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  1. TopTop #1
    Sabrina's Avatar
    Sabrina
     

    My son was racially profiled in Sebastopol on Main St.

    Last night my husband, my 19 year old son, and I went to see Hoytus in Sebastopol at Aubergine. At about 11 PM my son decided to go out and take a walk down town to just see what's going on further downtown. He was with his Kalimba playing it as he walked. If anyone knows my son, they know he almost goes no where without that little musical instrument (the Kalimba). He is also mixed, half white half African and has brown skin. He was on his way back from down town toward Aubergine again playing his kalimba when he got blasted with a bright light from a cop car riding up behind him on the street. The cop gets out and makes him put his instrument down, told him to keep his hands out of his pockets, asked him his name and to show his i.d. This is not the first time this has happened to him in Sebastopol. My son asked the cop "is everything alright?" and took it further, typical of my son, asked the cop "are you alright, are you ok" because as a human my son said the cop was very nervous. He actually told my son that he shouldn't be asking him that, he's supposed to be checking him (my son) out. Then he called into another cop giving my son's name and then said, No it wasn't him they were looking for, he'd been responding to a complaint somewhere way down the other end of town where someone's car had been broken into and things robbed. Now, why would he randomly stop my son just walking down the street? My son did say that not only was he playing the instrument he was kind of skipping / moving to his beats, including whistling, and he describes himself as whistling and singing in joy under the street lights. I bet if it was a white guy skipping and dancing down the street the cop would've ignored him. It was just seeing a black kid who's not always seen in Sebastopol. Anyone who knows my son, knows that he is NOT gangster or criminal in any way. I've heard for years and years and witnessed racial profiling in Sonoma County (my husband has been a victim often). But now when it starts happening to my kids it's hitting a raw nerve!!!! Just want people to be aware of this who are not aware.
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  3. TopTop #2
    CyberHippy's Avatar
    CyberHippy
     

    Re: My son was racially profiled in Sebastopol on Main St.

    I recall seeing you, your husband and your son at the show (I was the sound engineer) and had a nice moment when I realized the random music I was hearing was your son playing his instrument. I'm happy that he left the show with a skip and a smile, Hoytus did a great job of ending on a positive note for the evening!

    I'm deeply sad to hear about the profiling, but not too surprised. My personal experiences with Sebastopol Police have supported the contention that many of them are of a very different culture from the overall population of the city they are supposed to protect. While the average Sebastopudlian is dedicated to being inclusive and embracing to all cultures our world offers, the younger police I have come across fit into that strange sub-culture that feels the need to desecrate the American flag by flying them in the back of their truck (against the US Flag Code) in a mis-guided show of "Patriotism"Ö

    Most of the older Police I have dealt with are much more balanced people, some are even musicians themselves and appreciate the cultural diversity of our town. Perhaps we should talk to some of them about teaching their younger co-horts the joys of a more balanced world view?
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  5. TopTop #3
    Mighty
    Guest

    Re: My son was racially profiled in Sebastopol on Main St.

    I am so sorry to hear about your son. I grew up here in Sebastopol and now I am in my 40's raising my children who are teens. About a year ago I met an old high school girlfriend at Hop Monk's and had one glass of wine. I noticed a police officer came in the restaurant and looked at us. When I left I was pulled over by a really young officer and was given a sobriety test (my first one ever). He kept me for over an hour and said I failed and had to take a breathalyzer. I felt so harassed and told I was going to jail if I did not take the breathalyzer. Knowingly that I was not intoxicated I took it. Passed of course and then lectured if I had one more glass I would of went to jail. A week later my father was delivering cheese to Hop Monk and was pulled over too, asking if he had been drinking. NOT! Then my husband and I were at GTO's having dinner and watched the police drive around circles passing HopMonk, Aubergine, Jaspers, Main and GTO's looking for someone to pull over. I now look for places to go to dinner with friends out of Sebastopol because I feel they harass and it is not good for local business!!
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  7. TopTop #4

    Re: My son was racially profiled in Sebastopol on Main St.

    Quote Posted in reply to the post by Sabrina: View Post
    Last night my husband, my 19 year old son, and I went to see Hoytus in Sebastopol at Aubergine. At about 11 PM my son decided to go out and take a walk down town to just see what's going on further downtown. He was with his Kalimba playing it as he walked. If anyone knows my son, they know he almost goes no where without that little musical instrument (the Kalimba). He is also mixed, half white half African and has brown skin. He was on his way back from down town toward Aubergine again playing his kalimba when he got blasted with a bright light from a cop car riding up behind him on the street. The cop gets out and makes him put his instrument down, told him to keep his hands out of his pockets, asked him his name and to show his i.d. This is not the first time this has happened to him in Sebastopol. My son asked the cop "is everything alright?" and took it further, typical of my son, asked the cop "are you alright, are you ok" because as a human my son said the cop was very nervous. He actually told my son that he shouldn't be asking him that, he's supposed to be checking him (my son) out. Then he called into another cop giving my son's name and then said, No it wasn't him they were looking for, he'd been responding to a complaint somewhere way down the other end of town where someone's car had been broken into and things robbed. Now, why would he randomly stop my son just walking down the street? My son did say that not only was he playing the instrument he was kind of skipping / moving to his beats, including whistling, and he describes himself as whistling and singing in joy under the street lights. I bet if it was a white guy skipping and dancing down the street the cop would've ignored him. It was just seeing a black kid who's not always seen in Sebastopol. Anyone who knows my son, knows that he is NOT gangster or criminal in any way. I've heard for years and years and witnessed racial profiling in Sonoma County (my husband has been a victim often). But now when it starts happening to my kids it's hitting a raw nerve!!!! Just want people to be aware of this who are not aware.
    A scenario almost exactly as you described above happened to me at the railroad square in Santa Rosa... I was playing hacky sack with about 5 other people when a cop stopped our game grabbed me and detained me on the hood of his police vehicle as he called in my drivers license information.... The cop asked me several accusatory questions as if I had been a perpetrator of some sort and made me feel as though my truthful responses to his questions were complete lies. All until his radio said I was clear and I was not actually who they were looking for.

    I was quite furious at the time and had thought that I was being discriminated against for my rather long beard and hair. I am white by the way.... But now as I look back on that situation that occurred almost 4 years ago I realize the cop probably wasn't profiling a certain lifestyle or person but a description of a person (me) who had similar features to that of a criminal... Now I hate the way I was treated and it sounds like they treated your son that way too which sucks, but I would be cautious about throwing around claims of racsim onto your communities public safety officers (or anyone for that matter) in public, especially when its not completely certain that this was racial profiling or not... All I'm saying is that calling out people for racism is such a serious matter that I don't think it should be thrown around when the evidence of the situation can be interpreted many ways. It seems as though the evidence you've provided (as well as mine) suggest the cops need more training on sensitivity when it comes to dealing with the public when searching for suspects. I find it a stretch that the only reason your son got stopped was because he has brown skin, since this happened to me also. And I also think that many people tend to point to racism where there is none and white males need to walk on eggshells for fear of claims of racism being hurled their direction. I see this all the time in white men that they are so scared of being labeled a racist for the most innocent of encounters... It doesn't create a great environment for everyone when certain people feel this way. So I think that when making the claim of racism we should use the utmost integrity as it is very important if we truly want people to treat each others as equals and feel comfortable around each other.
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  9. TopTop #5
    joehogan
     

    Re: My son was racially profiled in Sebastopol on Main St.

