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Monday, April 14, 2014

Doug Glanville: I Was Racially Profiled in My Own Driveway

Its unthinkable that we still find instances of discrimination against former Phillies.

A police officer from West Hartford had pulled up across the street, exited his vehicle, and begun walking in my direction. I noted the strangeness of his being in Hartford—an entirely separate town with its own police force—so I thought he needed help. He approached me with purpose, and then, without any introduction or explanation he asked, “So, you trying to make a few extra bucks, shoveling people’s driveways around here?”

All of my homeowner confidence suddenly seemed like an illusion.

It would have been all too easy to play the “Do you know who I am?” game. My late father was an immigrant from Trinidad who enrolled at Howard University at age 31 and went on to become a psychiatrist. My mother was an important education reformer from the South. I graduated from an Ivy League school with an engineering degree, only to get selected in the first round of the Major League Baseball draft. I went on to play professionally for nearly 15 years, retiring into business then going on to write a book and a column for The New York Times. Today, I work at ESPN in another American dream job that lets me file my taxes under the description “baseball analyst.”

But I didn’t mention any of this to the officer. I tried to take his question at face value, explaining that the Old Tudor house behind me was my own. The more I talked, the more senseless it seemed that I was even answering the question. But I knew I wouldn’t be smiling anymore that day.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: April 14, 2014 at 08:08 PM | 576 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: connecticut, doug glanville, espn, phillies, racial profiling, racism

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   1. Joe Kehoskie Posted: April 15, 2014 at 12:20 AM (#4686314)

I like Doug Glanville, but this seems like much ado about nothing. He takes us through twenty-two paragraphs about the alleged racial profiling before mentioning that the police were responding to a neighbor's complaint about someone, who apparently resembled Glanville, soliciting door-to-door in violation of a town ordinance:

I soon learned that West Hartford had an ordinance that prohibits door-to-door solicitation. A man, whom I allegedly resembled, had broken this ordinance. Someone in West Hartford had called the police, and a young officer believing he was doing his duty, had pursued the complaint to my street. Our block would have been the first stop for the wayward shoveler if he had entered Hartford.

If the police get a call from a quiet neighborhood about a black guy, and they arrive to find one black guy and a few presumably non-black guys (as per Glanville's wife's description), it hardly seems like "racial profiling" for the police to talk to the only black guy they see.

Right away, I noted that the whole thing had been a lot of effort over shoveling. The West Hartford ordinance allowed its residents to call in violations at their own discretion—in effect, letting them decide who belonged in the neighborhood and who did not. That was a problem in itself, ...

No, that's not "in effect" what that means. The ordinance in question might be dumb, but how else are violations supposed to get reported? Should only a certain set of pre-approved people be allowed to call the police?
   2. jacjacatk Posted: April 15, 2014 at 12:31 AM (#4686317)
If the police get a call from a quiet neighborhood about a black guy


I mean, there's almost literally no way this could ever go wrong.
   3. Morty Causa Posted: April 15, 2014 at 12:33 AM (#4686319)
The ordinance in question might be dumb, but how else are violations supposed to get reported? Should only a certain set of pre-approved people be allowed to call the police?

This seems similar to the Prof Gates thing. But, yep, that's exactly what some refugees from a blonde joke think. The public at large has no invested interest in seeing that lawbreaking be reported. See Pineda discussion.
   4. Joe Kehoskie Posted: April 15, 2014 at 12:33 AM (#4686320)
I mean, there's almost literally no way this could ever go wrong.

Oh, please. The cops didn't show up with guns drawn. Go troll some other thread.
   5. jacjacatk Posted: April 15, 2014 at 01:05 AM (#4686330)
Oh, please. The cops didn't show up with guns drawn. Go troll some other thread.


That's an amusing (or I suppose ignorant) accusation from the guy who wrote this:
If the police get a call from a quiet neighborhood about a black guy


Let me know the next time a cop from another jurisdiction shows up in your neighborhood to question you about what you're doing at your house because you "fit the description".
   6. Fist Pumping Maniac Posted: April 15, 2014 at 01:05 AM (#4686331)
I like Glanville, too...but not this time. The self-importance in this article is quite off-putting.
   7. Select Storage Device Posted: April 15, 2014 at 01:23 AM (#4686334)
If the police get a call from a quiet neighborhood about a black guy, and they arrive to find one black guy and a few presumably non-black guys (as per Glanville's wife's description), it hardly seems like "racial profiling" for the police to talk to the only black guy they see.


Effin' lol.
   8. Joe Kehoskie Posted: April 15, 2014 at 01:24 AM (#4686335)
That's an amusing (or I suppose ignorant) accusation from the guy who wrote this:

If the police get a call from a quiet neighborhood about a black guy

Let me know the next time a cop from another jurisdiction shows up in your neighborhood to question you about what you're doing at your house because you "fit the description".
Effin' lol.

The meaning of my comment in #1 was clear to anyone who isn't looking for an opportunity to post trollish replies. But I'll expand my original comment to make my meaning abundantly clear:

If the police get a call from a quiet neighborhood about a black guy going door-to-door shoveling snow (in violation of a local ordinance), and they arrive to find one black guy shoveling snow and a few presumably non-black guys shoveling snow (as per Glanville's wife's description), it hardly seems like "racial profiling" for the police to talk to the only black guy they see who's shoveling snow.

I'll additionally concede that the police officer should have opened with an, "Excuse me, sir, do you live at this house?" or something like that, but I don't see his (apparent) failure to do so as evidence of racial profiling or racial animus. Should the police officer have talked to the white guys, even though the caller apparently specifically mentioned a black guy?
   9. The Anthony Kennedy of BBTF (Scott) Posted: April 15, 2014 at 01:24 AM (#4686336)
I felt like the self-importance was to saw to the Atlantic readers: "Hey, I'm affluent and went to the same colleges as you, and this happened to me. This happens to the black people you know."
   10. Yellow Tango Posted: April 15, 2014 at 01:53 AM (#4686338)
I think there's a problem with the cop's assumption that because there was a report of a black guy soliciting to shovel snow, it was okay to approach the black guy he saw as though he was already guilty. I have a hard time believing the cop would have been so disrespectful if it had been a report of a bald white guy shoveling snow.

That also ties in to the problem Glanville is identifying with the homeowners reporting the violations of the ordinance. I would guess that the people in West Hartford are rationally going to be far more likely to report door-to-door solicitation when the person soliciting makes them uncomfortable. Prejudices are going to affect those feelings, and it means different treatment and different opportunities for people of different races.

Individually, these aren't the biggest issues in the world, and I don't think Glanville tries to make it sound like they are. I think he's presenting a pretty good example of the way race colors our interactions with law enforcement. I think the comment in 9 is off-base because to me, "I'm like you, except the police and the community treat me differently because of the color of my skin" is a powerful argument.
   11. Tricky Dick Posted: April 15, 2014 at 01:55 AM (#4686339)
Hey, I don't blame Glanville for getting upset. I think some of the comments are minimizing how you would feel if you were in the same position. It's certainly not conducive to feeling welcome in your own neighborhood. I would probably have this nagging suspicion in my mind that a neighbor did it intentionally because they didn't want me there.
   12. Joe Kehoskie Posted: April 15, 2014 at 02:06 AM (#4686340)
I think the comment in 9 is off-base because to me, "I'm like you, except the police and the community treat me differently because of the color of my skin" is a powerful argument.

I agree it's a powerful argument; I just don't believe there's much, if any, evidence here that the police treated Glanville differently because of the color of his skin.

