This is how we move our country forward in terms of racial politics. Small, seemingly insignificant conversations like these to break the conversation wide open. And she is absolutely right, had the kid been a white kid in his 20s, there would have been no cause for ‘concern’.
This is a clear case of institutionalized racism. If by coincidence a real burglary occurred in that same neighborhood and the suspect was a young thin black male in his 20s, this kid could have ‘become’ that suspect.
“If they aren’t doing anything unlawful, then they shouldn’t have anything to worry about.”
It’s a common refrain used by defensive white people who would like to pretend that minorities, specifically black people, are not targeted by law enforcement. I’m sorry to say there was an ignorant time in my life when I believed this too.
For much of my teens and twenties, even as I consumed black culture, co-opted and appropriated it because it was “oh-so-cool-and-different,” I bought in to boot-strapping black respectability politics. I thought if black people would just “act right” then they wouldn’t get into trouble. I thought that being “colorblind” meant not being racist; that if we willed the differences away, they’d slink to the furthest reaches of the earth, never to be seen again.
I am embarrassed about my past ignorance (and am still learning), but it also makes sense. I was privileged, grew up…
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