Saturday, July 20, 2013

On Racial Profiling

So, President Whiny-Pants thinks he "could have been" Trayvon. Which is news to me, because I didn't know Trayvon's mother was a white communist from Hawaii, but that's beside the point. He talks about the pain of being profiled because of the color of his skin. Boo-hoo.

Because, apparently, only black people get profiled. And any one profiling is automatically "white." Hence the first "white Hispanic:" George Zimmerman.  I'm waiting for the first white Asian and the first white Indian. Years ago, I would have waited for a White Russian, but I broke that habit.

Anyway, I have a few instances of racial profiling that don't quite fit the accepted model.

Back when I was stationed in San Diego, I made the mistake of getting on the trolley going the wrong way, and got off at the first stop to rectify my mistake. Which was my second mistake. Some fine urban youth happened by, whilst I was waiting for the trolley going the other way, and offered to aerate my torso if I failed to provide them with a portion of my most recent paycheck. Not wanting to inconvenience them, and wanting to save them the cost of ammunition, I complied with the request.

I believe the way they put it was," Got off at the wrong stop, dint ya boy? Well, you in Crip territory, and Crip territory requires Crip dues, less you want me to cap y'all with this Crip gun." I never actually saw the gun, but figuring discretion to be the better part of valor, I paid my dues and, I guess, became a dues-paying member of the Crips.

I wondered why he picked me, when there were a whole bunch of other fine citizens standing all around, studiously ignoring him. My guess was it was because I was the only white guy there. But I could be wrong...

A few months later, one of the black guys in my class got his head shaved. Everybody thought it was pretty cool,, so a couple other (white) guys did it. By pure coincidence (Really!) I got the "boot camp cut" The same day, because I hate getting my haircut and that way last the longest without needing a repeat.  Well, all of us (white guys) got called into the office of the Senior Chief, who proceeded to tell us that we weren't allowed to get "faddish or unusual" haircuts. When the point was raised that our friend had done the exact same thing, the Senior Chief said, "It's a cultural thing. Plus, nobody will think HE'S a skinhead."

So, once again, special treatment. Of course, this was well before balding white guys shaved their heads on a regular basis.

Heck, I remember walking around department stores as a kid and getting followed around. Always figured it was because kids tend to shoplift the most, but apparently I look black to some department store clerks.

I do remember another time when I was incredibly conscious of my skin color. Ndnd and I went to the comedy club in my hometown (which was known pretty well to all as "Caucasian Falls). The headliner was (The extremely funny) Thea Vidale, with whose politics I rarely agree, but whom I found to be very talented and more importantly, really nice. After the show, the club did karaoke on some nights, and that was one of them. We had been going for some time, and always had fun. But that night, all the white people left immediately following the show, except Ndnd and I, and the staff of the club.

Well, I went to get an autograph from Ms Vidale, who was one of the very few comedians to come out for drinks at the bar (which was packed) after the show, and made the lame joke that I felt like "salt in a pepper shaker." She looked up at me and smiled and said, "Relax, you just fine." So I relaxed, and had a great time. It was a night that helped wash away some of the ugly experiences that I had had when I was the only white guy around. Thea Vidale is a very wise woman. Except for the liberal politics.


  1. got something against Black Russians?

    1. I've dealt with it: It'll be 8 years sober in October.

      Plus, it saves a bunch on not having to buy the stuff.