A few years back I was driving with my wife from the Baton Rouge, Louisiana airport to visit her folks for the Thanksgiving holidays. We were heading up highway 190 towards St. Landry Parish in a rental with out of state plates, when, wouldn't you know it, we got pulled over by a local sheriff outside of a little town called Livonia.
Me: Furious. Wife: Eh.
"Howdy folks, you were speeding a little bit there. License and registration, please?"
Me: More furious. Wife: Smiling.
"Sure officer, we just rented this car. We are on my way to see my family in Opelousas." Wifey takes over because I was still furious and Wifey wants her husband home for the holidays, and not in some Louisiana jail cell.
The sheriff, still smiling, and still very polite, started relaxing. I could literally see the change coming over him as he started bonding with my wife.
"Oh, are you from around these parts?" My wife's accent started changing. "Yep , born and raised; went to Lawtell High and LSU. Going home for some good Louisiana fried turkey." It was on now. "Oh a Tiger gal, huh? Well welcome home. Where yawl traveling from? He was looking at me now sensing that I was the outsider. "Philadelphia". My wife jumped in again. "He took me away from home, I am not sure if I have forgiven him yet." They both started laughing at the same time. "Well you enjoy the fried turkey and the rest of your folk's cooking." He hardly looked at my driver's license or the papers for the rental. I could have given him a card with Donald Duck on it and he wouldn't have noticed. Then he must have remembered to give us a reason for stopping us: "Oh, and you all be careful, we want you to get home to your folks in one piece." No ticket just a warning from the very nice sheriff. Forget the fact that I wasn't speeding any more than the rest of the cars in the flow of traffic that we were in.
Of course I know why he stopped us. We had out of state plates on the rental, and we were...well... you know.
Me: You know we were profiled , right? Wife: Yeah maybe, but he was so nice.
I thought of that experience as I read about a case of racial profiling of a college professor in Dallas, Texas.
The sister believes she was profiled for walking while black and she wrote about her experience in the Dallas newspaper.
Well, as it turns out, there were cameras rolling on the patrol car dash-cam and the police chief of the town (Corinth, Texas) is now chirping that her officers have been vindicated because they were so... polite.
Please watch the video in the link that I provided and you will see that the police officers were in fact very polite.
But here is the thing that I want my friends in the majority population to understand about this racial profiling thing: If you are stopping a black person just because they are black (I don't care how polite you are being) and you would have just passed a white person in a similar situation with a friendly waive, you are profiling them. It's really that simple. "Color aroused" racialist can be some of the most polite people on earth.
So yes, I agree with the professor, it's pretty messed up that you can't go on a jog in your neighborhood without two police officers approaching you in a marked police car to basically tell you to watch where you walk in the street.
“'When I saw the video, those officers were nothing but professional,” she said. “[The incident] just didn’t lend itself to racial profiling.
“If we didn’t have the video, these officers would have serious allegations against them," Walthall added. "It would be their word against hers. Every white officer that stops an African-American does not constitute racial profiling.”'
You are right about that chief, but every white police officer who stops a black person just because they happen to be black, is profiling. I don't care how damn polite they are.
"The officers ask Bland for her ID, which she did not have but she gave her name and date of birth after insisting that she take the officers’ picture “for safety’s sake.” The policemen obliged her request.
Walthall said the officers were correct to ask for identification because Bland had committed a Class C misdemeanor by impeding traffic."
Yes, like I was speeding that day in Livonia, Louisiana.
*Pic from laprogressive.com