious racial prejudice"

And they always will. But blacks are the same way. This seems to be human nature. Same with ugly and stupid people. We know we shouldn't make fun of them, but we do. But when we spend more time with them we start to see the person.

"cops should never get out of control like they did in this case"

Then we should pay them more than we do. I'll bet I make more than any cop in San Diego and the most dangerous thing I do at work is use the caps lock. You want professionals? Then make the pay high enough to attract professional people. You don't train people to be this way.

By the way, if I'm in a black neighborhood I get the same racist treatment the blacks get in white neighborhoods. It goes both ways. It's just a lot easier for me to live my life without going there. I agree it's not fair, but it goes both ways.
posted by y6y6y6 at 10:04 PM on July 13, 2000

jbelshaw said:
"The major media now seems to seek out anything that has the slightest possibility of controversiality, and blow it up on a major scale"

Think of the media microcosm of this site for a few moments. Now imagine that I, as site owner, made money off the number of page views and comments here. Then look back on the last few weeks of postings at MetaFilter and realize this:

If I only posted links that talked about whether or not homosexuality is right, whether or not god/heaven/hell exists, whether or not race is an issue in crimes, or whether or not the death penalty is cruel, each and every thread would be filled with dozens-to-hundreds of posts debating the issues. No matter how many topics about these subjects start, people are willing to talk about them.

Then realize the media does actually make money off the number of people that watch them and maybe you can see why they love to highlight anything that remotely smacks of contreversy: $$$

The race card is played in the media for one simple reason: money.
posted by mathowie at 10:11 PM on July 13, 2000

*Heavy sigh*

Several years ago it was discovered that some insurance companies charged more on car insurance if the person owned a red car. Why? Well, turned out red sportscars happened to get more tickets. Police pulled over more red cars than any other color. Red sportscars also happened to be involved in more accidents.

Prejudice? Probably. Why? Well, they were reacting to what they saw.

I ran out of cigarettes just awhile ago. Threw on some shoes and I went down the street to buy a pack. Been trying to cut back on my smoke intake actually. Anyway.

At about the same time I pulled into the gas station, this other guy pulled in too. I wasn't paying much attention to him. I parked by the building. He parked by a gas pump.

I walked up and got my cigs and paid the cashier. I don't recall ever seeing the guy come in, and I know that you have to pay the attendant before you're allowed to pump gas. It's how this gas station operates.

On my way back to the car, the guy was walking away from his car, with the pump still in the gastank, and headed back around to the back of the gas station. When I got to my car door, I looked back at the corner where the guy disappeared. I lingered there a second. Trying to put together in my head what this guy was doing. He was not pumping gas. Why'd he stop here?

As he reappeared around the corner, he was zipping himself up. Now, there's a perfectly good bathroom inside the gas station, yet this guy stopped at the gas station, made it look like he was pumping gas, and then walked around the outside of the building to pee.

What color was the man? Does it matter? Yes it does. He was black. If he was white, would I have lingered? Would it have registered in my head that this guy was doing something weird? Maybe. Maybe not. If he was a white guy wearing baggy pants would my eye have caught on to this strangeness? Was it that the guy had put the pump in the gas tank but didn't pay and then walked away... was that what caught my eye? People of all colors go to this gas station. I've seen a lot of crazies there.

Are we all a little racist? Maybe. Maybe not. If I were a policeman, and in a given month I noticed that I tend to catch more minorities committing crimes than caucasians, would I think I was racist, or would I just naturally assume that there are more black bad people than white bad people?

I mean do cops honestly have it out for red sportscars, or is it just that red cars tend to be owned by people who like to speed and break traffic laws? Maybe it's because red means stop and green means go. Maybe the traffic lights in our society have affected our accumulative psyche more than we'd readily admit.

Not all black people are bad. Not all white people are good. But if your job is to hunt down and apprehend bad people, and the majority of the ones you apprehend just happen to be black, wouldn't that affect your judgement?

