Sunday, August 2, 2009

When the President Calls You Stupid...

I think it's safe to say that for Black and Brown males, racial profiling is somewhat of an initiation into full American citizenship. I got my badge of dishonor late. As a matter of fact, just last winter when a White New York City Port Authorities Officer stopped me for "looking like a hustler". It had just snowed the night before and I was wearing a winter jacket, my timbs and a ski hat. Things normal people wear in normal cold weather. But the idiot decided that that was criminal wear. You can read more about it in my essay, Put A Dent In It. But in the end, it was about a stupid police officer who couldn't accept that my friend's 20yrld son--a White kid--was in the care of a Black man. That came off strange, to him. And out of all the regid things I could've allowed in my head, justifyingly so, all I kept thinking about was White folks adopting colored children; wondering if another skin shade would've made a difference.

This refusal to apologize for stupidity is directly related to the art of denial, along with a public school curriculum that avoids open and honest dialogue about race relations in America. So at this point we should know better than to act like we just got off the boat! Best to focus on the goal and cherish the ones who make a difference.

Nevermine the media frenzy. Pumped up drama makes great news. But I like a leader who's not afraid of the obvious. It's a nice breeze after an administration that encouraged its citizens to use fear and ignorance as their mantra. Because when the President calls you stupid on national tv, you've pretty much disappointed the Chief Enforcement Officer, especially after your mayor apologizes for you. But then that's only the surface of it. The real story is the scab of racism itself being carefully picked at by everyone. It burns a little, even if the cure is for it to come off.

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