    When police act badly, a lawsuit is the appropriate response.



    Quote Posted in reply to the post by Sabrina: View Post
    Last night my husband, my 19 year old son, and I went to see Hoytus in Sebastopol at Aubergine. At about 11 PM my son decided to go out and take a walk down town to just see what's going on further downtown. He was with his Kalimba playing it as he walked. If anyone knows my son, they know he almost goes no where without that little musical instrument (the Kalimba). He is also mixed, half white half African and has brown skin. He was on his way back from down town toward Aubergine again playing his kalimba when he got blasted with a bright light from a cop car riding up behind him on the street. The cop gets out and makes him put his instrument down, told him to keep his hands out of his pockets, asked him his name and to show his i.d. This is not the first time this has happened to him in Sebastopol. My son asked the cop "is everything alright?" and took it further, typical of my son, asked the cop "are you alright, are you ok" because as a human my son said the cop was very nervous. He actually told my son that he shouldn't be asking him that, he's supposed to be checking him (my son) out. Then he called into another cop giving my son's name and then said, No it wasn't him they were looking for, he'd been responding to a complaint somewhere way down the other end of town where someone's car had been broken into and things robbed. Now, why would he randomly stop my son just walking down the street? My son did say that not only was he playing the instrument he was kind of skipping / moving to his beats, including whistling, and he describes himself as whistling and singing in joy under the street lights. I bet if it was a white guy skipping and dancing down the street the cop would've ignored him. It was just seeing a black kid who's not always seen in Sebastopol. Anyone who knows my son, knows that he is NOT gangster or criminal in any way. I've heard for years and years and witnessed racial profiling in Sonoma County (my husband has been a victim often). But now when it starts happening to my kids it's hitting a raw nerve!!!! Just want people to be aware of this who are not aware.
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  11. TopTop #6
    edie
    Guest

    Re: My son was racially profiled in Sebastopol on Main St.

    Quote Posted in reply to the post by Sabrina: View Post
    Last night my husband, my 19 year old son, and I went to see Hoytus in Sebastopol at Aubergine. At about 11 PM my son decided to go out and take a walk down town to just see what's going on further downtown. He was with his Kalimba playing it as he walked. If anyone knows my son, they know he almost goes no where without that little musical instrument (the Kalimba). He is also mixed, half white half African and has brown skin. He was on his way back from down town toward Aubergine again playing his kalimba when he got blasted with a bright light from a cop car riding up behind him on the street. The cop gets out and makes him put his instrument down, told him to keep his hands out of his pockets, asked him his name and to show his i.d. This is not the first time this has happened to him in Sebastopol. My son asked the cop "is everything alright?" and took it further, typical of my son, asked the cop "are you alright, are you ok" because as a human my son said the cop was very nervous. He actually told my son that he shouldn't be asking him that, he's supposed to be checking him (my son) out. Then he called into another cop giving my son's name and then said, No it wasn't him they were looking for, he'd been responding to a complaint somewhere way down the other end of town where someone's car had been broken into and things robbed. Now, why would he randomly stop my son just walking down the street? My son did say that not only was he playing the instrument he was kind of skipping / moving to his beats, including whistling, and he describes himself as whistling and singing in joy under the street lights. I bet if it was a white guy skipping and dancing down the street the cop would've ignored him. It was just seeing a black kid who's not always seen in Sebastopol. Anyone who knows my son, knows that he is NOT gangster or criminal in any way. I've heard for years and years and witnessed racial profiling in Sonoma County (my husband has been a victim often). But now when it starts happening to my kids it's hitting a raw nerve!!!! Just want people to be aware of this who are not aware.
    Sorry about your son- are you sure it was profiling? Where there other people on the road- and stopped?
    If someone would brake into my car I would have probably liked that most anybody on the road would be stopped and checked... it's just a check- and if I would have been stopped I would not try to have a "conversation" with the police- I learned that quick. Please think that there are a few people running loose that are not to be trusted, thats why the police is out there, to also protect your son...
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  13. TopTop #7
    joehogan
     

    Re: My son was racially profiled in Sebastopol on Main St.

    Cop are public servants. You are the public. They are your servants. You can have a conversation with your servant if you want to. They are required to treat you with respect. If they don't, file a lawsuit.


    Quote Posted in reply to the post by edie: View Post
    Sorry about your son- are you sure it was profiling? Where there other people on the road- and stopped?
    If someone would brake into my car I would have probably liked that most anybody on the road would be stopped and checked... it's just a check- and if I would have been stopped I would not try to have a "conversation" with the police- I learned that quick. Please think that there are a few people running loose that are not to be trusted, thats why the police is out there, to also protect your son...
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  14. TopTop #8
    "Mad" Miles
     

    Re: My son was racially profiled in Sebastopol on Main St.


    Two people who responded to Sabrina's account of the police treatment of Olembe, have essentially downplayed or denied that racism had anything to do with it, also implying that profiling of any kind was doubtful.

    First my bias, Sabrina, her son Olembe and his father/her husband Okili are dear friends of mine. But I would propose that those who have experienced the roust, are the one's in a position to decide if the targeting of them by the police is based on bias or not. Not those sitting on the sidelines, who were not there, and did not witness or experience the stop.

    This denial (OK, let's just say, "skepticism") that race has anything to do with police conduct is a typical response from those not affected. Statistics, well founded and repeated over and over again, support the claim that police use racial and class profiling to guide their actions.

    And downplaying or denying the experience of those affected, is part of the system of institutionalized racism at work in our society.

    A recent poll showed that more White people think themselves the victims of racism, than whose who are not White. This is no accident. It's the result of a concerted campaign over the last thirty years, to make "reverse racism" the problem, rather than the legacy of racism on this continent for the last five hundred years.

    It's a big and complicated issue with a long and complex history. But I will give the benefit of the doubt to those who are the targets and not those doing the targeting. Unless and until every single police stop is videoed and audiotaped, so that those coming along after the fact can judge for themselves.

    My brother, who recently mounted a futile campaign to replace the Sebastopol PD with Sheriff's Department patrolling, did a ride-along with the SPD a couple of years ago. They referred to themselves as "Mayberry RFD" basically admitting that they don't have a lot to do.

    On this board there have been regular accounts of overzealous policing by the SPD. Not all of them of a racial nature, but some. You can't have been paying attention to the traffic on this board for the last several years, without being cognizant of that pattern.

    Driving while Black or Brown is a well known and substantiated phenomenon in our society. There are other forms. If you're young, poor, dress outside of the mainstream, and also White. You will get extra attention. Add in being Black or Latino or Other, you've hit the jackpot.

    Two weeks ago at my brother's wedding in Sebastopol, at his and our fathers house, I spoke with a young "crusty" guy who with a group of friends from New Orleans had rented a van to drive west, traveling for the summer. He said that once they crossed the border of California, the extra police attention and harassment increased exponentially.

