Terra Sigillata

White privilege is. . .

. . .wheeling a brand-new, factory-packaged office refrigerator down the street of a predominantly African American neighborhood past a parked police cruiser at daybreak on a cold Sunday and having the officer roll down the window and shake your hand while wishing you a good morning.

(Feel free to fix my use of all those prepositional phrases, but I hope you get the picture.).


  1. #1 ...tom...
    October 19, 2008

    ( … but I hope you get the picture.).

    Actually … I was kinda hoping for a pic … but I guess not.


  2. #2 Abel Pharmboy
    October 20, 2008

    tom, I know that you’re the picture guy but I figured that pulling out my camera phone and taking a shot with the officer would be pushing it a bit, dontcha think?

  3. #3 DuWayne
    October 20, 2008

    White privilege – I know about that. I got stopped once by the Portland Metro Gang Taskforce ™. They asked me a few questions while I got more and more indignant at being harassed this way (they were not the friendly, reasonable neighborhood officers), because they asked a lot of irritating questions and a few that actually offended me – something that isn’t easy to do. Before it was all over, they were apologizing and while they were obnoxious, they didn’t once ask to search me, nor did they raise their voices. Elapsed time, about three minutes.

    Contrast that with one of my neighbors, who is black, with a Hispanic mother. They stopped him and instantly started yelling at him and pushing him to let them search him. They also weren’t listening to anything he said, because he repeatedly told them they were welcome to search him, but could they please hurry it along as he needed to get the formula he just bought up to his infant son. They harassed him for about fifteen minutes before letting him get on.

    The only difference between our encounters (i.e. we were pretty much doing the same thing and if anything, I wasn’t all that cooperative, compared to his total respectful and cooperative attitude.

    I sure as hell was at the next community policing meeting and I wasn’t alone. About two weeks later our neighborhood gang taskforce was just that – our neighborhood’s. Not perfect but things have definitely improved.

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