I'm not taking sides in this discussion, because I honestly don't have one. Everyone has had valid points. A very emotionally charged but revealing discussion. We will continue to improve over time with regards to this, so long as we keep talking about it, but we may never be able to ever turn racism into eracism.

Next time I buy a car, I think I'm gonna make it a green one.
posted by ZachsMind at 10:44 PM on July 13, 2000

Zach's story reminds me of the duty-free store I used to work in. We had a complex computer system and had to enter in the person's nationality for marketing purposes. Quite simply, 50% of customers were Japanese yet 90% of sales in dollar terms were to Japanese customers. So concentrating on the non-Japanese meant the amount of money you received as commission was lower. I was just like everyone else and quickly formed opinions on what nationalities spent more money and also which customers were more pleasant based entirely upon nationality. If a Japanese customer and a Chinese customer walked into the store, my focus would be on the Japanese customer. Why? Because experience taught me that I would rather spend 10 minutes raking up a $500 sale to a pleasant and quite Japanese customer than 10 minutes haggling with a Chinese customer demanding a $5 discount on their $50 purchase. Sure I met nice Chinese customers and unpleasant Japanese, and it is bad to sterotype, but I am of the belief that all humans sterotype, it is natural. I imagine if I was a cop I would also sterotype. Surely, this doesn't make me racist.
posted by jay at 1:33 AM on July 14, 2000

ZachsMind, jay - So? Big deal.

We all know that people are different. Because of race, culture, whatever. Are you using that as a defense for cops using race as probable cause?

Here's what I'm talking about: If you go into the store and pay for gas with a twenty, the cashier takes the bill and gives you your change. If that black guy goes in and pays with a twenty, the cashier will hold the bill up to the light.

People go out of their way to MAKE blacks criminals. And it's not right.

"I'm not taking sides in this discussion, because I honestly don't have one. "

Bullshit. Sounds to me like you think it's okay for cops to use race as probable cause. Why don't you say it's wrong? Why don't you advocate the principle that people are innocent until proven guilty? Why don't you stand up for that instead of trying to justify racism?

And if you aren't trying to justify racism then explain to me what the hell you're getting at.
posted by y6y6y6 at 5:52 AM on July 14, 2000

As one whose been... uh... "annoyed"... by sudama's relentlessness in pursuit of keeping racial issues in front of us - and responded emotionally and, on occasion, inappropriately - I'd like to remind him that "it's all in the tone." What sets me and apparently others here off is the attitude and the tone with which we are reminded. I'm not saying we don't need to be reminded, because I know I do - my partner is black and I do think I have a heightened sensitivity to these issues, but at heart I'm still the privileged Fairfield County, CT white guy I was raised to be. I'm willing to be educated; I'm not willing to be harrangued ceaselessly.
posted by m.polo at 6:53 AM on July 14, 2000

People go out of their way to MAKE blacks criminals. And it's not right.

Ugh, why do people insist on continuing to post statements like this? There is absolutely nothing I can do - regardless of how suspicious I may be of black people, or how much I double check their money - that will turn an innocent person into a criminal.
posted by schlyer at 7:39 AM on July 14, 2000

Not to inflame things further, but this story would have been third page news if the guy had been white. All that TV news cares about is ratings and they know they can get ratings by running sensationalized stories that exploit everyone involved. IMHO, the media causes more resentment between ethnic groups than any other factor. Everyone reads the news, don't they?

The cops have no reason kicking anyone, regardless of their skin color, like a dog. I can understand why it happened, though.

posted by Mr. skullhead at 8:11 AM on July 14, 2000

Ok, here's a related meme.

Went to the smut-o-rama last night. Customer in line in front of me wanted to know, rather vehemently, why he had to provide a blank credit slip to rent a movie, when "he didn't have to do that at Blockbuster".

The reason, of course, is that adult movie rental places take a higher loss rate on rented tapes than "traditional" movie rental places. It's all well and good to sit around and assert that there's nothing bad about people that rent adult tapes; you shouldn't stereotype and be stricter.

But the facts are the facts. Adult rental places *do*, in fact, lose more tapes than places renting "Die Hard". It doesn't *matter* why.