The police, by Glanville's own account, got a complaint about a black guy shoveling snow in that neighborhood, and then the police arrived and talked to the only black guy they found to be shoveling snow in that neighborhood. I don't blame Glanville for being a little miffed and/or embarrassed — nobody likes to be questioned by the police — but the idea that this incident requires some sort of national dialogue seems more than a little absurd.

Frankly, this seems like the ultimate rich-guy problem rather than something that's likely happening across America. How many communities these days have a police force that's staffed to the point that it runs out to check on people soliciting door-to-door?
   13. base ball chick Posted: April 15, 2014 at 02:10 AM (#4686341)
joe

i know you don't believe that there is racism any more. but you forgot one important fact from the story: the cop was from ANOTHER jurisdiction - meaning he had no more right to be questioning "suspects" in that neighborhood than you do. so what the **** is he doing harrassing glanville? who is lucky the cop didn't just shoot him. not that anything would have happened to the cop, mind.

just once, i would like to see you get subjected to stop n frink by Black/Hispanic/asian cops, or made to leave your car at gunpoint and lie down on your face with your hands cuffed while police make a search of your veHICKle on so called "probable cause"
and i would like to see how you would like being talked to in the same tone of voice and threatened violence that we do.

give you a lil taste of OUR life
   14. Joe Kehoskie Posted: April 15, 2014 at 02:34 AM (#4686342)
i know you don't believe that there is racism any more.

I've never said any such thing.

but you forgot one important fact from the story: the cop was from ANOTHER jurisdiction - meaning he had no more right to be questioning "suspects" in that neighborhood than you do.

The other jurisdiction was, per Glanville's description, a block or less away. Maybe it was an honest mistake; maybe the cop is a vile racist. At this point, there's not much evidence supporting either.

so what the **** is he doing harrassing glanville? who is lucky the cop didn't just shoot him. not that anything would have happened to the cop, mind.

LOL. I know hyperbole is something of a specialty for you, but come on.

just once, i would like to see you get subjected to stop n frink by Black/Hispanic/asian cops, or made to leave your car at gunpoint and lie down on your face with your hands cuffed while police make a search of your veHICKle on so called "probable cause"
and i would like to see how you would like being talked to in the same tone of voice and threatened violence that we do.

give you a lil taste of OUR life

I read Glanville's article twice and didn't see anything resembling the above.
   15. Select Storage Device Posted: April 15, 2014 at 02:47 AM (#4686343)
The meaning of my comment in #1 was clear to anyone who isn't looking for an opportunity to post trollish replies.


This is such a stupid slope. What should the officer have done if there were, heaven forbid, TWO black guys shoveling snow? THREE black guys? After all, black guy shoveling snow fits the description.

Should the police officer have talked to the white guys, even though the caller apparently specifically mentioned a black guy?


Haha, god, I mean, yeah probably. Ya know, do his job. Let me solve this rubix cube:

"Hey guys, seen any suspicious folks going door-to-door offering to shovel snow?"
   16. Random Transaction Generator Posted: April 15, 2014 at 08:11 AM (#4686348)
If the cop walks up to Glanville and starts the conversation with "Hi, sir. Do you live here?" and if Glanville responds with a "Yes", then the cop simply says "Okay, thanks. We have a report of someone soliciting door-to-door to shovel people's driveways, and he matched your description. Have you seen him around here recently?" then this isn't a story.

If the cop starts with the accusatory opening line he is credited with (according to Glanville's description), then yeah he's being a jackass and I'd be hurt by it if I was in Glanville's situation.
   17. PASTE Thinks This Trout Kid Might Be OK (Zeth) Posted: April 15, 2014 at 08:12 AM (#4686349)
I'm pretty sure #1 has drawn such an adverse reaction mostly because it was posted by Joe K.

Don't blame Glanville one bit for being offended, though. Not that it's an isolated case or isolated to minorities. "BREAKING NEWS: Police officer behaves like a dick to pissant civilians because he can, film at 11!"
   18. Rennie's Tenet Posted: April 15, 2014 at 08:29 AM (#4686353)
Just to toss it into the mix, West Hartford returned 66% for Obama in 2012.
   19. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: April 15, 2014 at 08:41 AM (#4686355)
If the cop walks up to Glanville and starts the conversation with "Hi, sir. Do you live here?" and if Glanville responds with a "Yes", then the cop simply says "Okay, thanks. We have a report of someone soliciting door-to-door to shovel people's driveways, and he matched your description. Have you seen him around here recently?" then this isn't a story.

Or if he'd deigned to offer an apology to Glanville after he realized his mistake, rather than just walking away and telling him to enjoy his shoveling. Seriously, would that have been too much to ask?



   20. GregD Posted: April 15, 2014 at 08:54 AM (#4686358)
Just to toss it into the mix, West Hartford returned 66% for Obama in 2012.
Which probably explains the town's quick and apparently apologetic response to Glanville's complaint. The towns west of West Hartford, which are the areas a police officer would likely live were the most-Republican towns in the state except for parts of Fairfield County.

I think one can empathize with the process that led the police to the decision--as several people here do--and yet also recognize that this is a classic, if ultimately petty, version of the black tax. There are things that black people--no matter how successful or distinguished--deal with that even unsuccessful whites rarely deal with, and no way of avoiding them, and they are expected to bear that burden for the rest of society's benefit, not because of anything they have ever done. So successful black men have more frequent and worse interactions with police than impoverished white men, and nothing they can do will change that. And the defense is that they need to expect to deal with it for the good of everyone else.
   21. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: April 15, 2014 at 09:11 AM (#4686359)
A retired Major League Baseball player explains how he's trying to turn an upsetting encounter with the police into an opportunity for dialogue.


And education I hope.
   22. Blastin Posted: April 15, 2014 at 09:34 AM (#4686363)
I think one can empathize with the process that led the police to the decision--as several people here do--and yet also recognize that this is a classic, if ultimately petty, version of the black tax. There are things that black people--no matter how successful or distinguished--deal with that even unsuccessful whites rarely deal with, and no way of avoiding them, and they are expected to bear that burden for the rest of society's benefit, not because of anything they have ever done. So successful black men have more frequent and worse interactions with police than impoverished white men, and nothing they can do will change that. And the defense is that they need to expect to deal with it for the good of everyone else.


100%.
   23. Best Regards, President of Comfort, Esq. Posted: April 15, 2014 at 10:20 AM (#4686374)
White privilege is the ability to pretend that racism doesn't exist.
   24. Tom Nawrocki Posted: April 15, 2014 at 10:20 AM (#4686375)
I wonder how likely it would have been for someone to call the cops if a white guy was going around offering to shovel driveways.
   25. Charles S. will not yield to this monkey court Posted: April 15, 2014 at 10:29 AM (#4686378)
The towns west of West Hartford, which are the areas a police officer would likely live were the most-Republican towns in the state except for parts of Fairfield County.

I'm not sure this is correct. CT's 5th district, which includes most of the towns west of West Hartford has a Democratic rep. When I was growing up in Avon (the next town just west of West Hartford), we were in the 6th district (since lost to population changes) and were represented by Toby Moffat, one of the most liberal members of the House, who came in on the Democratic sweep of 1974. In the 40 years since, that area has never had Republican representation in Washington. I guess my point is that if this can happen on the Hartford/West Hartford town line, it can happen anywhere.
   26. theboyqueen Posted: April 15, 2014 at 11:02 AM (#4686388)
The two places I have been pulled over and hassled by cops for not being white are Boston and Berkeley. In both cases I saw a cop car, made an exaggerated stop at a stop sign because I knew the cop was watching me, was pulled over for not fully stopping, and had my car and person searched because I "fit the profile" of someone who was reported for "suspicious activity".

