Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Political cartoons

Here's the cartoon that triggered these thoughts. And like a lot of my stuff, it's just stream of consciousness. Some is based on my upbringing, my personal observations and interactions with others. Some of my thoughts are influenced on reading, studying, researching over many years, both self-educating and academically. I have always had an eclectic interest in reading materials so some times I'm kinda all over the place. Maybe this introductory paragraph should be part of an About Me section so that's a thought. But for right now it's here. 
 So I've seen this political cartoon on a couple of people's pages. I started commenting and realized how much it made me think, how many questions it was triggering, and how freaking long my comment was getting. That's been happening a lot, lately. My posts and comments being freakishly long for Facebook. To the point where another person responded "Somebody needs a blog." And I thought, well, I HAVE one. Maybe it's time to get back to it. So, yeah. Here I am. What I don't understand is that I don't remember specific instances of being told how to behave around the police, just that I knew how. I understand the existence of systemic and institutionalized racism. But I'm always taken aback when I hear black parents saying "THIS is what we must teach our sons!" as if we all hadn't learned the same lessons at some point. I'm not trying to be disingenuous but if a lot of people (of any race) just actually behaved that way, many problem scenarios could be avoided. Maybe then the REAL problems would be glaringly exposed and more easily addressed. Because when I look at most confrontations between citizens and police, I first see SUSPECT vs COP unless there is some specific information that says it's racism, i.e. if a cop had a history of targeting blacks, or if racial slurs were used, or if reference was made to race or obvious bias, like asking what a black guy is doing in a white neighborhood. Though, nearly every time I've been stopped by police (admittedly all traffic related) I have been questioned as to where I was coming from and headed to, and had my vehicle searched from the outside. So what I'm struggling with is why I see that as normal but blacks see it as harassment. Can it be just because the numbers of incidents are skewed relative to demographics? Or because my mindset is just do what I'm supposed to do, sign the citation and be on my way rather than approaching any interaction with fear? Is it because I'm pretty secure in the knowledge that I'll just be on my way? Because I know that is likely what the end result will be? Is that white privilege? Or is that just being treated reasonably because I've shown respect? And II've been stopped by black, white, and Hispanic cops. Usually because I've deserved it. know when I see those flashing lights in my mirror and hear that pull-it-over whup whup of the siren, my palms get sweaty, my heart races, my stomach gets queasy. But I remind myself to just stay focused and not do anything stupid. I guess my mindset is that when you want a positive outcome, you try not to rock the boat. Sometimes the boat needs a good crashing wave, which it seems like it's getting now. But I don't want to see too many people focusing on small issues, bailing the boat out with Dixie cups, when what we really need to work on is the ballast.