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  1. yagr
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    yagr Contributing Member

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    The race issue

    Discussion in 'Debate Room' started by yagr, Aug 26, 2014.

    The race problem in America is alive and well. If I hadn't been convinced watching the recent events in Ferguson unfold, the comments I have read at the end of every internet news story would dispel any doubts. The rioting certainly did a lot to further divide folks. Why didn't young Mike Brown simply cooperate with the police? To be blatantly candid, the only white folks that I've seen claim understanding are those who are so far left that to not understand would get them voted off the liberal island. Yet, I do think that there can be some understanding. To that end, I'd like to ask a couple of questions.

    How many white people have you ever met who, as children, had to explain to their teacher or principal that the reason they are late for school is because they got detained, not arrested, by the police on their way to school? How many have spent the entire school day in custody while the police 'checked them out'. I have. Not once. In fact, I have no idea how many times I've experienced this – it's been that many times. Not one instance led to an arrest.

    How many white folks have arrived at work an hour or more late specifically because of a stop and frisk that led to an extended detainment? My white boss couldn't wrap his head around the fact that my no call – no show was because I spent eleven hours in a cell that began when I was stopped because it looked like my factory tinted windows might have exceeded the darkness allowed by law. They didn't, but now they smell pot. I'm clean. I don't even drink alcohol.

    My car is towed to the substation and I'm tossed in a holding cell. They come visit me once, to get $60 for the tow. My car is dismantled and put back together...sort of. They didn't refill the spare tire after they took it off the rim to check for drugs. I discovered that in the rain at 2:30am a week later. I lost that job for being unreliable. It was my first time ever late or missing work, but it was an entry level job and who needs someone who attracts that kind of drama. Besides, I seem like an angry person.

    How many times in a week have you had a cop come up to you and ask you what you're doing when you're sitting having a cup of coffee? Been three times this week for me. Three. How many times are you going to get asked that question before you start to develop an attitude and cringe every time you see a cop pull up? To be fair, it's only happened four times this month, this weeks been a little heavy. Oh, and I drink a fair amount of coffee.

    If you're white and have any minority friends in the US, especially those from larger cities or surrounding larger cities, go ahead and ask them if their experience is more like yours or more like mine. I think you'll walk away understanding a bit more.
     
  2. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    I'm never going to say I've had to deal with the school to prison pipeline. But I'm well aware of it. It's a serious problem.

    In my day I've had some experiences. The cops in the LA suburbs hated those dirty drug using draft dodging hippies at the time. If you weren't there, it's hard to comprehend how bad it was.

    Once the cops stopped us, claimed it was for "bald tires". We had to sit on the curb while they searched the car (which was kind of full of trash, I admit I didn't notice those things at the time). They removed the back seat from the car and put it on the sidewalk.

    They didn't find any drugs. So they left, leaving the back seat still sitting on the sidewalk.

    I went to see Country Joe and the Fish where the LA roller derby games were played. The stage was in the middle with the audience circling on stadium seats. I don't remember what happened that brought the police there, but they came.

    They surrounded everyone at all the exits. Then they'd wait until they spotted someone drinking or smoking pot and a small group would charge into the seats with billy clubs cracking heads and arrest some people.

    I'd never been so sure I was going to be crushed by the crowd because when the cops rushed in everyone stood up and it seemed people would either riot or I'd be trampled trying to get to an exit.

    The cops kept it up taking people out again and again. I saw a lot of bloody heads. The band played some kind of video with pigs dressed as police riding motorcycles, that raised the tension level, people laughed.

    Then at some point, the band played a song while they left the stage and marched through the audience urging people to follow. Eventually the band returned to the stage and urged people to keep following. People started filling the stage until it was a sea of people (I stayed in my seat) when all at once the stage just collapsed. That was the end of the concert and my weird experience. Someone got a broken leg or arm, no one was killed. I have no idea how many people were arrested.