    I would characterize this group of early twenty-somethings as "street punks". Who would have thought that in crunchy counter-cultural West Sonoma County, where the straights vs. the hippies battle was fought over thirty years ago, and relatively, peacefully (at least in time) resolved, that this would still be an issue. But apparently it is.

    Note that in Sabrina's account, she said nothing about a description of the car breaker was given by the police. Just that there was a report of vehicles being broken into at the other end of town. So all the talk of "fitting the description" does not apply in this incident. Except in the sense that it is well known that, "fits the description", means: young, poor, likely not White, and dressed outside of the mainstream.

    I've been a security guard (non-uniform, no weapon or badge, essentially a doorman who did rounds) I've taught in prison for three years, I've been a public high school and middle school teacher. One thing that is clear is that most cops spend most of their time at work with absolutely nothing to do, yet they're trained to anticipate danger at any moment and from any source (and that training is justified, it just shouldn't be the only kind they get) so they are bored out of their minds, and always looking for an excuse to go into action. With the results that we see, over and over again.

    I know Olembe well. I know his sweetness and charm. He probably handled himself as well as anyone could under the circumstances, and with great courage and aplomb.

    Me? I would have been livid. But I have that luxury. I'm so White, White people make fun of me and criticize me for being too White!

    Still, when I was younger, I took my small share of aggressive police harassment. They tend to pick on those who do not represent a threat to them. Guess who else does that?


    Last edited by "Mad" Miles; 06-20-2011 at 01:21 PM.
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  16. TopTop #9
    edie
    Guest

    Re: My son was racially profiled in Sebastopol on Main St.

    Quote Posted in reply to the post by joehogan: View Post
    Cop are public servants. You are the public. They are your servants. You can have a conversation with your servant if you want to. They are required to treat you with respect. If they don't, file a lawsuit.
    Of course you can have a conversation with a servant- but when cops are out looking for some criminal, they probably don't have time or in mind for a conversation with a nice person, they worry perhaps about someone with a gun in his pocket, their mind set on "danger" not "partytalk", I wouldn't interrupt them I would listen.
    Everybody is required to treat everybody with respect- if that would be so nobody would brake into a car...
    One good thing- lawyers always will have jobs, that might be one reason why in some areas in some cities the cops will not go in anymore.
    And yes, I know about profiling in many ways- but also about jumping the gun... there should be cooperation and understanding on both sides- a situation like that is never fun for anybody.
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  18. TopTop #10
    Imagery's Avatar
    Imagery
     

    Re: My son was racially profiled in Sebastopol on Main St.

    Quote Posted in reply to the post by Sabrina: View Post
    ...He was on his way back from down town toward Aubergine again playing his kalimba when he got blasted with a bright light from a cop car riding up behind him on the street. The cop gets out and makes him put his instrument down, told him to keep his hands out of his pockets, asked him his name and to show his i.d. This is not the first time this has happened to him in Sebastopol. My son asked the cop "is everything alright?" and took it further, typical of my son, asked the cop "are you alright, are you ok" because as a human my son said the cop was very nervous. He actually told my son that he shouldn't be asking him that, he's supposed to be checking him (my son) out. Then he called into another cop giving my son's name and then said, No it wasn't him they were looking for, he'd been responding to a complaint somewhere way down the other end of town where someone's car had been broken into and things robbed. Now, why would he randomly stop my son just walking down the street? My son did say that not only was he playing the instrument he was kind of skipping / moving to his beats, including whistling, and he describes himself as whistling and singing in joy under the street lights. I bet if it was a white guy skipping and dancing down the street the cop would've ignored him. It was just seeing a black kid who's not always seen in Sebastopol.
    From what you've described in the first portion of your (edited) statement, the police officer was following procedure to ensure his own safety. While it sounds like your son did nothing wrong, which is what I believe, sometimes police make MISTAKES. It's part of being fallible human beings. What you choose to do with it is up to you. You could think of it as a mistake, or you can make yourself (and/or your son) a victim. The third part, IN MY OPINION, is simply inflammatory speculation on your part. Perhaps it comes from you writing this while being upset, but I don't think you have the ability to tell everyone with certainty what the cops would or would not do with a person of different ethnicity.

    When I was in my early twenties, I was racially profiled - forced to sit on a curb for nearly an hour while this officer (Ventura Police Dept.) ran my name through every variation he could in order to try to arrest me. I hadn't done anything wrong except Driving While Brown. In the end, I was let go without a ticket. I got his badge number and his name, and went to the department the very next day and reported it. I received an explanation of the situation and an apology the very same day.

    Try forgiveness instead of hatred and anger. If it continues, keep getting badge numbers/names and keep reporting it.
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  20. TopTop #11
    natalie's Avatar
    natalie
     

    Re: My son was racially profiled in Sebastopol on Main St.

    I agree with a previous poster who said that the appropriate response is a lawsuit. I disagree with "try forgiveness" instead of "hate and anger". A quest for justice and fairness for all is not hate or anger. Forgiving racism without a remedy only allows the REAL hate and anger to continue. Furthermore, of course the police in an all-white town are racist. Sebastopol needs to be more inclusive.
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  22. TopTop #12
    Imagery's Avatar
    Imagery
     

    Re: My son was racially profiled in Sebastopol on Main St.

    Quote Posted in reply to the post by natalie: View Post
    I agree with a previous poster who said that the appropriate response is a lawsuit. I disagree with "try forgiveness" instead of "hate and anger". A quest for justice and fairness for all is not hate or anger. Forgiving racism without a remedy only allows the REAL hate and anger to continue. Furthermore, of course the police in an all-white town are racist. Sebastopol needs to be more inclusive.
    Can you prove beyond a reasonable doubt that racism was involved? Other than an inflammatory remark made by the OP, what evidence do you have? I also notice that you have nothing to say about the rest of my comment - that if it continues, keep getting names and badge numbers and keep reporting it. Paper trail is sometimes what it's called. If this person is profiled time and time again, then it would be more than a mistake...

    ...but you sitting on your high horse in judgement don't ever make mistakes. Sorry God, I didn't know you posted on WaccoBB. I also am surprised at your total stupidity of painting the entire police department with the same racist paint brush.
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  24. TopTop #13
    natalie's Avatar
    natalie
     

    Re: My son was racially profiled in Sebastopol on Main St.

    Wow. I detect a little hostility toward the victims of racism. Could you be a cop?

    By the way, the standard for a civil case is a "perponderance of the evidence", not "beyond a reasonable doubt." You have been watching too many cop shows
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  25. TopTop #14
    NadirahAdeye
     

    Re: My son was racially profiled in Sebastopol on Main St.

    White Like Me by Tim Wise
    Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack by Peggy McIntosh
    The Color of Fear- a film by Lee Mun Wah
    Last Chance for Eden- a film by Lee Mun Wah

    There are a whole host of other great books and films that would benefit those who are unclear about the ways in which systemic oppression works. It's great for all of us to learn how doing things like challenging someone's assertion of discrimination upholds these systems of oppression.
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  27. TopTop #15
    NadirahAdeye
     

    Re: My son was racially profiled in Sebastopol on Main St.

