Archive for September, 2018

It was rather shocking when it was recently revealed that California Senator Dianne Feinstein, in possession of THE now infamous letter by Christine Blasey Ford – decided to hold on to and suppress the contents of the letter, regarding allegations of a 1982 incident, involving criminal activities by then, 17 year old Brett Kavanaugh!  This cultural double-standard was never more stark than it came to represent on a day recently (Monday – September 17, 2018), in which I was criminally profiled and ordered to leave a local convenience store, because – in the words of the clerk, I was making her feel uncomfortable!  Not because of my behavior, nor anything I said, but rather, because of who I AM – an African-American male, doing what typically is done, at the end of period before the lottery period draws to a close and the lottery machine cuts off, pending the eventual drawing of the winning numbers for the evening cycle.

At first, I was stunned, to the point of bewilderment – then I was insulted, at the thought of me –  the most non-criminal, inconspicuous, non-threatening individual one could hope to find – was not just being accused, but profiled no less, by a woman – herself African-American – of representing a threat to a store, in which I regularly frequent, spend money in and then, seemingly, appearing to be poised to rob the place!!!

I guess it didn’t dawn on her (the hysterically-minded clerk) that there were surveillance cameras inside the store, in and around all the stores around IT, making the thought of doing something as foolish and just plain dumb as that!  Not to mention that the (Kentwood) police department headquarters was less than two miles away and I was carrying a ton of books, papers and grocery items on my person!!!

The offensive nature of such an indictment is literally beyond mind-boggling, and yet, the tie-in to the above story, where a White patron entering the store while I was there drew no such attention, nor suspicion, by either of the attending clerks, making the actions of the White patron – similar to the presence and level of presumed threat as that of Bret Kavanaugh, possession of beer and (potentially) other mind altering substances (with that being the affluent East-coast  suburbs of the early 1980’s), drawing no hint of possible unease among any of the partying-going teens, to take heed and beware that an assault could be eminent, in light of the history of affluent, White, well-to-do suburbanites!

These are circumstances which usually occur in ghetto neighborhoods, where the potential, as was presumed, the hazards are much more conceivable, in either the case of a sexual assault or a potential (armed) robbery, as with the threat – presumably, I posed, by my innocent presence, at this convenience store at 44th street and Breton Avenue – in broad daylight no less!!!

The point I aim to draw here, is the juxtaposition of my culture and color being perceived as threatening, although I have never – EVER even thought of committing such an barbarically brutal and menacing act, yet, in light of the circumstances, the presumed innocence of those belonging to the culture of the elite, gentile, neighborhoods of south-east Grand Rapids, presume that someone of my class and culture waltzes around town, threatening the citizenry at will, without regard for the safety nor consequences of my actions.

Meanwhile, the life of Ms Blasey-Ford is forever damaged, as is my reputation, by some reckless accusation, in which I could have been jailed, or much worse, by the simple, thoughtless – mindless, though casual accusation of my making those clerks feel threatened merely by my presence – although I did NOTHING even remotely threatening.

It must be mentioned that it was the early 1980’s in which mere suspicion got innocent non-Whites jailed and/or worse, just on the basis of ordinary, innocent suspicion.  But it’s telling the atmosphere we’ve grown up in this nation, in which a drug culture, and a criminal culture have become intertwined to such a degree that there is no longer any way to psychically-separate them – by race, by class or by culture, while the predominant cultural proportion of our citizenry, can behave as they please, at will, without fear of consequences.  And in such instances, the nations’ jails have gotten to the point of overflowing, simply because of suspicion, accusation, and profiling, of non-criminal, innocent, law-abiding citizens.

The Me Too movement gradually transformed into what it has become, due to the hostilities and abuses by the segment of society in which those who perceive themselves as entitled behave without regard to the safety and security of their fellow citizens.  As a consequence, the imbalance which has been cultivated as a result, has made victims of us all, subsequently.

This is a seminal moment in out nations’ history, for many reasons – the least of which involve the commotion surrounding the growing furor over the Kavanaugh confirmation hearings.  Our nation has a lot of growing up and maturing to do, before we can honestly claim to hold the truths of our heritage, honestly and faithfully in the spirit of the principles of which our nations’ was founded upon.  But it will take a growing up and a maturing at the upper most leadership levels if we hope to make this a true and honest reality…

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