What this argument will reduce to, of course, is one side asserting that the odds that a given black youth is involved in something criminal are in fact higher, and it doesn't matter why that's true...

and the other side, since they can't argue the theory, debating the accuracy of the statistics.

I don't have the numbers handy, so I can't make assertions.
I suspect that the odds really are higher, but I think that the solution to that is to find the actual problem and fix it. It's a fact that blacks are only about 15% of the overall population of the US, and there is absolutely not one practical solution to that. So we're all just gonna have to learn to cope.
posted by baylink at 8:57 AM on July 14, 2000

I don't know. It's pretty common to have your 20's and 50's checked. Especially on gas stations.

The thing is, during the years that I've been here, I have yet to see or hear anything remotely racist. As in "white" people condemning the "blacks". It's so idiotic to come out this way that no one bothers to, besides your local KKK (who's also doing some charitable work on the net). It's all very clean.

However, your white middle class family still has an opinion of the subject, that opinion has been toned down drastically over the years, it was something their parents said, something they got in school, work, wherever. They are not going to acknowledge it, and outright deny it. That's how it is.

However, there's a great unbalance here. The black culture is almost the opposite. "Do you ever watch stand-up comedy? Does it strike you odd that while black comedians may freely mock the white lifestyle and stereotype, white comedians cannot target the black Why not? Do you think that there's a lack of material No...It's because of the glaring double standard that, somehow, our society has adopted regarding black/white race relations. YES, it does not only suggest a double standard, but boldly illustrates that the white man and his lifestyle have now been declared open season upon. "White people can't dance!" "Stupid cracka-ass crackas" One may not ever hear the word "NIGGER" on network T.V., yet the terms "WHITE TRASH", "TRAILER TRASH", "CRACKER", "HONKY", etc... are bandied about with absolute freedom. The word "NIGGER", in fact, has received elevation into the ranks of the big ones like "FUCK", "SHIT", etc... and is now more commonly referred to by the first letter, "N", in a cowardly display of political correctness that ends up sounding more kindergartenish than polite." Watch MTV, the rap videos, same exact thing, but, they're waving 20 dollar bills in front of you and saying how they like to ride Ferraris. Those videos are translated onto the youth, to all of it, black, white whoever. They're out there doing the same, adapting the ganger's ghetto style. Moving on, seems like every problem is blamed on whites, I'm not saying they're wrong, but I don't think it's right to just assume that the only reason a black person can get fired is because he was black, and the other person was racist. The only reason that a black man would be beaten by the police is because he was black. Like many have pointed out before, the only reason this got the amount of coverage it did, was because it was a black man beaten. The media, although saying it's not race related, keep on playing that angle, they hardly described why he had all these police officers after him in the first place. Chances are, if the beaten man was white, this would even go beyond local news. Kinda makes you wonder about the Rodney King thing, what if he wasn't black, what would have happened? What if there were black officers beating him, what would have happened?
posted by refund at 9:12 AM on July 14, 2000

a good source for some statistics that shatter stereotypes and misconceptions about Blacks in the US is Farai Chideya's Don't Believe the Hype.
posted by sudama at 9:23 AM on July 14, 2000

What this argument will reduce to, of course, is one side asserting that the odds that a given black youth is involved in something criminal are in fact higher, and it doesn't matter why that's true...
I just saw a dandy documentary called American Gypsy last night, and one of its focuses was an 11-year legal struggle by a Gypsy, Jimmy Marks, against the Spokane, WA, police department. After his family's home was raided, a small amount of stolen goods was found in his home; he was found guilty of a misdemeanor and hit with a $550 fine. He felt that they had singled him out--believing he was a fence--and violated his 4th amendment rights (using an unsigned search warrant, among other things) because he was a gypsy.

And you know what? Even though he was guilty of a minor crime, he was right. Suppose I grant you the (debatable) point that black people commit a disproportionate amount of crimes. So what? I can't believe that I have to say this, but there is still a legal presumption of innocence in this country. You're not allowed to assume someone's guilt because of the color of his skin, or because he's a gypsy, or because his daddy was a no-account, or because his whole family is poor white trash. That's not how America is supposed to work.