Maybe we shouldn't talk about this until you guys are finally a minority in this country, but has there ever been a substantial movement to repatriate whites to Europe? Mother Russia is calling...
   27. Blastin Posted: April 15, 2014 at 11:13 AM (#4686389)
I've been profiled in Princeton (where I "fit the profile" of a guy who was 6'6" - I'm 5'5") and had cops harass me at Coney Island, grilling me over whether or not I had any warrants to my name. Fun times.
   28. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: April 15, 2014 at 11:17 AM (#4686391)
You guys don't understand. Kehoskie understands. Proper citizens have a perfectly good reason to ask the cops to find out what the Wrong People are doing in their neighborhoods. Today's yard workers are tomorrow's stereo thieves, ya know.
   29. Random Transaction Generator Posted: April 15, 2014 at 11:20 AM (#4686392)
I've had the fun time seeing a loved one with a look of shock and horror on their face as they see me locked in the back of a police car without even committing a crime!*


*I had run out of gas while driving with my wife in Toronto (back in the days before cell phones were as big as they are now). I thought I knew where a gas station was located, and tried to cut through a suburb to get to it. I failed, and while walking the 3 or 4 km to the gas station, a local Toronto cop pulled up and asked if I needed help. I explained my situation, and he let me into the back of the cop car, drove me to the gas station, waited for me to fill up the can, drove me back (with the can in the trunk) to my wife. She was a bit shocked to see the cop and then to see me in the back seat. He let me out, grabbed my gas can for me, and went on his way.
   30. The Good Face Posted: April 15, 2014 at 11:32 AM (#4686394)
Maybe we shouldn't talk about this until you guys are finally a minority in this country, but has there ever been a substantial movement to repatriate whites to Europe? Mother Russia is calling...


You bet! Haiti, Rhodesia, South Africa... as you can see, it's worked great!
   31. Misirlou was a Buddhist prodigy Posted: April 15, 2014 at 11:33 AM (#4686395)
You guys don't understand. Kehoskie understands. Proper citizens have a perfectly good reason to ask the cops to find out what the Wrong People are doing in their neighborhoods. Today's yard workers are tomorrow's stereo thieves, ya know.


I have no problem with anti-solicitation ordinances. I have a small problem with selective enforcement, but I know there is nothing you can do about that. Police are going to respond to complaints, and you can't force the public to call in complaints on a race neutral basis. I do have a problem with police treating every encounter with a citizen as a confrontation with a criminal. And since blacks on a per capita basis have more of these encounters than whites, it's a big problem. There was nothing to lose and everything to gain if this cop started this off with a polite request instead of a sarcastic accusation. If he's your guy, give him #### later. It costs you NOTHING to start out politely.

As Glanville mentioned in the article, "What if it wasn't me? What if it was a guy I usually hire? Or my teenage son 10 years from now?" Someone else with a legitimate right to be there might have reacted poorly to the initial confrontation and wound up in cuffs. That would have wound up badly for everybody, including the ######## cop*.

*Assuming Glanville's description of the initial encounter is accurate.
   32. bookbook Posted: April 15, 2014 at 11:38 AM (#4686397)
I doubt the repub/dem split in the neighborhood would have too much to do with it. Whilst we've come a long way, we have so so far to go. (Can some one "repatriate" me to Scandinavia?)
   33. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: April 15, 2014 at 11:48 AM (#4686401)
I got profiled a few years ago. My then-boss was doing my review and kept referring to me as a "tech guy" and I was like, "dude, how am I supposed to get to the next tax bracket if you keep pigeonholing me in with those guys you're not even paying six figures?!" and he was like "I hadn't really considered that; let me upgrade this to reflect your team management skills too so we can keep you moving on the internal tracks." It was quite vexing to be limited like that, just because I started out as a coder. Just terrifying, really. Afterwards I was *so angry.* But then the guy bought me a bottle of really good Scotch and put a word in upstairs when the next opening came around, so it worked out okay.
   34. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: April 15, 2014 at 11:52 AM (#4686403)
The two places I have been pulled over and hassled by cops for not being white are Boston and Berkeley. In both cases I saw a cop car, made an exaggerated stop at a stop sign because I knew the cop was watching me, was pulled over for not fully stopping,

In Mississippi in late 1964, two black guys were driving me to the New Orleans airport on old U.S. 90. I was in the back seat. The speed limit was 45 and they were going 42, bearing in mind the events of that year. They could also see a cop car trailing them for the last few miles with their headlights off.

Everyone knew what was coming, and sure enough, they got pulled over for speeding, allegedly doing "68 and a half" when the speedometer was reading 42. I ducked behind the driver's seat, and fortunately the cop didn't see me (which would have made it much worse), and double fortunately I was able to slip the driver 20 bucks to pay the "fine" on the spot. It was an interesting mix of racial intimidation and an old-fashioned shakedown.

Four years later, in DC, I gave two black friends a ride from 14th & Irving to 14th & U, and when I was waiting for them, a DC cop started up his sirens, made me get out of the car, and without a warrant searched my VW for drugs. Not finding anything (I never did drugs, so that wasn't surprising), the cop then gave me a ticket for leaving my car "unattended" in a No Parking zone, even though the only reason it was unattended was because he'd told me to get out of it in the first place. He said that the ticket represented the "first installment" on the "rent" I'd have to pay, if he ever "caught" me again at 14th & U.

To add insult to injury, when I told the local ACLU about it, their attitude mirrored that of the cop: What were you doing in that neighborhood in the first place? So much for the modern liberal ACLU.

Fast forward 46 years, and it all seems like these events took place in another country or on another planet, and of course 14th & U is now the axis mundi of DC's fabled gentrification. But give a bully a badge and things don't always turn out so well, no matter what the year.

   35. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: April 15, 2014 at 12:02 PM (#4686405)
Cops suck. This is a truth universally acknowledged.
   36. Los Angeles El Hombre de Anaheim Posted: April 15, 2014 at 12:20 PM (#4686410)
I'll additionally concede that the police officer should have opened with an, "Excuse me, sir, do you live at this house?" or something like that, but I don't see his (apparent) failure to do so as evidence of racial profiling or racial animus.
Right. The cops assumed he was a problem going in. Affluent neighborhood, black guy, rude cops. Even subtle racism is still racist.
   37. PASTE Thinks This Trout Kid Might Be OK (Zeth) Posted: April 15, 2014 at 12:52 PM (#4686417)
Not that racism doesn't still exist, but most cops are equal-opportunity ########.
   38. Robert in Manhattan Beach Posted: April 15, 2014 at 01:04 PM (#4686422)
The cops assumed he was a problem going in.

Right, it's the assumption of guilt. Black folks are assumed to be up to something because why else would they choose to be black? Haven't you seen the crime statistics?
   39. Steve Treder Posted: April 15, 2014 at 01:10 PM (#4686423)
White privilege is the ability to pretend that racism doesn't exist.

Or worse yet, to believe it.
   40. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: April 15, 2014 at 01:20 PM (#4686429)
Not that racism doesn't still exist, but most cops are equal-opportunity ########.


This is true. Cops only show up when someone calls them and tells them ######## are assholing up the joint. The callers themselves are also probably ########, but not necessarily. Cops self select for people who want to carry around a gun and a badge and tell other people what to do, and within a year or two of doing the job, even the most naive of them begin to let the constant experience of dealing with ######## and jerkoffs color their assumptions about everyone they interact with.

