Thursday, July 23, 2009

Unusual take on Profiling

I am not Black, but I can relate somewhat to what happened to Dr Gates and the Police. For a while I lived in Northern Vermont and suffered from DWN and LWN. The acronym is driving while New Yorker and Living while New Yorker.

In my brief stay in Vermont I was stopped or questioned by the police around 30 times. I have never been arrested so this level of scrutiny was uncalled for. The town I lived in had a big drug problem and naturally local law enforcement would tend to view this as exported from the big city as opposed to locals behaving badly.

It is frustrating and humiliating and I understand the feeling of Gates. I remember when I locked myself out of the apartment going to my car for my spare and getting questioned by police for hours. I remember giving a ride home to a friend who dropped a cigarette in the front. The police in the next car thought I was getting a sex act while driving. She had a good laugh, but road safety is no laughing matter. Secondly anyone who has seen the World According to GARP knows why that is a bad idea.

A good officer does not profile. I can not guess what goes through an officers mind. Hopefully, it is just one of those errors made by good officers rather than sloppy work. Of course the fact that one of the officers was Black leads me to think that Gates may have been touchy. It is not a good experience.

My time in Vermont made me sadly familiar with being stopped and questioned for no reason.
I remember one time being stopped in Essex Junction. A cop asked me what I was doing there?
I told them going to the local Chinese place. The cop asked me why. I told them JP's ( a local coffee shop) was closed and if it were open I would be there so I could get a decent meal and tip
a breath taking waitress whose name I forgot. The cop knew I was familiar with the area and asked about my plates and I told him the story. He did later see me at that waitress's station later and we laughed about it. I am amazed that I can not remember the waitress's name because her smile and charm were truly amazing.

18 comments:

The_Editrix said...

Goodness, Beak, and here was I, thinking that America was a country where the rule of law applies. To be questioned by a cop like that sounds more like former Stalinist East Germany than the Land of The Free. It would be unthinkable here and I don't think we have higher crime rates, rather the reverse.

If one reads the report of the police officer who had, by the way, witnesses, it becomes clear that Gates is a whitey-hating asshole who thinks, and sadly justifiedly so, that he will get away with such outrageous behaviour because he is black.

beakerkin said...

Smaller communities are very insular
and my accent is 3/4 New Jersey and 1/4 Brooklyn. Unfortunately, thanks to the Sopranos it is associated with crime. Law enforcement types like to get a feel for new comers. There is also no privacy in a small town.

Gates is your typical far left type
and is likely to have behaved as you describe.

Z said...

Beak, I BRISTLED when I heard Obama tonight say the police had "acted stupidly" (see my blog piece, you'll be furious)...STUPIDLY? ALL reports are that the Black Neighbor saw 2 men at this prof's door trying to get in (the door was stuck or something..) and called the police..a good neighbor!
The cops come and ask for ID...who's going to let a burglar in who says "Oh, sure, officer, THIS is my HOUSE!" without checking ID? The ONLY person who says the cops acting incorrectly is OBAMA. i was STUNNED.
If the prof had done the NORMAL thing and said "Here's my ID, thanks for checking...I know you have to do this and are protecting MY HOME" and the cops pushed him around, FINE, COMPLAIN, but THIS?
Think that prof'll be sending flowers to the neighbor who reported a possible breakin? Don't count on it.
MAN, THIS OBAMA TAKE ON IT...TELLING THE COUNTRY A BIG WHOPPING LIE...TICKED ME OFF AND SHOWED HE IS THE ANGRIEST MAN WITH THE BIGGEST CHIP ON HIS SHOULDERS....Editrix is SO RIGHT.

I didn't watch the press conf, I watched a little Rachel Maddow after and she played a clip, suggesting Obama was right, of course...and Newsweek's Howard Feinman was on.......I SWEAR he said "...look at Obama, did you see? He BECAME that professor...he knows how that feels..." OH, BROTHER. $&@#

If the cops HADN'T COME, that black prof would have been saying "they're racist and wouldn't protect a black man's home".

Wake up, Black America..we're ALL AMERICANS...nobody's out to get you.

The_Editrix said...