When on a 26-mile stretch of the New Jersey turnpick, blacks make up 46% of drivers stopped, even though they're only 15% of speeders, something is wrong. (And that, for the record, is one of the reasons that people argue about race-based crime statistics. Nobody is arguing that blacks make up a disproportionate number of people arrested, or even convicted, but how does that translate into statistics about crimes committed?)
posted by snarkout at 9:58 AM on July 14, 2000

My opinion lies somewhere in between everyone's. I answered this topic on my site, as I feel it's too long here. I seem to agree with everyone here to a certain degree.

Keep that fire, Sudama (well, perhaps keep the flame a little lower). That's what Malcolm X & Dr. King used, and made a BIG difference.

While this whole thing SERIOUSLY strayed off topic, it made us all take a deep look inside ourselves. And that makes for a hell of a good discussion all around.
posted by EricBrooksDotCom at 3:37 PM on July 14, 2000

"How does that translate into statistics about crimes committed?"

What planet are you living on?

Blacks commit about as many serious crimes as whites
Not as many per capita - as many in absolute numbers.

For an in-depth analysis see here

This is a large PDF file which will take several minutes to download.
posted by pinlighter at 12:42 PM on July 15, 2000

From the FBI Uniform Crime Reporting statistics (1998): "Whites accounted for 63 percent of the Index crime arrestees, 65 percent of the property crime arrestees, and 58 percent of the violent crime arrestees."

Unless Pinlighter is arguing that blacks aren't arrested at rates comprable to whites when they commit crimes or that blacks aren't convicted at comprable rates when they're arrested (or possibly that the FBI has some sort of agenda to inflate white arrest rate numbers), his claim just isn't true.

Even the statistics in the source he cited (go to Appendix A and do the math) show that, in absolute terms, whites commit over twice as many single-offender crimes of violence than blacks.

Perhaps Pinlighter is following the lead of the nasty little report he linked to and suggesting that Latinos shouldn't be classified as "white" in crime statistics, but discussing the difference between racial and ethnic identity is rather far afield from the original topic of discussion. On that note, I think I'm done participating in this thread.
posted by snarkout at 7:00 PM on July 15, 2000

I've had cashiers check my twenty to the light. It's not because I'm black. It's because these new twenties look counterfeit and shouldn't have been made in the first place. It might also be because to many I look like a long-haired ne'er-do-well. And they may not be too far off the mark.

I'm not talking about statistics here. You listen to the present mp3 debate, and the record company can show you statistics saying their CD sales are about the same as before Napster, but mp3.com's Michael Robertson repeatedly states that he has statistics proving CD sales are up. Statistics are sometimes undependable, and if you play with the numbers right, they can say what you want them to say.

y6 cubed said, "And if you aren't trying to justify racism then explain to me what the hell you're getting at."

I'd be more than happy to.

I am not justifying racism. I am pointing out that racism is much deeper than any of us are willing to admit, and perhaps it runs deeper than any of us can fathom. And perhaps it's not just white people who should be sent down to the carpet for it.

If cops pull over more red cars, my next car's gonna be a green one. The car I presently have is definitely not red. I specifically asked for that when I bought it. I don't care about the morality of thinking that. I don't care if it's right or wrong to think that way. Each individual human being is going to continually use their own personal life experience and in any given situation, without thinking about whether it's politically correct or morally right, they're going to pull from that life experience perhaps even on an unconscious level and respond accordingly.

I live in a neighborhood that is ethnically mixed, while simultaneously being eerily segregated. On one side of the highway, they're hispanic. On the other side of the highway they're black. I AM the minority here. Now, when I go over to the hispanic side of the highway, and I purchase goods or ask for directions or just nod or wave at someone as I pass them, the response is a cordial one. I don't know why. I rarely ever have trouble with the employees at the supermarket. They're always friendly and helpful. They retain eye contact. They smile. They're just cool with me.