    I'm very sorry to read about your son's experience. It sucks and it might possibly have a deep impact on him for quite a while. Especially if it continues to happen. I was also extremely disappointed to read the responses here that questioned your assessment of whether or not it was, in fact, racial profiling. Unfortunately, it is a common (often white) response in the face of racial issues; personal discomfort (and the elimination of it) starts talking and compassionate awareness often takes a step back. I'm sure none of these people (nor any of the white people in your family or personal community who might make a similar misstep) would intentionally further harm your son by questioning his experience (which you clearly stated has happened more than once to him as well as to your husband.)

    It sounds as though some of the police officers in Sebastopol would benefit from reading Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack by Peggy McIntosh or White Like Me by Tim Wise. I would also encourage it for those who offered preliminary sympathy and then participated in some traditional white silencing behaviors that often contribute to feelings of isolation for those dealing with challenging issues of racism in our communities.

    For a lot of people, it is a privilege to be able to assume that your race is not the reason the police are stopping you. Especially if there is no reason for them to be doing so. It is also a privilege to not have to be aware of the systemic structures in place in the United States that makes it highly likely and, indeed probable, that this WAS an issue of racial profiling.

    Best wishes,
    Nadirah
    Last edited by Barry; 06-21-2011 at 09:10 AM.
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  29. TopTop #16
    Imagery's Avatar
    Imagery
     

    Re: My son was racially profiled in Sebastopol on Main St.

    Quote Posted in reply to the post by natalie: View Post
    Wow. I detect a little hostility toward the victims of racism. Could you be a cop?

    By the way, the standard for a civil case is a "perponderance of the evidence", not "beyond a reasonable doubt." You have been watching too many cop shows
    Definitely NOT a cop. Having been someone who's been racially profiled, realize that once, or even twice, does not a lawsuit make. Jumping on the "lawsuit" bandwagon - you seem to believe that there is no other alternative...or is it a simple matter of economics?? Have we found a potential payday here? Is having the citizenry paying this person off really going to change anything? Realistically that's who is paying for this.

    Having sat on a civil trial jury here in Sonoma County, I do know that it's a preponderance of the evidence, thank you for pointing that out. However, if they get the wrong jury (which is entirely possible, given your "...in an all-white town are racist. Sebastopol needs to be more inclusive..." statement), a single incident might not get the heartstrings of the all-white jury (jury of peers?) and would wind up being a waste of resources all around. It certainly wouldn't change anything. If they document a pattern of racial profiling, as I suggested in my post, then their case would be solid.
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  31. TopTop #17
    Imagery's Avatar
    Imagery
     

    Re: My son was racially profiled in Sebastopol on Main St.

    Quote Posted in reply to the post by NadirahAdeye: View Post
    Unfortunately, it is a common (often white) response in the face of racial issues; personal discomfort (and the elimination of it) starts talking and compassionate awareness often takes a step back...I would also encourage it for those who offered preliminary sympathy and then participated in some traditional white silencing behaviors that often contribute to feelings of isolation for those dealing with challenging issues of racism in our communities.

    For a lot of people, is a privilege to be able to assume that your race is not the reason the police are stopping you. Especially if there is no reason for them to be doing so. It is also a privilege to not have to be aware of the systemic structures in place in the United States that makes it highly likely and, indeed probable, that this WAS an issue of racial profiling.

    Best wishes,
    Nadirah
    I highlighted my experience, so you might be able to read it and not gloss over it. I chose to be pro-active about my experience, but not go the course of filing a lawsuit for what was clearly a mistake and misstep on the part of the police department. Just to point something out, my skin is brown - I'm half-hispanic. I'm brown enough that if approached by most native, Spanish-speaking Latinos, they will start speaking to me in Spanish with the assumption that I know the language. So I'm not some Wonder Bread eating white guy that you might think I am behind this keyboard.
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  32. TopTop #18
    natalie's Avatar
    natalie
     

    Re: My son was racially profiled in Sebastopol on Main St.

    Imagery, I don't care about "resources". I care about justice. You were the one who mentioned this beyond a reasonable doubt standard

    It may be hard to get an unbiased jury in Sebastopol, but then, 99% of cases settle before trial anyway once the judge rules that there exists a preponderance of the evidence. Using the courts is a viable option for getting results. And yes, in a way it is about a payday, since that is all the powers that be seem to care about.
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  33. Gratitude expressed by 2 members:

  34. TopTop #19
    podfish's Avatar
    podfish
     

    Re: My son was racially profiled in Sebastopol on Main St.

    Quote Posted in reply to the post by Imagery: View Post
    Try forgiveness instead of hatred and anger. If it continues, keep getting badge numbers/names and keep reporting it.
    where did that projection come from? I didn't notice any hatred. That's a cheezy tactic - "why do you hate kittens?". It's very difficult to preserve a climate where law enforcement always shows respect for the citizens they serve. It's easy for them to develop an us-vs.-them attitude, and it's easy for grateful/fearful citizens to give them a pass (as long as it's someone else getting the treatment!)
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  35. Gratitude expressed by 3 members:

  36. TopTop #20
    Imagery's Avatar
    Imagery
     

    Re: My son was racially profiled in Sebastopol on Main St.

    Quote Posted in reply to the post by podfish: View Post
    where did that projection come from? I didn't notice any hatred. That's a cheezy tactic - "why do you hate kittens?". It's very difficult to preserve a climate where law enforcement always shows respect for the citizens they serve. It's easy for them to develop an us-vs.-them attitude, and it's easy for grateful/fearful citizens to give them a pass (as long as it's someone else getting the treatment!)
    Perhaps vitriol is a more precise word, one that I failed to use in the quote you're referring to in your post.
    Overall, the tone of this board is to treat the police with suspicion, constantly question their motives, their proactive tactics, and quickly jump to the worst conclusion possible about them. It's interesting that when a member (someguy) posted up his experience, because he's white, it was completely ignored. Also interesting to me is that the young man himself isn't posting anything. He is an adult, over the age of 18 (per OP's post), and I'd assume he's intelligent and well-spoken enough that he can speak for himself. His mother is, but part of being an adult is learning how to deal with life as it happens.

    "I bet if it was a white guy skipping and dancing down the street the cop would've ignored him." - OP
    "When police act badly, a lawsuit is the appropriate response." - Joe Hogan
    "Cop are public servants. You are the public. They are your servants." - Joe Hogan
    "Furthermore, of course the police in an all-white town are racist." - Natalie

    I think someguy really stated this very well when he wrote: "And I also think that many people tend to point to racism where there is none and white males need to walk on eggshells for fear of claims of racism being hurled their direction. I see this all the time in white men that they are so scared of being labeled a racist for the most innocent of encounters... It doesn't create a great environment for everyone when certain people feel this way. So I think that when making the claim of racism we should use the utmost integrity as it is very important if we truly want people to treat each others as equals and feel comfortable around each other."