Also, cops themselves tend to be ########. It's a vicious circle of #######.
   41. Yeaarrgghhhh Posted: April 15, 2014 at 01:38 PM (#4686438)
Have you seen that clip of the cop in Chicago shoving a 45 year old woman into a holding cell? She fell and hit her face on the concrete bench. She needed reconstructive surgery and is now suing the city (as she should), and the taxpayers will of course have to pay for it.
   42. The Good Face Posted: April 15, 2014 at 01:49 PM (#4686444)
This is true. Cops only show up when someone calls them and tells them ######## are assholing up the joint. The callers themselves are also probably ########, but not necessarily. Cops self select for people who want to carry around a gun and a badge and tell other people what to do, and within a year or two of doing the job, even the most naive of them begin to let the constant experience of dealing with ######## and jerkoffs color their assumptions about everyone they interact with.

Also, cops themselves tend to be ########. It's a vicious circle of #######.


Cops, especially cops in high crime areas, wind up spending a fair bit of their time dealing with the absolute scum of the earth. And this often colors their perspective about people in general. It doesn't excuse them behaving badly towards people who are not the scum of the earth, but it helps explain why they so often do so.
   43. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: April 15, 2014 at 01:52 PM (#4686447)
Cops, especially cops in high crime areas, wind up spending a fair bit of their time dealing with the absolute scum of the earth. And this often colors their perspective about people in general. It doesn't excuse them behaving badly towards people who are not the scum of the earth, but it helps explain why they so often do so.


That's what I said. That, and cops tend to self-select for self-important ######## in search of a badge to hide behind.
   44. A big pile of nonsense (gef the talking mongoose) Posted: April 15, 2014 at 01:55 PM (#4686449)
joe

i know you don't believe that there is racism any more.


I could be dead wrong, but memory tells me this was a Ray DP delusion.
   45. Moeball Posted: April 15, 2014 at 02:04 PM (#4686455)
I once got arrested many years ago for moving my own furniture.

A neighbor had called the cops worried that someone was stealing my stuff and apparently the neighbor never noticed that I was part of the group moving the furniture. The cops showed up and, let me tell you - when you see a gun pointed in your direction and hear an officer say "FREEZE!" - well, I froze. Apparently I didn't have enough PCP in my system to put up a fight. Instead, I just about pooped myself. The cops started rounding us up and wanted to take us in for questioning, but we eventually convinced them that we weren't stealing anything and that we belonged there doing what we were doing.

My mom grew up in McComb, Mississippi, which, as the saying goes, is a good place to be from. She married my dad when she was 18 and left town, moved to California and never looked back. We went back to visit her parents in the summer of 1965 and I was just a kid at the time so I had no idea at all what the heck was going on in McComb at the time. I guess ignorance truly is bliss.

One story my mom told me about growing up there - it was in 1946 when she was 16 - she was riding on a bus BITD when they had the moving signs overhead dividing the Black section (back of the bus) from the White section in the front. If more white people got on the bus, the sign got moved back further and blacks were forced to give up seats and stand or even sometimes removed from the bus. If a lot of white people got on the bus, all the blacks would get kicked off and you would have a bus full of whites. Funny, if more black people got on the bus it didn't work the same way. They just had to go stand in the back somewhere. Strange days indeed. So, this one day, my mom is sitting in the last row for whites with the sign overhead directly behind her. The bus was completely full in both sections. This obviously pregnant black woman gets on the bus and my mom made the mistake of being courteous and stood up and offered the woman her seat. Well, you just didn't do that in McComb, Mississippi in 1946. My mom got tossed from the bus (literally!) and so did the pregnant woman.

Further evidence that no good deed goes unpunished.

It's hard to imagine in 2014 that life really was like that once upon a time - and once upon a time wasn't really all that long ago.
   46. The Good Face Posted: April 15, 2014 at 02:06 PM (#4686458)
That's what I said. That, and cops tend to self-select for self-important ######## in search of a badge to hide behind.


Yeah, I don't really agree with the latter part. There are some cops like that certainly, but if you're really driven by the desire to bully people, prison guard is a much better career choice.

Most ####### cops I've known tended to be guys who'd just become cynical and hardened after years of dealing with human vermin. It's the job that turns them into ######## more than ######## self-selecting the job.
   47. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: April 15, 2014 at 02:12 PM (#4686461)
There are some cops like that certainly, but if you're really driven by the desire to bully people, prison guard is a much better career choice


Oh dear lord yes. We agree on this.
   48. Misirlou was a Buddhist prodigy Posted: April 15, 2014 at 02:21 PM (#4686464)
My mom grew up in McComb, Mississippi, which, as the saying goes, is a good place to be from. She married my dad when she was 18 and left town, moved to California and never looked back. We went back to visit her parents in the summer of 1965 and I was just a kid at the time so I had no idea at all what the heck was going on in McComb at the time. I guess ignorance truly is bliss.

One story my mom told me about growing up there - it was in 1946 when she was 16 - she was riding on a bus BITD when they had the moving signs overhead dividing the Black section (back of the bus) from the White section in the front. If more white people got on the bus, the sign got moved back further and blacks were forced to give up seats and stand or even sometimes removed from the bus. If a lot of white people got on the bus, all the blacks would get kicked off and you would have a bus full of whites. Funny, if more black people got on the bus it didn't work the same way. They just had to go stand in the back somewhere. Strange days indeed. So, this one day, my mom is sitting in the last row for whites with the sign overhead directly behind her. The bus was completely full in both sections. This obviously pregnant black woman gets on the bus and my mom made the mistake of being courteous and stood up and offered the woman her seat. Well, you just didn't do that in McComb, Mississippi in 1946. My mom got tossed from the bus (literally!) and so did the pregnant woman.


And the name of Moeball's mother? Jean Louise Finch. And now you know, the rest of the story.
   49. Blastin Posted: April 15, 2014 at 02:27 PM (#4686471)
   50. Moeball Posted: April 15, 2014 at 02:28 PM (#4686473)
Now that I think of it, my wife also has relatives from McComb - such a lovely place!

One of my wife's uncles that was in Europe during WWII got hurt, and the hospital nurse assigned to his care was a black woman from McComb. As sometimes happened back then (well, probably still happens today, I guess), nurse and patient fell for each other and they got married after the war.

This, unfortunately, meant they had to sneak into McComb or she had to go it alone if she ever wanted to visit her family in Mississippi, as interracial marriage was very illegal back in those days and the local authorities had absolutely no sense of humor about these things.

Which just leads us back to the theme of this thread that some of the police aren't of much better character than the people they are arresting.
   51. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: April 15, 2014 at 02:28 PM (#4686474)
As a corollary to last week's conversation..


Just look at the comments on any news site that doesn't moderate comments.
   52. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: April 15, 2014 at 02:38 PM (#4686477)
My mom grew up in McComb, Mississippi, which, as the saying goes, is a good place to be from.

Kind of depends. By 1965 there had been so many church bombings and other acts of terrorism in that city that it's unofficial name had become "McBomb". Read through the link and you'll see why.
   53. The kids disappeared, now Der-K has too much candy Posted: April 15, 2014 at 02:47 PM (#4686482)
I think you're missing the point of from, Andy.
   54. Spectral Posted: April 15, 2014 at 02:52 PM (#4686491)
Don't blame Glanville one bit for being offended, though. Not that it's an isolated case or isolated to minorities. "BREAKING NEWS: Police officer behaves like a dick to pissant civilians because he can, film at 11!"

