Wednesday, July 12, 2006


eight posts in one - image, race, stereotypes

For me, it comes down to image, not the color of skin. If I see three or four kids approaching me at night, and they're wearing baggy clothes, sweatshirts, look "thuggish," I'm inclined to be on the alert. White, black, whatever.

Clothing accounts for a lot of someone's image, and how they want to be seen by the world. "Thug" wear might mean that someone wants to look tough. Popped collars might be preppy, or trying to look rich. Windpants might mean that someone wants to project a sporty image. These people may be none of these things, but to claim that the clothes that you choose have nothing to do with how you want to be seen is faintly ludicrous. So it's a shame to be offended by someone making judgments on what you wear...because it's not bad to (partially) judge a book by its cover. That's what a cover is there for.

If the people that attacked the British guy and his friend were wearing baggy clothes and looked out of place in the neighborhood, they should have plainly said that. But even then, it's not as though the neighborhood has a dress code. Plenty of residents and legit shoppers and tourists dress like slobs.

I do think that the police officer would have had more of a defense if there had been a rash of crimes, and the people were on the loose, and each time, it had been three black males, wearing dark clothes, ages 20-25, or something. But to flatly say that black people are unusual in Georgetown is irresponsible.

E and I walked through SE a couple of weeks ago, from RFK to Union Station. And yeah, we did not pass any other white people. If there was some violence going on in SE, and the suspects were white, I would not be down with being told to stay out of the area because of the color of my skin. But if two white girls had just murdered someone/committed a robbery and were on the loose, I would understand if I was stopped and questioned.

Last year there was a rash of robberies/muggings on the CUA campus and in the surrounding neighborhood. The school is so undiverse that it's ridiculous, which is to say that I think it's about 75 percent white. So, after the Department of Public Safety stepped up their patrols, a lot of the black students were being IDed as they went into dorms. Profiled.

The EIC of the newspaper went to talk to the Director of DPS about this, saying that it was pissing off students. These kids are paying the same as everyone else, but they're being discriminated against. And the Director (who is black) said that it was common sense, since not one white person had mugged a student on or off campus. If the suspects had red hair, I don't think it would be unreasonable for a red-haired person to expect to be IDed.

During lunch, I had said that profiling isn't something that just white people do to black people - I do it to white people all the time.

(To be clear, I'm not saying this is right of me. Just telling the truth.)

If I see a group of white guys, or any guys, for that matter, and they're sporting popped collars, have spiky gelled hair, and are wearing Aviators, my first thought will be "they are assholes/jackasses/frat boys."

Now, they may not be assholes. But for whatever reason (too many movies? intimidation? too much, I already have a negative image of them. And I am well aware that that is not fair.

Also, if I'm alone at night, and I see a male figure up ahead, I might cross the street. If I'm with someone else, I don't know if I would. I know that doesn't make sense, since duos get attacked all the time, but that's how it is. But, also, whenever I'm out walking, and it's night, I have my pepper spray in hand. Whether I'm alone or with a couple of people, it doesn't matter.

Goodness. I'm trying to be so clear here, so that no one gets offended by something that I don't mean. I know it's sexist to cross the street because of a male, but if a female looks sketchy, I'll cross the street as well. And by "sketchy" I mean staring at me, weaving back and forth, just looking suspicious. Also, the truth is that I'm taller and heavier than a lot of girls. A 5'2" girl isn't going to scare me. A 5'2" male probably won't either. But a 6'5" male?

The end result of the PC crowd gaining control of law enforcement and protection of the public is the idiocy of airport security.

Aeroplane hijackers in 2006 fit a clear profile, and yet, in the name of not offending those people, EVERYONE has to suffer.

We have to choose. Are we serious about preventing crime and terrorism, or are we worried about offending a very small minority of people who would happily slit my throat, and kick my head around when it falls on the ground?

Profiling works, because the profiles of criminals and terrorists are well documented. Go ask anyone who actually works in law enforcement or security.

Everything else is just hot air.

I don't mind being searched at the airport. Short of a cavity search, it's all good.

Because if they're being thorough with me, I'm hoping they're thorough with others. I got nothing to hide (except for, you know, dirty clothes and my journal).

And those of you who know me might be thinking that I don't care because I've never gotten a special search. But post-Sept 11, I think I was the token white girl who was searched to appease the PC masses. And really, that's okay. Search away! Just don't miss the terrorists while you're patting me down.
Would a guy who's 6'-4" (but weights 165 lbs) scare you? I ask myself this question in the mirror every morning.

In the immortal words of Jeremy Piven in PCU..."Can we all say, just this once...that we're not gonna protest?"
JC: It's all in the face. You have a lovely, friendly face. But if someone has a hardened face, it scares the crap out of me. It doesn't matter if they're five feet tall, or seven feet tall.

...Jeremy Piven?
Thanks, but I was kinda going for the rugged/hardass look...I'll keep working on it.

Yes, it this weekend and you'll see the relevance.

And I was wondering that since this little talk drew so much attention/comments...can we talk about Abortion and the Death Penalty next?! Oh the fun we'll have...
do you want to? I don't know...I think those topics are too easy. I see two comments: "I'm pro-life" or "I'm pro-choice."

I have plenty of tumultuous topics floating around...just waiting for the time to settle down and write.
This is why I love reading your blog, Meg, because we go from talking about men to racism to Internet connections to kissing all within a few weeks. Never a dull moment!
I disagree with the first poster. Airplane hijackers may have an MO, but wouldn't it behoove the smart ones to send someone who doesn't fit the mould? The minute we decide that it's ok to only target Middle Eastern-looking men (and sometimes women, if they look particularly Muslim) in the airports is the minute that they give the next John Walker Lindh a shave and a haircut and send him to crash a plane.

Profiling is easy. Real vigilance is hard.
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