Learning to live defensively


This video is self-explanatory.

I was amused by the policeman around the 5:30 mark telling the racist busybody neighbor that he does not care if she is a personal friend of president, that the young man had the right to be there and go about his business and if she tries to stop him, he would take her to jail.

I am impressed that the young man was able to deal so calmly with the situation, and even take videos to document what was going on, especially with the police involved. Listen to what he says at the end where he lists all the things he does to avoid being seen as a criminal as goes about doing his work. Is this what young black men have to do now, to learn to live defensively:, be carefully trained to always have evidence to show that they have the right to be wherever they are, to know how to record themselves and their environment, and never, ever lose their cool?

What a terrible indictment of our society.

Comments

  1. ridana says

    I flinched when the cops rolled up and he pointed at them with the keys in his hand. I guess it’s become reflex to expect him to be shot for threatening them with a “weapon,” even though I knew that didn’t happen.

  2. says

    I am impressed that the young man was able to deal so calmly with the situation, and even take videos to document what was going on, especially with the police involved.

    You have to calm when cops are around, and you’re holding something in your hand. If you ‘scare’ them even the slightest, they’ll fell you in a hail of bullets.

  3. Dunc says

    Is this what young black men have to do now, to learn to live defensively:, be carefully trained to always have evidence to show that they have the right to be wherever they are, to know how to record themselves and their environment, and never, ever lose their cool?

    “Now”? It’s what they’ve always had to do.

  4. Callinectes says

    It’s a selection process, isn’t it? The people who can’t keep their cool so well are most likely either in jail or dead.

  5. says

    There doesn’t seem to be a day that goes by without someone (usually white, often a woman) calling the police on a black person who is simply going about their day (Michael Harriot at The Root has a great name for this – White Caller Crime).

    So far just in the past month or so…

    Going to Starbucks while black.
    Cooking on a grill while black.
    Napping while black.
    Walking your child through a park while black.
    Misplacing your keys while black.
    Real estate investing while black.
    Golfing while black.
    AirBnBing while black.

    All those people are lucky to be alive.

    We also shouldn’t forget that this ugly racism isn’t restricted to calling the uniformed thugs on black people. Two Native men had the cops called on them as they performed the dastardly crime of being part of a college tour for potential students.

  6. Matthew Currie says

    While this certainly is an example of how messed up some people in our society are, and how difficult it is to be a black man in the circumstances, I would add that, first of all, he is in a profession where anyone would be well advised to keep his paperwork in order and to be non-confrontational, and second that the cops in this case behaved rather well, as did the neighbors. Of course we can’t know how they behave every time, and we don’t see the very first interaction, but subsequent interactions with the cops seem to indicate that the monicker of “uniformed thugs” is, in this case, not applicable. They even agreed to stick around so he could finish his job unmolested. It’s unfortunate that people like that woman still exist, and that there is still a danger of the cops getting it wrong, but it looks on a cursory view at least as if this video illustrates good behavior on every part except that of the racist neighbor.

    By the way, though, Tabby Lavalamp missed one example, I think – going to the gym while black. There was a viral video from New Jersey not long ago, in which a black member of a gym was denied use by a flagrantly racist employee, who first claimed he wasn’t a member and in practically the same breath claimed she was cancelling his membership.

  7. says

    Matthew Currie, that wasn’t the only example I missed. There is also…

    Hobby Lobbying while black.
    Shopping for prom while black.
    Moving into an apartment while black.

    My opinion of police is not particularly high right now, but the ones in Mano’s post above acted well. That doesn’t change my opinion that the people who are making the calls are calling in the uniformed thugs. They expect uniformed thugs to show up and make these black people go away. Sometimes the uniformed thugs show up and arrest or kill innocent people, sometimes cops show up who can’t believe they were called for this shit.

  8. Mark Dowd says

    @Matthew #6

    The scandal isn’t that there are bad apples among otherwise good cops. There’s bad apples in every bunch after all. The scandal is that the bad cops are almost always protected, even well beyond the point that their crimes become blatantly obvious. The scandal isn’t that cops shoot people, but that they’re never punished for it. A video of one set of cops actually doing the right thing for once doesn’t change the systemic rot and corruption that infects many PDs in this country.

    It’s like the Catholic church. The real scandal wasn’t the abusive priests, but the routine protection of the priests being more important than the victimized children.

  9. Matthew Currie says

    I quite agree that bad cops are protected when they should not be. I just harbor the vain hope that a few highly visible instances of good cops doing their job might affect public opinion. And I’ll find a unicorn in my garden tomorrow.

    I do also agree that the woman in question undoubtedly wanted racist goons to come and do harm on her behalf. She made it clear that she was disappointed that they were not doing the job she wanted them to do. It’s just nice to see them defy her expectations this time.

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