    If every non-white person were to follow your advice, crime would run rampant, and nothing would ever get done about the criminals. If some Latino robs a business, then later gets stopped - he'll cry "I'm being profiled" and sue the cops...yeah, that'll be helpful to crime prevention. The police would wind up getting sued by both the victim AND the criminal...and where does that leave society? It probably leaves society looking like it does in Clearlake, where people shoot innocent little 4 year-old boys for no particular reason. I'll wait to see the lawsuit filed by Orlando Lopez (Latino) for racial profiling.
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  37. Gratitude expressed by:

  38. TopTop #21

    Re: My son was racially profiled in Sebastopol on Main St.

    I think this is a really important issue and I'm sad to see this thread turn so ugly... I think we should all calm down a little bit and try to bring some personal integrity into this discussion. As I see it, some folks who have responded on this thread think that this incident was absolutely racism simply because Sabrina's son who happens to be black was stopped by the police while doing nothing but walking down the street. And I can understand why that thought would come up for Sabrina being a concerned mother, but as I said in my previous post a very similar situation happened to me four years ago... Surely that can't be blamed on racism too as I'm white, as was the cop. So as we all can see, these situations happen to both white people and people of color. With that in mind, we should all review the evidence provided in the original post and see that the claims of racism are shaky at best. That is not to say that this was not racially motivated, but in my eyes, with my understanding of the situation, it doesn't seem likely. Now maybe if he was detained for an unreasonable amount of time, or was on the receiving end of racist rhetoric, or was harmed or something out of the ordinary happened, then Sabrina would have a case for police racism.

    Whether it seems likely or not to you, there is still the possibility that it was not racially motivated. So to allege that a local police officer is racist in a public forum without a great deal of evidence seems rather drastic, immature and harmful to our community, possibly even harmful to the psychological health of the child who was stopped. I hope that kid doesn't end up thinking all white people are racist from his parents reaction and other reactions from Wacco members. That would be tragic. But it is amazing how some people here obviously feel that most if not all white people are inherently racist. Natalie's assumption about white people reflects that sentiment very well: "of course the police in an all-white town are racist." To me this is very sad that people in our community would try to fight racism with seemingly racist rhetoric. To those who truly are not racist and view all people as equal and having equal potential to be great people, an assumption such as Natalie's would seem ludicrous.

    Also, some here seem to think that I am in denial about racism in our society, but of course I know racism exists. It happened to Oscar Grant, Mumia, and to lots of other people on a daily basis. We should all be aware of this, fight against it, and work towards bettering our communities for everybody, but we should do our work with the utmost integrity. We shouldn't cry wolf at the slightest inconvenience, and we definitely shouldn't combat evil with evil. We should send our love to those who are racist in hopes that they change.
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  39. Gratitude expressed by 11 members:

  40. TopTop #22
    meherc's Avatar
    meherc
    Supporting member

    Re: My son was racially profiled in Sebastopol on Main St.

    Quote Posted in reply to the post by someguy: View Post
    I think this is a really important issue and I'm sad to see this thread turn so ugly... I think we should all calm down a little bit and try to bring some personal integrity into this discussion. As I see it, some folks who have responded on this thread think that this incident was absolutely racism simply because Sabrina's son who happens to be black was stopped by the police while doing nothing but walking down the street. And I can understand why that thought would come up for Sabrina being a concerned mother, but as I said in my previous post a very similar situation happened to me four years ago... Surely that can't be blamed on racism too as I'm white, as was the cop. So as we all can see, these situations happen to both white people and people of color. With that in mind, we should all review the evidence provided in the original post and see that the claims of racism are shaky at best. That is not to say that this was not racially motivated, but in my eyes, with my understanding of the situation, it doesn't seem likely. Now maybe if he was detained for an unreasonable amount of time, or was on the receiving end of racist rhetoric, or was harmed or something out of the ordinary happened, then Sabrina would have a case for police racism.

    Whether it seems likely or not to you, there is still the possibility that it was not racially motivated. So to allege that a local police officer is racist in a public forum without a great deal of evidence seems rather drastic, immature and harmful to our community, possibly even harmful to the psychological health of the child who was stopped. I hope that kid doesn't end up thinking all white people are racist from his parents reaction and other reactions from Wacco members. That would be tragic. But it is amazing how some people here obviously feel that most if not all white people are inherently racist. Natalie's assumption about white people reflects that sentiment very well: "of course the police in an all-white town are racist." To me this is very sad that people in our community would try to fight racism with seemingly racist rhetoric. To those who truly are not racist and view all people as equal and having equal potential to be great people, an assumption such as Natalie's would seem ludicrous.

    Also, some here seem to think that I am in denial about racism in our society, but of course I know racism exists. It happened to Oscar Grant, Mumia, and to lots of other people on a daily basis. We should all be aware of this, fight against it, and work towards bettering our communities for everybody, but we should do our work with the utmost integrity. We shouldn't cry wolf at the slightest inconvenience, and we definitely shouldn't combat evil with evil. We should send our love to those who are racist in hopes that they change.
    My son, a friend of Olembe's and white, gets stopped by the police regularly. I put it down to him being 20, and perhaps a tad dour looking (Olembe's sweeter looking), and apt to be out on the street late at night. I am not dismissing Sabrina's perceptions but I would tend to give the police the benefit of the doubt. And I advise my kid to be polite to the nice policeman, no sarcastic questions (I'm afraid if my kid asked the cop "Are you alright?" , he would not just be enquiring after his welfare.) I certainly wouldn't say that and I'm an adult. My son is likely to start lecturing the officer about the police state we live in, which I also advise him not to do.
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  41. Gratitude expressed by 7 members:

  42. TopTop #23
    podfish's Avatar
    podfish
     

    Re: My son was racially profiled in Sebastopol on Main St.

    Quote Posted in reply to the post by Imagery (quoting Someguy) : View Post
    . ...white males need to walk on eggshells for fear of claims of racism being hurled their direction. I see this all the time in white men that they are so scared of being labeled a racist for the most innocent of encounters.......
    If every non-white person were to follow your advice, crime would run rampant,.....
    oh come on.
    Last edited by podfish; 06-21-2011 at 04:32 PM. Reason: Imagery wanted better attribution
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  43. Gratitude expressed by 2 members:

  44. TopTop #24
    "Mad" Miles
     

    Re: My son was racially profiled in Sebastopol on Main St.


    An awful lot of projection and painting with a broad brush here. No surprise really, given the topics involved. Here are some facts:

    Olembe has been rousted by cops in Santa Rosa more than once. He is half African, his father is from Congo Brazzaville, half mixed Caucasian with some Hawaiian/Polynesian ancestry, his mother is from this region. He looks Black.

    Imagery and Someguy relate experiences in which they were rousted once.

    The concern from those questioning and or criticizing Sabrina's account (note she has not responded, has not further participated in this thread) is that her statement that the stop was a form of racial profiling is not substantiated. And whether or not she is justified in making the charge. She provided an explanation as to why she made the claim, based on her husband and her son's direct experiences.

    I find your denial of their experience to be highly offensive, and biased. It's also the typical response from many White people who have not fully explored these issues. I've seen it over and over again, for the thirty-five years that I've been an active Anti-Racist. Including from and among some of my closest friends.