Right, I think the only mistake Glanville made here is the assumption that this is a racial problem rather than a cops being dicks problem. I'm a clean cut white guy that's been treated much worse by cops than having one be insufficiently deferential to me, which is all that really happened here. If he'd come at this from a, "hey, maybe cops shouldn't be dicks to people that are minding their own business" angle, I'd be on board.
   55. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: April 15, 2014 at 03:02 PM (#4686500)
Right, I think the only mistake Glanville made here is the assumption that this is a racial problem rather than a cops being dicks problem. I'm a clean cut white guy that's been treated much worse by cops than having one be insufficiently deferential to me, which is all that really happened here. If he'd come at this from a, "hey, maybe cops shouldn't be dicks to people that are minding their own business" angle, I'd be on board.


Here's the thing. Whatever problems you, as a white man, have had with the cops, Glanville, as a black man, has had worse. The fact that you don't recognize your own privilege is not shocking, but also not particularly helpful.
   56. if nature called, ladodger34 would listen Posted: April 15, 2014 at 03:03 PM (#4686501)
Most ####### cops I've known tended to be guys who'd just become cynical and hardened after years of dealing with human vermin. It's the job that turns them into ######## more than ######## self-selecting the job.


I think it all depends on the individual. My FIL is a died in the wool, Fox News watching conservative. He is also a retired cop, but he is was one of the types that would have gone up to Glanville and said "Hey, we have reports of folks going door to door for snow shoveling. Anyone bug you about that?" I think his general belief was be an ####### when you need to be, but otherwise, just be decent. He tells a story (okay, lots of stories, he loves telling them) where some kid in prison wouldn't talk to anyone and he happened to noticed the kid had a Chevy tattoo. My FIL was trained as a GM mechanic before he went to the academy so he just started talking to the kid about GM cars and bam, next thing, he sings like a bird.

He also said that while he worked in the prison, the best way to survive was to get the inmates on your side and treat them with respect.

I've had mostly great interactions with officers. The few I have had problems with were just jerks to begin with. As Sam notes, it's probably because I am white (no sarcasm at all).
   57. Spectral Posted: April 15, 2014 at 03:08 PM (#4686511)
Here's the thing. Whatever problems you, as a white man, have had with the cops, Glanville, as a black man, has had worse. The fact that you don't recognize your own privilege is not shocking, but also not particularly helpful.

Glanville just wrote an article about a cop asking him a question and walking away. That alone is evidence that your claim is unlikely. I have no doubt that black people, on average, have worse dealings with law enforcement officers than white people. However, Glanville taking such offense to being asked a question that he immediately called a lawyer friend over, contacted town officials, organized a meeting, and wrote an article for The Atlantic suggests that his personal negative experiences with officers are less than mine. If anything, he seems like a great example of how class privilege trumps racial privilege quite often.
   58. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: April 15, 2014 at 03:16 PM (#4686516)
I think you're missing the point of from, Andy.

No, I was just playing it as a straight line in order to post the link. There wasn't anything in the rest of Moeball's account that would lead anyone to believe that the "from" wasn't the point, or that Moeball would be surprised at at the link's contents. I guess I should have spelled that out, or at least made it clear that my comment wasn't directed to Moeball.
   59. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: April 15, 2014 at 03:27 PM (#4686528)
Here's the thing. Whatever problems you, as a white man, have had with the cops, Glanville, as a black man, has had worse. The fact that you don't recognize your own privilege is not shocking, but also not particularly helpful.


Glanville just wrote an article about a cop asking him a question and walking away. That alone is evidence that your claim is unlikely.

Except that you have absolutely no way of knowing what his prior experiences with the police may have been prior to this incident.

However, Glanville taking such offense to being asked a question that he immediately called a lawyer friend over, contacted town officials, organized a meeting, and wrote an article for The Atlantic suggests that his personal negative experiences with officers are less than mine.

Or it could just suggest that he was leveraging his connections to give voice to other people who've been similarly insulted without any means of getting their voices heard.

If anything, he seems like a great example of how class privilege trumps racial privilege quite often.

And yet that class privilege in this case didn't stop the cop from presuming Glanville was a drifter going around door-to-door in violation of the law, simply on the basis of his skin color. That class privilege didn't enable the cop to presume that Glanville might actually be the owner of the house whose driveway he was shoveling.
   60. You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR) Posted: April 15, 2014 at 03:32 PM (#4686535)
Here's the thing. Whatever problems you, as a white man, have had with the cops, Glanville, as a black man, has had worse.


Yeah, you see the BS charges they sent OJ Simpson to jail for?
   61. theboyqueen Posted: April 15, 2014 at 03:34 PM (#4686540)
Glanville just wrote an article about a cop asking him a question and walking away. That alone is evidence that your claim is unlikely. I have no doubt that black people, on average, have worse dealings with law enforcement officers than white people. However, Glanville taking such offense to being asked a question that he immediately called a lawyer friend over, contacted town officials, organized a meeting, and wrote an article for The Atlantic suggests that his personal negative experiences with officers are less than mine. If anything, he seems like a great example of how class privilege trumps racial privilege quite often.


Jesus, talk about your uppity black folk rhetoric. Yes, he was able to enact this response BECAUSE of class privilege, which he damn well should when white billionaires are spending their billions trying to steer this nation back into the 1950s.
   62. jacksone (AKA It's OK...) Posted: April 15, 2014 at 03:49 PM (#4686551)
However, Glanville taking such offense to being asked a question that he immediately called a lawyer friend over, contacted town officials, organized a meeting, and wrote an article for The Atlantic suggests that his personal negative experiences with officers are less than mine. If anything, he seems like a great example of how class privilege trumps racial privilege quite often.


Glanville's lawyer wife and lawyer neighbor were the ones that escalated the story:

Before I could even digest what happened, my wife's email had set a machine in motion.
Our next door neighbor (the one with the snowblower) helped my wife and me sort out the facts and figure out our options. ... He was in our living room within an hour.

Plus Glanville writes about his hesitancy to speak out to the national media, and his realization that he can help out others who don't have his connetions:
After getting legal advice from my neighbor and my wife, I ruled out any immediate action. In fact, I was hesitant to impulsively share my story with anyone I knew, let alone my media friends at ESPN or The New York Times.
But as we spoke, I found myself thinking of the people who have to deal with far more extreme versions of racial profiling on a regular basis and don’t have the ability to convene meetings at Town Hall.

If you haven't read the whole article I would recommend reading it, or re-reading it if you skimmed it, because you seem to be taking away a different view than what Glanville is presenting. Ultimately he is concerned that others may not react like he did, and could get into more trouble with the police, simply because they were being racially profiled.
   63. Morty Causa Posted: April 15, 2014 at 06:29 PM (#4686588)
Cops, many have noted, have pretty much the same mentality as the criminal element they are supposed to contain and suppress. If you argue from an ideal model that exists only in your head, it's easy to win the argument about the venality of the police. There are many examples that support such a bias. However, there are also examples of what happens when the police, and authority in general, is removed from society, is neutered or rendered a spent force. Here's the testimony of one witness to that:

As a young teenager in proudly peaceable Canada during the romantic 1960s, I was a true believer in Bakunin’s anarchism. I laughed off my parents’ argument that if the government ever laid down its arms all hell would break loose. Our competing predictions were put to the test at 8:00 A.M. on October 17, 1969, when the Montreal police went on strike. By 11:20 A.M. the first bank was robbed. By noon most downtown stores had closed because of looting. Within a few more hours, taxi drivers burned down the garage of a limousine service that competed with them for airport customers, a rooftop sniper killed a provincial police officer, a doctor slew a burglar in his suburban home. By the end of the day, six banks had been robbed, a hundred shops had been looted, twelve fires had been set, forty carloads of storefront glass had been broken, and three million dollars in property damage had been inflicted, before city authorities had to call in the army and, of course, the Mounties to restore order. This decisive empirical test left my politics in tatters…
Steven Pinker in The Blank Slate.
   64. Greg K Posted: April 15, 2014 at 07:10 PM (#4686603)
[Insert snarky, bigoted joke about rowdy French Canadians].