These links may be helpful as well:

http://www.amnation.com/vfr/Police%20report%20on%20Gates%20arrest.PDF

http://www.myfoxboston.com/dpp/news/local/cop_who_arrested_gates_not_sorry_072209

https://www.blogger.com/comment.g?blogID=13350456&postID=111073822085077462&page=1

beamish said...

My encounters with law enforcement have always been testy, but I was getting pulled over and ridiculously asked if I had guns or explosives in the car BEFORE 9/11. Cops aren't always reasonable.

But police officers have the right to ask for identification. That professor was an idiot for overreacting, and pathetic for making it a race issue.

Ducky's here said...

The officer should have used his baton.

Anonymous said...

Beak,

I know I said I was not going to comment and ruin your site, but as a person of color I know and have felt racism all my life, but now it has a name, racial profiling. Now please, I am not crying, or argueing, just stating and I certainly don't ask for sympathy.

It hasn't ALL been bad, but I have been brown all my life, most often these policemen have been policemen for a little while. How do you become prejudiced, how do you become unprejudiced?

Our former Tribal Administrator was telling of an incident early one morning of his driving to work, thru the wildlife refuge. The police pulled him over, no reason that he knew of except that it was very early and he had long black hair! First thing he wanted was drivers registration "have you been drinking, what are you doing out this early?" The T.A. was very cordial, and the policeman got his information, but the T.A. still considered this racial profiling. Indians usually don't fight the system, just talk among ourselves. There was no reason for him to be stopped but for his being a person of color. A young Indian man going to work early in the morning, unheard of to some people who want to live and keep the Indians in the past, like yeagley and baggy ann.

The past is the past, yet the drunken Indian still remains our image, because of people like yeagley and baggy ann. Its my gut feeling they want our image to remain so. How do you separate the Reservation Indian from one that has grown up next door to whites all their lives, how do you maintain your all American lifestyle when images of the past keep haunting the Indian Image? We are YOU, in every way but color!

Unless you are a person of Color, how can you understand....this is not just a case of hating the Black person or the Mexican or whomever. I may not agree with the how the Blacks back each other automaticly, but given the way Indians and Mexicans have been mistreated, I would reluctantly back the Black people. I know they would NOT back me.....they have no reverence for the Indian People....they use their own, just like yeagley uses.

Who is going to fix the system? I do not blame President Obama for his statement, I know what he is projecting. I may not have expressed myself in a good way, but I thought I'd give it a try! I just thought this was very interesting!

CM

FJ said...

The officer who arrested Gates was the local police forces's "profiling" trainer. He was a decorated hero who gave a black basketball player mouth-to-mouth.

Gates is an ass.

Rob said...

Based on what I have been able to read on the story, I think Gates over reacted. It's not unreasonable to ask for ID, especially if your trying to stop what you know as a break in.

President Obama calling the actions "stupid", is a big mistake on his part. Mr. Narcissist that likes to be on TV everyday needs to learn to shut up sometimes.

The_Editrix said...

"If the cops HADN'T COME, that black prof would have been saying "they're racist and wouldn't protect a black man's home"."

EX-ACT-LY! Here we have two black men (Gates and Obama) and one black woman (Cambridge Mayor Denise Simmons) who have all made their way in the white man's world. I haven't heard of Gates and Simmons before, but it can be safely assumed that Obama wouldn't be where he is weren't it for the colour of his skin (or rather: the race he chose to as his, because he doen't exactly look like Kunta Kinte). There is a strong probability that Gates and Simmons profited (no: profiteered!) from Affirmative Action and anti-white racism (Simmons additionally from feminist AA) as well. And they are all yapping and whining about "racism" against blacks now. What an undignified spectacle.

I respect Comanchemoon's sentiment that a person with coloured skin may see all that a bit differently, however, I don't think that one wrong can be righted by another wrong. This is not arithmetics, it's about truthfulness and a better future for all.

Anonymous said...

Editrix,

Your right, I just wonder when, if ever this will happen, that the truth will be automatic. Most likely not in our life time.

On the news last nite, it was said that Obama has been a friend of Gates, I never heard of him either, just Norman Gates and the "rich Gates".