    Kudos to those who provided resources about the nature and workings of modern Racism in our society. For anyone participating in this discussion who is not already well familiar with that work (by that "work" I mean the books that are cited below in this thread) I put it to you, you do not know what you are talking about.

    How do I know this? What is my evidence for making that claim? Because confusing attitude, opinion, overt expressions of prejudice by White people towards non-White people, whether expressed by cops, or by anyone, with the legacy and structure of Institutionalized Racism, which several of you have done in your comments, shows that you are not educated on the issue.

    It is perfectly possible for a police officer to have no prejudice whatsoever towards anyone, yet serve as an agent for Institutionalized Racism. That may be difficult to grasp. It may be counter intuitive and go against your understanding of how prejudice and Racism work, what they are. But until you've read up, and at least understand the argument, you're not qualified to weigh in on this or any other related issues. Yes, I'm calling some of you ignorant. Well meaning maybe, but not fully informed.

    As for Olembe's non-participation in this discussion. He has never been a Waccoon. I'm sure he's aware of this discussion, but there's no compelling reason he should engage in it here. I won't speak for him and speculate about why or why not he's not participating, and no one else should either. That's his business. Not ours.

    The same applies to Sabrina, even if she is the OP/Thread Starter and a somewhat active Waccoon. I haven't spoken with her, I probably will at some future point, but, and this is purely speculation on my part, I am not intending to be her spokeperson here, I can imagine that some of the things written to criticize her account, are so infuriating, judgmental, dismissive, biased and pig ignorant, that a response seems futile and would only add to her stress levels and otherwise accomplish nothing. She works for a living in a difficult economy. Who has the time?

    This discussion reminds me of one I loosely recall here from some three or four years ago, I forget the exact prompt, issue, but similar positions were extensively aired. I'm not sure anything was accomplished then either.

    Everybody knows about the recent work that shows people argue to prove themselves right, not to seek information or to adjust their views and opinions. Interesting stuff, but not very encouraging or optimistic about the use of reason to achieve common understanding and consensual agreement.

    And I completely understand the weighted historical resonance of the light-hearted usage, "Waccoon", in a discussion about Race in America. It's thin ice, dangerous ground, but I don't mean it to refer to the charged and horrific legacy of Racism and Racist Violence in our country, and trust that my bona fides as an anti-Racist activist and organizer allow me to be given the benefit of the doubt. Perhaps in this context I should drop it, just to avoid any misunderstanding and to not poke any old wounds. From here on, in this context, I'll use Waccovillian, even if my affinity for Racoons is offended!?

    Discussions of Race are highly weighted and sensitive, as they should be given our history. Some people apparently give the benefit of the doubt to the Police in matters such as this. I do not, and while I don't give the benefit of the doubt to those hassled by them either, I do know about the pattern of selective enforcement that is the current state of affairs in this matter. It's not a phenomenon that can be easily dismissed as just a matter of competing perceptions, as some seem to want to do, it's real, as many studies, surveys and polls have shown and continue to demonstrate.

    One of the aspects of "White Skin Privilege" is the ease in being blind to the reality that others experience, if one benefits from it. It's a highly controversial concept. Part of that background of research, scholarship and discussion that one should be cognizant of before weighing into discussions like this.

    In short, your experience as White people shapes how you view these issues, and those who are not White, have different experiences than you. When you deny that difference, in the name of some kind of color blind culture that does not exist except in your head, you are contributing to the problem, not helping to solve it. Read up, then get back to us.

    If you really think that racial profiling is not a real phenomenon in our society at this time, all I can say is:

    Cracker!? Please?!

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  45. Gratitude expressed by 6 members:

  46. TopTop #25
    Imagery's Avatar
    Imagery
     

    Re: My son was racially profiled in Sebastopol on Main St.

    Quote Posted in reply to the post by podfish: View Post
    oh come on.
    I just wish you'd included the quote in context, as it was a quote from another member here.
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  47. Gratitude expressed by:

  48. TopTop #26
    Dixon's Avatar
    Dixon
     

    Re: My son was racially profiled in Sebastopol on Main St.

    Yes, racism is alive and well in the USA (though the situation has improved in some ways compared to the 50s and 60s when I was growing up). I could tell you an ugly story about what happened to my blond Caucasian sister and her black husband in Sterling Heights (AKA "Sterling Whites") Michigan a couple of years ago.

    And yes, racism is, more than most people would like to think, absolutely fundamental to the American national psyche, for reasons having to do with the importance of genocide and slavery in the founding and early growth of the country.

    Does that mean that Olembe was subjected to racial profiling in the incident under discussion? Quite possibly, but we don't know. It's possible that, all other things being equal, a white kid would have been treated exactly the same. Or not. Arguing with one another on the basis of an assumption that we know that racial profiling actually did or didn't take place in this situation is pointless. We'll probably never know. We'll have a better chance for progress if we conduct our discussions without indulging in the temptation of phony certainty.
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  49. Gratitude expressed by 7 members:

  50. TopTop #27
    Sabrina's Avatar
    Sabrina
     

    Re: My son was racially profiled in Sebastopol on Main St.

    Well, I've been very busy and unable to respond till now. I didn't even want to express "gratitude" until I knew I had time to respond. Now I have to figure out (navigate?) how to place quotes and responses all in one thread (oh, boy...)

    To start off - thank you to Miles and NadirahAdeye for bringing up the issues of white privilege and institutionalized racism along with some really good links. For those wanting to have a deeper understanding of those topics who have not really become educated about it, check out the media and sites.
    NadirahAdeye suggested:
    Quote White Like Me by Tim Wise
    Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack by Peggy McIntosh
    The Color of Fear- a film by Lee Mun Wah
    Last Chance for Eden- a film by Lee Mun Wah
    Miles shared:
    Quote One of the aspects of "White Skin Privilege" is the ease in being blind to the reality that others experience, if one benefits from it. It's a highly controversial concept. Part of that background of research, scholarship and discussion that one should be cognizant of before weighing into discussions like this.
    and
    Quote It is perfectly possible for a police officer to have no prejudice whatsoever towards anyone, yet serve as an agent for Institutional Racism. That may be difficult to grasp. It may be counter intuitive and go against your understanding of how prejudice and Racism work, what they are. But until you've read up, and at least understand the argument, you're not qualified to weigh in on this or any other related issues. Yes, I'm calling some of you ignorant. Well meaning maybe, but not fully informed.
    .