To be fair, Montreal in 1969 wasn't the most peaceable place in the world before the police went on strike. If I recall correctly the whole reason the police went on strike was in protest of the dangerous bomb-defusing work they had to do during the separatist FLQ terrorist bombing campaign from the early 60s until 1970. I don't know the details of those particular robberies, but I do know bank robberies were one of the significant ways the FLQ financed their terrorism.

Which isn't to say Pinker was wrong, but Montreal in 1969 probably didn't feel like a very safe place even before the police went on strike. I'm not sure the lesson learned is one about human nature as much as it is about 1960s Montreal.

The riots a couple years ago in the UK have that sort of feel to them though. I was living in Nottingham when they started out in London. The reasons behind the initial outbreak of violence didn't seem relevant by the time the riots got to us a day or two later. It felt more like the police had established that they weren't going to be able to do a great deal to stop it, so you could probably get away with some consequence-free mayhem.
   65. spike Posted: April 15, 2014 at 07:16 PM (#4686608)
prison guard is a much better career choice


Oh dear lord yes. We agree on this.


Pay is lower, security is worse, and you have to work around greater numbers of bad guys at all times. Cop is totally where it's at for bullying - not only can you do it with impunity, you usually get people who haven't spent a few years thinking about what they'd do to you if you ever turn your back.
   66. Greg K Posted: April 15, 2014 at 07:24 PM (#4686615)
Upon brushing up on some reading:

Apparently the provincial police officer who was killed was shot by a member of an FLQ cell.
   67. Morty Causa Posted: April 15, 2014 at 07:27 PM (#4686616)
Well, as you say, it doesn't negate Pinker's point.
   68. Greg K Posted: April 15, 2014 at 07:42 PM (#4686629)
It doesn't do a whole lot to strengthen his point either though...I suppose it comes from his own experience, but I'm sure he could come up with a better example.

You'd think the peaceable Canada of the 1960s he romanticized would have been shattered by the bombing of government buildings, an army recruiting centre, various banks, armories, and universities in Montreal in 1963, the waves of robberies by FLQ cells in 1964 and 1965, the renewed bombing campaign of 1968 and 1969 (with 52 bombs being set off in a year, and many more defused). But instead it's October 1969 when the police go on strike over demands for more pay for dealing with all of this and almost certainly FLQ led riots break out that he reads something into it?

It's a sequence of events that seems more to me like an ongoing war between the FLQ and the authorities where one side takes advantage of the absence of the other. The violence wasn't a product of human nature outing itself in the absence of the forces of order. It was a war that one side stopped fighting for a night.
   69. Morty Causa Posted: April 15, 2014 at 07:51 PM (#4686632)
So, you take issue with his point that without a force for order, general chaos will result (or, of course, a new force for order)? You have an example of that--where a large, complex society does without police and it works out?
   70. Greg K Posted: April 15, 2014 at 07:58 PM (#4686636)
So, you take issue with his point that without a force for order, general chaos will result (or, of course, a new force for order)? You have an example of that--where a large, complex society does without police?

I probably agree with Pinker's larger point. I just think he's being disingenuous with this anecdote. He's making it sound like 1960s Montreal was an idyllic peaceful town where everyone got along [EDIT: because it scores rhetorical points for him]. And then 4 hours without a police force all chaos breaks out. Especially since presumably this book is mostly marketed to an American audience that maybe doesn't know about the terrorism that marked 1960s Montreal I find that irresponsible. I just find it annoying when people are misleading when they don't need to be.
   71. jdennis Posted: April 15, 2014 at 08:05 PM (#4686640)
The thing that annoys me about these anecdotes about racial profiling is that the examples of unfounded hostility they cite all happen to me as a suburban, highly educated white guy in middle America, and they happen to me commonly. I've been tailed by cops for no reason several times, I've had crap thrown at me from cars while standing on the street several times, strangers insult me for no reason all the time, I've been disrespectfully assumed to be offering to do menial labor for money several times. Especially "white women lock their doors when I pass their cars," that's just a constant, I'm pretty sure women do that to all men all the time. It's a socioeconomic thing. It is common for any white kids whose parents make less than 40k a year, as well as the black kids and all other races of the same economic status. It's a socioeconomic thing.

It's a not assuming authority has earned the right to have it sort of thing if you want to put an attitude on me, and that is common to low income whites as well as oppressed minorities. I've learned that basically nobody has actually earned what they have in life, so I don't put any credence to authority just because. I ain't an oppressed minority, but I don't assume cops are great guys when I meet them. And I hate greeting people in general, so I ain't gonna pretend to be nice to them. And when driving, all races fear the cop car.
   72. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: April 15, 2014 at 08:28 PM (#4686645)
What Morty's Montreal example really explicates is just how full of #### Libertopia really is.
   73. RMc is a fine piece of cheese Posted: April 15, 2014 at 08:41 PM (#4686650)
I think you're missing the point of from, Andy.


As time goes by, the more my hometown becomes a great place to be from, as opposed to a great to still be in.

If the cop walks up to Glanville and starts the conversation with "Hi, sir. Do you live here?" and if Glanville responds with a "Yes", then the cop simply says "Okay, thanks. We have a report of someone soliciting door-to-door to shovel people's driveways, and he matched your description. Have you seen him around here recently?" then this isn't a story.


Actually, what the cop should've said was, "Sir, your OPS+ of 79 was the 6th-lowest of anyone who had at least 4000 PA from 1996-2004. And it was the lowest of anyone who wasn't a catcher or a shortstop! How the hell did you stay in the majors?"
   74. Greg K Posted: April 15, 2014 at 08:47 PM (#4686655)
Actually, what the cop should've said was, "Sir, your OPS+ of 79 was the 6th-lowest of anyone who had at least 4000 PA from 1996-2004. And it was the lowest of anyone who wasn't a catcher or a shortstop! How the hell did you stay in the majors?"

Oddly enough that precisely ties Corey Patterson who I have just a hair behind Glanville as #68 and #69 among centerfielders of my lifetime. Which I of course would tell him next time I happen to be on his driveway.
   75. Morty Causa Posted: April 15, 2014 at 09:17 PM (#4686665)
Everyone, when backed into a corner away from their ideological givens, will admit that cops in particular, and authority in general, will overstep its bounds; at times and depending on circumstances; they will also, giving similar stipulations, concede the most Rousseauian noble free man will take advantage of the freedom he has if he is not kept from doing so by those same police authorities (if you don't like Montreal, how about New Orleans during and post-Katrina?). There is no ideal state. The hard part is striking a balance, and different communities have the fulcrum on that seesaw at varying points for different reasons. The arrangement is always in the process of negotiation. The idiotic pie in the sky is to believe that the negotiation is unnecessary--that give all the leverage to one side or the other is what is called for. That's is Pinker ultimate point, which he states throughout his work.
   76. Greg K Posted: April 15, 2014 at 09:23 PM (#4686667)
(if you don't like Montreal, how about New Orleans during and post-Katrina?).