Police are trained in all situations and they don't treat every one the same. My 13 year old Grandson was playing around with a plastic gun at a Carnival a few years ago, and the Indian Police hand cuffed him and told him he had to leave the grounds. He found it in a ditch in front of our camp, the red tip was off of it. It wasnt until I went to the Police office to inquire about the situation that we found out that the Police can tell if it is a toy by the red tip. The red tip had been taken off and they presumed it was real. Ignorance of the Law is No Excuse, but the lady police officer over-reacted because of Gang activities in the near by larger town.

Needless to say it was an over re-action, the Police Chief apologized and we went on our way and enjoyed the rest of the week-end. Grandson learned a scary lesson. He still holds a grudge, I just put him in his place about that dang plastic gun. We all learned. He was very young and I am old.

This Black thing has really been going on all my life....long time! I don't think its gotten any worse, more people use the media, to speak out now.

Except for the Indians, we are still gun shy! Even plastic guns put us in our place, aye?

Just kidding, it turned out ok, and the lady officer is now a Detective she is good people!
COMANCHEMOON

Motoy said...

beaker why in the world did you ever leave Northern Vermont to live in NYC? Just asking because I have looked at land prices up there back about a year ago on the net because my wife wants to move somewhere farther north where it is cooler in the future. Land prices were very high for acerage up there when I was looking at it back then. Also when you were stopped and sorta hassled a little by the cop why not show him your federal police bag?? Or were you not a law enforcement officer at that particular time. --As to the Gates incident , I do not know how the laws work in some northern states but down south they can arrest you on a charge of disrespect to an officer in the performance of his duty regardless if it is a false alarm incident or a non arrest situation. --- Motoy

American Crusader said...

Not having been around for a while, I hate having my first post on your site to be in complete disagreement.
First of all, Gates case had absolutely nothing to do with racial profiling. A neighbor called to report a break-in. I find it difficult to call this a case of racial profiling when responding to such a call.
As for getting stopped nearly 30 times on a single trip to Vermont, I really find that hard to believe. I live in New York and have New York plates. It has been several years since I have been stopped by the police for any reason. We have recently returned from our 2nd trip to Maine and Nova Scotia.

American Crusader said...

Sorry but I left out one point. Of course the police profile. The simple reason is because profiling works.
If you don't think that both the federal and state level police profile, then you probably haven't flown anywhere lately.

beakerkin said...

Motoy

Northern Vermont is not home. I enjoyed my time there, but I belong in NYC. I lived amongst the fresh air and rolling hills. I missed the museums, ethnic enclaves, book stores and family.

We are not supposed to show our badges unless we are asked. The practice is called tinning is very frowned upon and can get you fired if you try to get out of a ticket.

In Vermont everyone knows everyone
and an outsider in the North Country. A NYC type is used to doing things at odd hours such as getting groceries or going to work.
The oddest habit was my carrying books everywhere. They are naturally suspicious of outsiders.

beakerkin said...

AC

Welcome back. How is your daughter?

I lived in Vermont for three years. My area was a high crime district and there are layers of law enforcement in that region.

In fairness it did stop one the locals found out I am a Fed.

Z said...

CM, you probably won't see this, but your comment touched me. Of course whites can't know what you've been through.
I don't know, either, what it'll take to stop profiling of any sort, or racism........I guess it'll stop for the police when minorities stop proving nasty and largely unfair generalizations and follow the laws.
But, of course, lots of whites don't follow laws, either, so why should minorities have to keep proving themselves?
It's a VERY tough topic and one, I guess, that will never go away.
I'm sorry for your hurts.
God bless..Z

Anonymous said...

Thanks Z,

Like I said, we all learned a lesson. Everyday I learn something new, that's why I thank the Lord every morning for getting me thru the nite and allowing me to wake up. I lost a cousing two weeks ago, and my son-in-laws' Father about a month ago. They passed in their sleep....peacefully. Thats the way I want to go, NOT RIGHT AWAY OF COURSE, but when it happens I want it to be during the night.

Until then, we have to try to make the best of living, and working on the kids' attitude, culture begins in the home, no matter what race! I forget that sometimes with my having my own fun in this time of my life, I forget that the kids/Grandchildren need to be guided by the whole village as well as Mom and Dad. My whole family + in-laws are a mixture of White, Mexican, German, Irish, Black. I don't believe its only the Race, its the attitude or Culture that one is brought up in. We need to improve in that area.

CM