    When Some Guy wrote
    Quote ....I was quite furious at the time and had thought that I was being discriminated against for my rather long beard and hair. I am white by the way.... But now as I look back on that situation that occurred almost 4 years ago I realize the cop probably wasn't profiling a certain lifestyle or person but a description of a person (me) who had similar features to that of a criminal...
    You are right, you also experienced a form of discrimination, as Miles stated, that
    Quote ....If you're young, poor, dress outside of the mainstream, and also White. You will get extra attention....
    But, as my family, and many folks of brown and black skin that I know have experienced, right in front of my eyes, many times (I've lived within my multi colored / cultural family / community for well over 20 years now), I agree with Miles statement
    Quote ....Add in being Black or Latino or Other, you've hit the jackpot
    Some Guy, I know you probably mean well and probably don't mean to seem like a white guy in denial when you say
    Quote ....Also, some here seem to think that I am in denial about racism in our society, but of course I know racism exists. It happened to Oscar Grant, Mumia, and to lots of other people on a daily basis. We should all be aware of this, fight against it, and work towards bettering our communities for everybody, but we should do our work with the utmost integrity. We shouldn't cry wolf at the slightest inconvenience, and we definitely shouldn't combat evil with evil. We should send our love to those who are racist in hopes that they change.
    . But I have to say, if you know what really happened with Oscar Grant and Mumia Abu Jamal, you should understand how upsetting this type of incident is that happened with my son. Both of those cases were instances of events that lead to death or life in prison. I told my son he should never have asked the officer if "he" was ok, because you never know if one of these nervous terrorist fearing, very easily gun happy guys might taser him or shoot him for that matter. If anyone knows my son, he is NOT a smart Alec and is very caring serious and definitely naive in his miniscule experience in dealing with cops. Does any one remember the young black teenager, Jeremiah Chass that was killed by cops right here in Sebastopol a few years back? And the way that the cop who killed Oscar Grant by mistakenly pulling his gun instead of his taser, is pretty scary.
    Some Guy goes on to say,
    Quote ....but I would be cautious about throwing around claims of racism onto your communities public safety officers (or anyone for that matter) in public, especially when its not completely certain that this was racial profiling or not... All I'm saying is that calling out people for racism is such a serious matter that I don't think it should be thrown around when the evidence of the situation can be interpreted many ways.
    Whether it actually WAS racial profiling or NOT will never be proven without video cameras and witnesses, and as Dixon just pointed out
    Quote ...Arguing with one another on the basis of an assumption that we know that racial profiling actually did or didn't take place in this situation is pointless
    . I told my son, that next time he should politely ask the cop for a business card or badge number (so that he can confidently know which cops are really helping us to be most secure on the streets, LOL!....). Had he gotten those, I would have complained. I may still put in a phone call. Ideally, if we were in town on a business day, I like what someone said, if my son was up to it (whom I won't name because they replied privately to me); they suggested
    Quote ...I am suggesting that you talk to some knowledgeable people about turning this into a situation in which your son is empowered. A public educational talk or presentation to the Seb. PD by your son, possibly. Your son appears to be a very conscious and smart young man. He could learn some great leadership skills from this experience.
    and actually Imagery suggests he did something like this when he was 20,
    Quote I got his badge number and his name, and went to the department the very next day and reported it. I received an explanation of the situation and an apology the very same day.
    I must address a few other statements here: Eddie asked: ,
    Quote Where there other people on the road- and stopped?
    No there were not. Then Eddie said,
    Quote Of course you can have a conversation with a servant- but when cops are out looking for some criminal, they probably don't have time or in mind for a conversation with a nice person, they worry perhaps about someone with a gun in his pocket, their mind set on "danger" not "partytalk", I wouldn't interrupt them I would listen.
    This attitude by Cops, i.e. when they are looking for a criminal is EXACTLY the attitude cops have had that end up killing people by mistake, like Oscar Grant or Jeremiah Chass. Their training should involve taking a deep breath and slowing down; perhaps a bit of "intuitive" training, vs. "shoot to kill" training. Maybe, like Cyberhippy says,
    Quote Most of the older Police I have dealt with are much more balanced people, some are even musicians themselves and appreciate the cultural diversity of our town.
    He also makes the point, and I think the cop who stopped my son was a young 'en,
    Quote Perhaps we should talk to some of them about teaching their younger co-horts the joys of a more balanced world view?
    and earlier said,
    Quote ...the younger police I have come across fit into that strange sub-culture that feels the need to desecrate the American flag by flying them in the back of their truck (against the US Flag Code) in a mis-guided show of "Patriotism"Ö
    (Side note: WHEN EVER I SEE THOSE FLAGS IN THE BACK OF TRUCKS I WANT TO ASK THEM, "Ooh! Might you be an American? Just wondering, since you had that big flag in your truck...")

    Imagery says
    Quote It's interesting that when a member (someguy) posted up his experience, because he's white, it was completely ignored. Also interesting to me is that the young man himself isn't posting anything. He is an adult, over the age of 18 (per OP's post), and I'd assume he's intelligent and well-spoken enough that he can speak for himself. His mother is, but part of being an adult is learning how to deal with life as it happens
    Actually, as you can see Some Guys's statements have been dealt with here, not ignored. Had I had time earlier I would've replied long ago directly to that, first. My son is not on this Wacco Board, but I did tell him I was posting the statement because it really bothered ME. He was content to just passively leave it alone. In fact, when he told me about it, he almost thought it was funny. But I did not. He thought it was sweet and innocent of himself to ask the cop if "he" was ok, (I didn't mention earlier, but he also had put his hand in a caring way on the cops shoulder of which he was asked to remove his hand). That scared me thinking of how the cop could have thought he was trying to attack him, and could have shot him. My son is naive to how dangerous cops can be. I wanted to address the issue because I feel like it's partly up to white people to address racism by other whites in protection of black and brown folks, even though we do not know for a FACT that this WAS racism. But it most likely was an unconscious form of Institutional Racism on his (the cops) part, my opinion based on my life experiences, and sited studies on white privilege and racism, etc..

    Ok, it's way too late, but this issue is one of those that really touches my heart, and I've been wanting for days to respond, but have been WAY to busy trying to make a living - a slave to the $.

    To sleep......zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz
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  51. Gratitude expressed by 6 members:

  52. TopTop #28
    "Mad" Miles
     

    Re: My son was racially profiled in Sebastopol on Main St.

    Hear Hear Sabrina!

    Well put, thank you for your articulate and comprehensive reply. I know how busy you are.

    The part about Olembe putting his hand on the cops shoulder really concerns me. As a veteran of Demonstration/Protest Culture for over thirty-five years, one of the first things we learned was to never touch a police officer. That alone was sufficient cause for them to charge one with assault. No matter how well meaning and "innocent" one's intentions.

    Olembe is not so innocent as to not know he was pushing it with that. I'm sure he meant well, but he was also being cute. And cops don't handle cute well. I'm sure he's got the message by now, I won't belabor the point. The cop could have beaten him down, shot and killed him right there, and it would have been his word that was trusted by his superiors, the court, and the court of public opinion. Rule #1 Do Not Touch The Police Officer!!

    As for asking for a business card or name and badge number, even though that is our right, in my experience, it is seen as a provocation, a threat.

    I was lead volunteer security during a warrantless, badgeless police tactical team raid on the headquarters of demonstrators in Chicago, in August of 1996. The lead cop kept brushing aside my requests for a warrant, his name and badge number, he kept saying, "We'll get to that later." I knew that if I insisted, I would become a target (even more than I already was) of their aggression.

    As it was they pepper sprayed several people who followed them demanding their cameras and boom box radios back as the cops were leaving.

    We took them to Federal Court, but were unable to ID the police perps. I personally think we were never shown I.D. pictures of the raiders, just lots of other Chicago cops. As a result of our failure to I.D. them and prove our case about police misconduct, the consent decree that came out of Chicago '68, that was signed in '72, expired.