Or, as my personal example I mentioned, the UK riots in 2011. Personally I probably lean more towards the need for law and order officials within this balance striking than most people here...though perhaps not as far as Good Face.
   77. Greg K Posted: April 15, 2014 at 10:02 PM (#4686669)
Speaking of Quebec there's pretty good documentary on the October Crisis in 1970 by the National Film Board in Canada. They have a lengthy excerpt from a famous impromptu interview a reporter had with Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau as he's walking into parliament. It's actually pretty germane here as it turns into a debate on law and order (for context a British diplomat and a provincial cabinet minister had been kidnapped by FLQ terrorists and Trudeau had called in the army to protect key political figures from kidnap or assassination).

The money quote is at 6:00 (the interview itself begins 10 seconds in).

Trudeau: "Well there's a lot of bleeding hearts around who just don't like to see people with helmets and guns. All I can say is go on and bleed. But it's more important to keep law and order in this society than to be worried about what weak-kneed people who don't like the looks of..."

Reporter: "At any cost? How far would you go with that? How far would you extend that?"

Trudeau: "Well, just watch me"

Trudeau can be quite a divisive figure in Canada, but I think he's more right than wrong here. It is a surprisingly candid discussion by today's standards and I think well worth watching.
   78. JuanGone..except1game Posted: April 15, 2014 at 11:54 PM (#4686697)
The thing that annoys me about these anecdotes about racial profiling is that the examples of unfounded hostility they cite all happen to me as a suburban, highly educated white guy in middle America, and they happen to me commonly. I've been tailed by cops for no reason several times, I've had crap thrown at me from cars while standing on the street several times, strangers insult me for no reason all the time, I've been disrespectfully assumed to be offering to do menial labor for money several times. Especially "white women lock their doors when I pass their cars," that's just a constant, I'm pretty sure women do that to all men all the time. It's a socioeconomic thing. It is common for any white kids whose parents make less than 40k a year, as well as the black kids and all other races of the same economic status. It's a socioeconomic thing.


Sorry to annoy you again, but I think that your missing the point. Glanville isn't in the same socioeconomic class as you or those white kids whose parents make over 40k. He doesn't look or dress like someone who makes $80k a year and doesn't speak like it either, and he still gets treated this way. And if you think that black kids being harassed has anything to do with socioeconomic status, I'm not sure you know what your talking about.
   79. Morty Causa Posted: April 16, 2014 at 12:04 AM (#4686698)
   80. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: April 16, 2014 at 12:12 AM (#4686703)
Steven Pinker in The Blank Slate.
That's at least the third time you've posted that quote here, and if I bothered to respond, would be the third time I'd point out how silly it is. Pinker misrepresents the facts and draws silly conclusions.
   81. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: April 16, 2014 at 12:17 AM (#4686705)
It's hard to imagine in 2014 that life really was like that once upon a time - and once upon a time wasn't really all that long ago.
it was pretty long ago. I mean, no, it's not precolonial America, but the vast majority of Americans today weren't even alive then.
   82. Morty Causa Posted: April 16, 2014 at 12:18 AM (#4686706)
Well, if that's so, then it's the third time upon a heap of times on other subjects that you are wrong about. We can go into the other things, too any time you're ready to gird your loins.

Moreover, I didn't just post the quote.
   83. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: April 16, 2014 at 12:20 AM (#4686707)
This is such a stupid slope. What should the officer have done if there were, heaven forbid, TWO black guys shoveling snow? THREE black guys? After all, black guy shoveling snow fits the description.
What if an eyewitness said that the getaway car at the bank was a red SUV? What are police to do if they spot a red SUV a few blocks away? What if there were two, or three, red SUVs?
   84. bookbook Posted: April 16, 2014 at 12:37 AM (#4686711)
"I've been tailed by cops for no reason several times, I've had crap thrown at me from cars while standing on the street several times, strangers insult me for no reason all the time, I've been disrespectfully assumed to be offering to do menial labor for money several times. Especially "white women lock their doors when I pass their cars,""


Dude, what kind of vibe are you giving off?

I'm a nondescript white guy who has lived in a number of cities for my 40+ years and literally have never had any of those things happen to me. (Okay, when I entered an airport gift shop with long hair and a tye-dye, the proprietor followed me around, clearly convinced I was about to shoplift. And I was stopped once on the highway when not speeding, probably because I had two dogs in the car. But never tailed by cops, nor insulted by random strangers, nor had women of any hue lock their doors as I walked by.)
   85. theboyqueen Posted: April 16, 2014 at 12:38 AM (#4686712)
This is not about a freaking bank robbery. This is about a dude shoveling show in his driveway. Until anyone can present an example of a white man being harassed by the cops for shoveling snow just please shut the hell up.
   86. Select Storage Device Posted: April 16, 2014 at 12:48 AM (#4686714)
What if an eyewitness said that the getaway car at the bank was a red SUV? What are police to do if they spot a red SUV a few blocks away? What if there were two, or three, red SUVs?


A getaway car at a bank? A red SUV? My fault for introducing a comparison, but this... doesn't resonate. If the argument that questioning the lone (as viewed by Glanville's account) black person performing a normal function of someone living in a small snowy community, then requires, or makes logical sense, to question that person simply because he is A) black and B) shoveling snow, rather than attempting to get more facts before you uncomfortably confront a citizen vs. having a much more accurate description (a "red SUV involved in a bank robbery" says much more than a "black guy shoveling snow in violation of a local ordinance") implicated in a much more serious crime?

This is the crux of the matter, no? Black person is questioned while doing something a home-owner would do, simply because he was black and might have been the only black home-owner on the block.
   87. Morty Causa Posted: April 16, 2014 at 01:00 AM (#4686715)
In the Prof Gates brouhaha, who exactly was guilty of racism--the cop acting subject to a neighbor's report, or Gates going off half-cocked?

North Lake Charles, Louisiana, about ten years ago. A co-worker and I are cruising this black neighborhood, trying to find a client's house, when we pass a trio of black dudes drinking out of the same paper bag at a street corner (no Skittlebrau them, though, I bet), dressed in the uniform of the time and place. As we slowly go by, one looks up and inquires sweetly and tactfully, "What the #### you looking at, you white mother ######?" My cohort, who was driving, looks at me, raises his eyebrows, and says, "Rollll 'em up."

I have heard numerous accounts from white guys' experiences in New Orleans, where they were informed, in a spirit of courtesy and helpfulness, I'm sure, to not let the sun set on them in this part of town--and in exactly those words. The idea that there is only one race, and only one racism, is a canard of the first water. It's ridiculous on its face to say that whites cannot be subject to racism when there are actual statutes that allow it and promote it in express terms.

Racism is merely a form of tribalism--and that is everywhere and has been so since the beginning of time. We can rise above it, but it happens through institutional change over time--and you don't do it by merely reversing the racial victims. You do it by incorporating the adverse tribes into a higher one. But too many would to revel and wallow in the SOSO.

EDIT: In the Gates example, how could the accusation of racism be avoided? The police simply not investigate? What? How?
   88. AuntBea Posted: April 16, 2014 at 02:37 AM (#4686751)
I was profiled in front of my apartment in San Francisco for wearing a hoodie. Interestingly, the guy I think they were really after (someone on the block called in claiming a person in a hoodie was poking around looking into cars or something) was black, because there was a black guy in a hoodie on the street with me a minute or two before the cops showed up. I'm white. The cops specifically mentioned they were looking for a guy in a hoodie. Not notably belligerent to me.