    Cracking people over the head with billy clubs just to arrest a few pot smokers or underage drinkers, there was no reason for it. The whole crowd could have stampeded and people would have died. Fortunately nothing worse happened.

    I think those are the worst stories I have.
     
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  3. yagr
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    yagr Contributing Member

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    You know, it takes a certain type of life experience to be jealous of someone who got to see Country Joe and the Fish under those circumstances... but what the heck:

    GIVE ME AN F!!!
    GIVE ME AN I!!!...

    Yup, so jealous. :)
     
  4. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    I have Joe McDonald's autograph on a matchbook cover somewhere around here. I saw him in a really small club with some friends who were acquainted with him. The matchbook was what I had with me so that's what he signed for me. I was too young and stupid to have a conversation with him. But my friends did. Everyone was into bands at the time.
     
  5. yagr
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    yagr Contributing Member

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    Okay, now officially over the top jealous...but I still like you. :)

    I do get the 'if you weren't there it's hard to understand' aspect of your original response. I was in the middle of the forced bussing in Boston back when. It was frightening and the people that others looked to for safety were part of the problem for us. As you've said though, if you weren't there...
     
  6. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    It was drugs and politics, not race, so on the scale of things it was a whole level lower, even as bad as it was. In St Louis the cops are shooting unarmed black kids. In Seattle there's one holdout cop that wrote 80% of the tickets for pot after it was legalized here. A whole different scale.
     
  7. yagr
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    yagr Contributing Member

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    I live in Washington state; know about this guy. Glad he's on your side of the state. :)
     
  8. Selbbin
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    Selbbin I hate you Contributor

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    Strangely I get pulled up by cops a fair bit. I'm a white middle-class nobody in a place that dooesn't have much of a gung-ho cop problem. One time me and my friend were driving along at night discussing films, in a small suburban car in a rich neighborhood, when were were pulled over for no reason. They tested him for alcohol and then started grilling him about where we were going and where he lived. We like to just drive around, going nowhere. He lived in a bit of a shit hole across town, but I was local. Why are you out here? What are you doing? While he was being grilled the other cop was searching me and checking the car thoroughly. After they were finally satisfied, they told us to drop me off and go straight home. Two average Joes in their mid 30s! Anyway, we just kept driving around. I'm always 'randomly' picked at the train station to prove I have a ticket and always 'randomly' selected at the airport for extra chemical and bomb screenings. Maybe I'm just dodgy looking.
     
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  9. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    I've never experienced this, nor have any of the minorities I know. But that's not to say it doesn't happen. The only reason none of my friends have experienced this is because we all grew up in a middle-class city. There's very low crime, so the only real job the cops here have is handing out tickets. Based on my experience, I suspect there's a socioeconomic factor here as well.

    That aside, issues like DWB (driving while black) are very real. You even have racial inequality in the school system. Jay MacLeod does a good job at looking at this issue in his book Ain't No Makin' It. A big problem is that a lot of Americans don't realize there's a problem in the first place, which is why there isn't more outrage about it.
     
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  10. jazzabel
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    It's so upsetting to hear how deep the racial discrimination goes in some places. In the UK it's not as bad, although it used to be. I have some black family (Jamaican) and a few Indian, Pakistani and Iranian friends, so they tell me their experiences. None of the Jamaicans I know dare buy an expensive car, for example, because they just get stopped and accused of being drug dealers (none of them are). So the issue is far from resolved.

    Interestingly, my younger sister has olive complexion and can look quite Arabic to some, and every time she travels to the States she gets the third degree at the airport. It's funny, but really unsettling at the same time.

    When I lived in Australia, cops were in the habit of picking on people in crappy cars, especially students. They could get quite nasty in their behaviour. Once I graduated and bought fancy sports Toyota, I could do no wrong (literally, I made some stupid traffic choices and all I ever got from them was a wave and a smile). Bloody hypocrites.
     
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