    The consent decree was that the city would not engage in political policing. As of 2001 it was off the books. Open season on "radicals" once again in the city on the lake.

    Anyone paying attention to the news knows how empowered the police have become after 9/11.

    Here's how I handle my thankfully infrequent encounters with police when they've pulled me over, or at demonstrations. I maintain a calm, "Yes Officer, No Officer", demeanor. I do not comment or argue with them. I only answer their questions and briefly as I can. I wait for them to direct me, I do not volunteer information or offer suggestions. I do not criticize them. Anybody who knows me must understand how difficult that is for me!?

    If they've got me dead to rights on some minor vehicle code violation, which has happened, a headlight out being the last instance. I apologize (not too profusely!) and promise to have it fixed ASAP. And I do so at the earliest opportunity.

    I kept a friend from getting a speeding ticket in Gualala a few years ago, by explaining, truthfully, when the opportunity arose, that we had just been wondering while driving south into town on Highway 1, what the speed limit was. It's a speed trap and the 25 mph sign is placed where it is difficult to see. My friend got a fixit ticket for tinted windows (a bogus one it turns out) but not a moving violation. And that was because I spoke up in a manner the CHP found appropriate.

    Maintaining calm, respect (even if it is fake!?) but not volunteering or directing the interaction, those are key. When I was younger, angry, visibly frustrated, I learned how that made the exchange even more difficult.

    I hate having to be "step and fetch'it" with the cops, absolutely hate it. But they've got the gun, and the privileged attitude, I just want to get clear of them ASAP. Playing the game their way, doesn't guarantee it, but it helps.

    Reading the cops name badge, memorizing his name and description, writing them down, with all the particulars (time, place, sequence of events, who said what, who did what) ASAP afterwards. That's what lawyers tell you to do. Document it. That way, if you want to make an issue of it, you have something to stand on.

    Peace Out!


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  53. Gratitude expressed by 2 members:

  54. TopTop #29
    anathstryx
    Guest

    Re: My son was racially profiled in Sebastopol on Main St.

    Quote Posted in reply to the post by Sabrina: View Post
    Well, I've been very busy and unable to respond till now. I didn't even want to express "gratitude" until I knew I had time to respond. Now I have to figure out (navigate?# how to place quotes and responses all in one thread #oh, boy...)

    To start off - ...
    As a daughter of a mixed race family and Grandmother to mixed race grandbabies, I certainly empathized with your position and appreciate your balanced and thoughtful response, Sabrina. There are levels of complex emotion particular to people in this situation that may be difficult for others to fully comprehend.

    My paternal Grandmother was from an Irish family that had immigrated to Michigan. She fell in love with a black man in the early 1900ís and had three boys by him. She was disowned by her family and lived (mostly by her wits. Throughout the years, she was a seamstress, a factory worker, and made bathtub gin during prohibition) in the ghettos of Detroit. She was in the most uncomfortable position of being discriminated against by several levels of society and ethnic groups but she was a tough woman and persevered.

    I was born in Hollywood a year before anti-miscegenation laws were overturned by the California Supreme court in 1948 although the actual date that anti-miscegenation laws were permanently struck from California was some time in the mid-50ís. My Father, of mixed race, married a white woman. He was a member of the Duke Ellington band for a time and the issues my family had to deal with during the 40ís and 50ís as we moved around the country on tours were horrendous. In those times, there were states where black men were hanged (and worse) for even touching (or glancing in a "provocative manner" at) a white woman. Marriage was no protection. In fact, we moved to Paris for a time to escape the prejudice. It may be of some interest to some to read this article from Life magazine, 1951, about my Dad and family: https://books.google.com/books?id=k0...ffries&f=false

    Growing up was no picnic. I got heat from several quarters because of my lineage. Prejudice and racial bias isnít restricted to one ethnic group. If you had any black blood at all, you were black. Enrolled in a predominantly black elementary school for a time as a child, I was shunned for being too white. Enrolled in a predominantly white school, I was shunned for being black. It took an emotional toll on me that required years to sort out, even now having to combat to this day certain levels of denial and bias in some members of my family.

    During my college years, I was a radical. I got "profiled" a lot. I was "detained" in San Francisco once because I looked like Angela Davis. Iíve been "profiled" for driving a VW van with Grateful Dead stickers on it, too, though. Everyone is subject to being on somebody's "profile" list.

    Now my youngest daughter has the challenge of raising two young sons who are half Hispanic. Because she and I are both fair skinned, we are subjected to racial slurs that wouldnít pass a personís lips if they didnít assume we are Caucasian. We take pride in our mixed lineages and try to meet the challenges with fierce dignity.

    My husband was telling me the other night when I was discussing this thread with him that his Uncle was one of the U.S. marshals who escorted James Meredith into the University of Mississippi in 1962. His Uncle was shot at by the Mississippi state highway patrol. Several years ago, he converted to the Islamic faith. Now he is harassed for being a Muslim, although he is a white man in America. The irony.

    As someone mentioned here, weíve come a long way. But there is such a long, long way to go.

    Anathstryx
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  56. TopTop #30
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    Sabrina
     

    Re: My son was racially profiled in Sebastopol on Main St.

    Cheingrand Says,
    Quote This has been an enlightening discussion that serves the purpose of reminding us that despite improvements, we cannot assume that racism in America, both individual and institutional, no longer exists. It does and many examples have been posted. As to using Mumia Abu Jamal as an example of racism, it needs to be pointed out that he is a convicted cop-killer. His trial was a circus and his death penalty was subsequently overturned, but his conviction remains. Oscar Grant was murdered, and Mumia Abu Jamal murdered a policeman.
    I know he was convicted of killing a cop, but to this day it is actually a huge controversy as to whether he actually "did" kill the cop: ".... He has steadfastly maintained his innocence." https://www.sevenstories.com/book/?GCOI=58322100377810. Plus check Wikipedia details https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mumia_Abu-Jamal

    To anathstryx - Thanks so much for sharing your beautiful family story - I say beautiful because it's through the pain and tears that bring us the growth and change we need and love - AND it reminds me of my family - I love history. My Grandmother was born and raised in Hawaii and she always took pride in her Hawaiian Heritage, dating her geneology back, as Hawaiians do, to the last pure Hawaiian person and beyond. She was born with this pride of her Hawaiian heritage, doing the Hula and knowing the culture, an Island girl, and yet, she was only 1/8 Hawaiian, the rest was English and French. Even though she completely looked white, as a young woman she was unable to get jobs because many places had laws against hiring people with Hawaiian blood. Finally after throwing a sobbing fit about how "you people came here to our islands and won't even hire us in our own homeland!" at the feet of some banker who'd been one of many who told her he could not hire anyone with Hawaiian blood (she was very proud and would not lie about it), out of embarrassment of the onlookers, he hired her. She always raised us to be proud of that bit of Hawaiian, probably know more about it than the larger portions of English, French, Russian, and Czechoslovakian I have - but when I married my husband who is black, she was afraid of the racism my kids would experience, or that people would not accept them. There's more story to tell, but I won't go on here.
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