I have also been followed home by the cops at night when I was driving (for several blocks). I lived in a nice peaceful suburb in the city limits at the time, but it was also 4am. When I parked the car and got out they stopped and gave me a long look and then zoomed away. The whole time I just pretended like they weren't there, which is vaguely amusing because they were making what they were doing very obvious.

I'm sure there are other incidents I'm forgetting. These things do happen occasionally.
   89. Robert in Manhattan Beach Posted: April 16, 2014 at 03:05 AM (#4686753)
What if an eyewitness said that the getaway car at the bank was a red SUV? What are police to do if they spot a red SUV a few blocks away? What if there were two, or three, red SUVs?

I love that 'black guy' is binary. Yes or no. We got a report of a black guy, you are a black guy, therefore you must be the guy. Somehow that doesn't fly with whitey. But if you say 'black guy' pretty much every black guy now 'fits the description'.
   90. Alex meets the threshold for granular review Posted: April 16, 2014 at 03:07 AM (#4686754)
What if an eyewitness said that the getaway car at the bank was a red SUV? What are police to do if they spot a red SUV a few blocks away? What if there were two, or three, red SUVs?


If it's the LAPD, they'll just light you up even if the SUV you're in is blue and not red.
   91. Robert in Manhattan Beach Posted: April 16, 2014 at 03:26 AM (#4686758)
Yeah, that was awesome. Looking for an angry black dude in a charcoal Nissan Titan, open fire on two Hispanic women in a blue Toyota Tacoma. To be fair, the also mistakenly shot at a dude in a black pickup truck. Their incompetence in vehicle identification rivaled only by their sh!tty marksmanship. 100 bullets into that Tacoma and those ladies walked away.
   92. OsunaSakata Posted: April 16, 2014 at 08:54 AM (#4686773)
...billionaires are spending their billions trying to steer this nation back into the 1950s.


Are you kidding? The top marginal tax rate was 91% in the 1950s.
   93. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: April 16, 2014 at 09:05 AM (#4686780)
Are you kidding? The top marginal tax rate was 91% in the 1950s.


Right decade. Wrong century. 1850s.
   94. AROM Posted: April 16, 2014 at 09:25 AM (#4686790)
...billionaires are spending their billions trying to steer this nation back into the 1950s.


Which billionaires are doing this?

I hope you're not referring to the Koch brothers, who support pot legalization and gay marriage.
   95. The Good Face Posted: April 16, 2014 at 10:09 AM (#4686831)
prison guard is a much better career choice


Oh dear lord yes. We agree on this.

Pay is lower, security is worse, and you have to work around greater numbers of bad guys at all times. Cop is totally where it's at for bullying - not only can you do it with impunity, you usually get people who haven't spent a few years thinking about what they'd do to you if you ever turn your back.


You're not thinking it through. The media (and public) loves stories of cops getting busted for being crooked or otherwise engaging in inappropriate behavior. Nobody gives a rat's ass what happens to prisoners in prison; any article about it is just MEGO for the general public. The public sphere is full of people with phones and other recording devices who can catch a cop acting inappropriately. Prisoners don't have smart phones. Finally, a cop who likes bullying people runs the risk of picking on the wrong target, some guy who's politically connected and can make life hell for him. Prisoners, especially the weakest, most marginalized prisoners (prime bullying targets), don't have powerful friends and have nowhere to run and nobody to take their complaints to.

Right decade. Wrong century. 1850s.


I wish our billionaire overlords were trying to bring us back to the 1850s! No such luck though.
   96. Ron J2 Posted: April 16, 2014 at 10:14 AM (#4686835)
#68 I was a kid in Montreal at that general time. One of the things the FLQ was doing at the time was leaving bombs in mailboxes that went off at semi-random times. To this day, mailboxes still make me nervous.
   97. A big pile of nonsense (gef the talking mongoose) Posted: April 16, 2014 at 11:02 AM (#4686866)

I wish our billionaire overlords were trying to bring us back to the 1850s! No such luck though.


Because slavery was kewl!
   98. You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR) Posted: April 16, 2014 at 11:15 AM (#4686880)
Life was easy before mushy-headed females could vote.
   99. base ball chick Posted: April 16, 2014 at 11:52 AM (#4686911)
95. The Good Face Posted: April 16, 2014 at 10:09 AM (#4686831)


You're not thinking it through. The media (and public) loves stories of cops getting busted for being crooked or otherwise engaging in inappropriate behavior.



- thing is that cops do NOT get fired or even prison time for inappropriate behavior, shooting or KILLING Black people. Such as Robbie Tolan.. they supposedlt thought that tolan's OWN suv was stolen - but they couldn't be bothered to run the license plates?

I read about the Hispanic women who got shot up for the crime of looking like a Black MAN. i read that the City had to pay them off. I did NOT read that the cops who did the shooting were even reprimanded, let alone being arrested for something like assault with intent to kill or attempted murder

i don't get the - paying someone money = punishment of the perp.

- i am absolutely terrified of police and expect every time i am stopped by one to be murdered in cold blood, or at the least, thrown on the ground, handcuffed, kicked or beaten for DWB. because that is what they do. and they always get away with it, at least in my city. especially in the White areas. i wouldn't be stupid enough to go anywheres near a suburb like tomball.

- whenever i drive anywhere i always take out my ins certificate and license and put them together in the middle so as they will be ready the second the cop comes to the window because they can and will shoot you for going into your purse or the glove compartment and say they thought you were going for a gun. so get away with murder/attempted murder.

- you White guys don't really get this because you don't think for a minute that it would happen to you. but it does - happened to brandon backe in the city he was born in, where he was well known. and the cops grabbed the cell phones/cameras and arrested people who were taking pics. and somehow the security videos from the hotel have disappeared.

   100. bigglou115 Posted: April 16, 2014 at 12:15 PM (#4686927)
Never been racially profiled, likely because my skin is so white I get a sunburn walking to my car, but I've been profiled as a hobo. This past winter I let my beard grow long, and because I didn't have any court appearances it grew quite unruly during December. I love in one of those "well to do" areas that just borders a much poorer area, and me and a friend were fixing to go hunting, so it was like 4:30. Unfortunately I'd locked my keys in my truck and was having a heck of a time getting the door open. Neighbor called the cops and the police showed up right as I was getting in the car, so all the expensive equipment had been stored and I was standing there with a crazy person beard, crazy person hair uncut and uncovered, and old stained clothes with holes all over. Luckily my hunting buddy was a deputy district attorney who knew the cop and I didn't have to go to any trouble.

I bring this up because as a do criminal defense attorney I've seen racial profiling in Arkansas, and I would never equate my experience with that of any minority group. I've seen black men arrested for public intox because the officer was frustrated he didn't find drugs in the car, I've seen legally immigrated Mexicans turned over to ICE because they didn't think to carry their paperwork with them everywhere they went. It's real, it happens.

On the one hand, this does sound more like bully cop than anything. I can't blame him for being suspicious, but the cop's dialogue sounds exactly like any of a dozen taped interactions I've heard, with black and white suspects. On the other, Glanville has more or less earned the right to be suspicious by virtue of growing up with a different skin color from the majority. It's tough, because I can read it one way and it sounds like he just doesn't understand most cops assume everyone they meet is committing a crime. But I can also read it saying, "if this can happen to me imagine what's happening elsewhere." Since theirs no pattern that I'm aware of, I think giving Glanville the benefit of the doubt is warranted.
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