On the side of the highway in which I live however, it's a remarkably different story. Practically every time I go to the Blockbuster or the Kroger, I'm treated like a second rate citizen. I just stand there and patiently take it. I've had black people cut in front of me in line. I've seen a black woman behind the counter treat the black people in front of me politely, and then when I came up to the counter her emotion changed on her face and she wouldn't look me in the eye and she slowed her pace and she took her time. If I have to ask for something on backorder, the option is not available to me at the Blockbuster on my side of the highway, but if I go across the highway, the people there are more than hospitable. They're happy to take my money and I'm happy to give it. The first few times I noticed it I was surprised. Nowadays I just smile and look down and tolerate it, because there's simply nothing else to do. Am I treating the people on one side of the highway in a way different from those on the other? Not consciously. Perhaps they read my body language or something I'm not consciously aware of. Perhaps it's just my long hair and the color of my skin. Perhaps it's my blue eyes, or the quality of my clothing. I do not know. Perhaps it is a combination of these things and things from their life experience I am not privy to.

All of it is very polite and subtle, but it's been made clear repeatedly that they weren't going to go out of their way for me and I ...after a fashion, learned to accept that. If this was just one or two people, I could dismiss it, but this is consistent, and it seems to only happen if the person happens to have darker skin than my own. I have learned to only go to the black side of my neighborhood when I absolutely have to. If there's a place on the other side of the highway that I can buy what I need from, I'll go over there. Because the hispanics indicate to me that I am accepted.

Does this make me racist? Perhaps. Not by choice but perhaps I am learning to be racist. I have throughout my life strived hard not to be. I've been very conscious of what racism has done to this country. I've read up on the history. I understand why it is this way and that it must change, and that the change must start with me. Just as the change must start with you. Not with some government or corporate entity forcing people to do it. It must change from within the hearts and minds of each individual.

I have had many friends of all colors throughout my life, but when strangers treat me this way, I have to go with my gut instincts. I am reacting to what is happening around me. I am not acting on assumptions made to me by others. Now DESPITE what I experience as an individual, am I to go against my instincts and patronize black establishments anyway? After they've proven to me they don't want me there, and are probably more uncomfortable with my presence than originally I was with theirs?

So we have come the circle full. Fifty years ago one black would walk into a white community and get the cold shoulder. Now it's the other way around.

When a policeman is on a beat he must trust his instincts. Imagine living your life where several weeks or months could go by without incident and then suddenly you're in a situation where reflexes count and reacting to a situation with a split second decision could mean life or death for yourself and all those around you, your adrenaline is going to scream within you, and you have to trust your instincts. This is what it is like to be a policeman. I've spoken with them. I know. It's weeks and months of paperwork and routine boredom followed by ten seconds of sheer terror. There's no time to go, "yeah but what color is he? And am I making any of my decisions based on that?" The policeman gets reports of a crime perpetrated. He reacts. In the case of the article linked above, the perpetrator had violently attacked fellow policemen. He was armed and dangerous and had repeatedly resisted arrest. Normal force was unsuccessful. The guy JUST SHOT A COP for Pete's sake. Yes, the policemen would at that point use all at their disposal to take him down, regardless of color.

Is it wrong to think the way we do? Perhaps. Can we do something about it? It's going to take a very long time, with some very cool heads. Yes. Eventually. We can rise above this, but don't think a few flowery speeches and legislation is going to resolve this situation. It starts with you. It starts with me. The day everyone can honestly say skin color is as irrelevant as eye color; then we can rejoice.

It's going to take a very long time. On EITHER side of that highway.
posted by ZachsMind at 9:37 PM on July 15, 2000

One question we migh task, is: Why did some officers kick the crap out this guy, and others literally leap over parked squad cars to pull them off?

I am a middle-class white guy. I used to have long hair and a beard, and once was refused service at a restaurant in the gulf islands of Canada. It was the only conscious discrimination I have ever experienced. I'm glad it's not something I experience daily.

Of course, I used to take crap when growing up based on my lack of money, but that's a different story.
posted by mecran01 at 6:26 AM on July 26, 2000

« Older   |   Newer »

This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments