Narcissus' Echo

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A round peg in a world of square holes...

Monday, November 28, 2005

Racial profiling

I ran in to a friend (who is African-American) on campus last week, and we had coffee. Let's call him Joe. One memorable detail of the conversation was his complaint about racial stereotypes and a more insidious form of racism:

JOE: What is it with Black people and cars, dude? I cross [at] the lights, or walk to my car in the [parking] lot, and instantly I see people hitting the switches to lock their car doors. WTF is that? Do I have a big honking sign floating above my head that says, "LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, THIS IS A PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT: PLEASE LOCK YOUR CAR DOORS NOW," or what?

I didn't know whether to feel sorry for him, or die laughing. (OK, actually, I died laughing). It's so true though. In fact, it has become a reflex on my part. Some call it street smarts, some call it racism, but having been almost carjacked in East Palo Alto at a stoplight years ago, I will probably call it the former and err on the side of caution. Sorry, Joe. *click*


Blogger takchek said...

Asians have it too. It's called "Model" minority, and it's often equated with math and science skills.

3:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Maybe they just want to lock their doors. No one was hurt by them locking their doors. If your black and everybody is locking their door when you come around they may simply want to lock their door, or maybe you are just sensitive to people locking doors and try to find every reason possible as to why they locked their door when you happened to be near.

The again, maybe they happened to grow up in the projects or ghetto and simply do what they feel is common sense. Maybe they are stereotyping, but then again it is their business--not yours. Get over it.

4:08 PM  

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