Last weekend, I was reintroduced to racial profiling by an instance involving my neighbor, who is in fact, an African American â€“â€“ to hide his identity, Iâ€™ll call him â€œCharles.â€
I was left in a daze from a concoction of drinks (mostly beer) from the night prior and the coffee I had drank when I woke up to try to counter the effects of feeling like hell. Realizing that I had run out of coffee, I went over to my neighbors house, mug in hand, and helped myself to some of theirs.
After my mug was full, and hope restored with the thought that itâ€™s contents could bring my back to life, I made my way back to my house.
Within seconds after walking out the door, I was stopped by not one, but two officers holding assault rifles â€“â€“ youâ€™d be surprised how quickly a hangover can be cured by fear.
They stopped me and asked, â€œHave you seen or heard anything suspicious around here this morning?â€
When I said I hadnâ€™t seen anything, they asked me, â€œDid a black man just run into that house with a gun?â€ I shook my head in the unaffirmative manner, since I hadnâ€™t remembered such an occurrence interrupting my coffeeâ€™s brewing process.
Then I remembered that my neighbor Charles was coming over to play some video games, and had went to grab more controllers before I had left to make my coffee.
â€œThere is a black guy at my house…â€ I said.
â€œWhatâ€™s he look like?â€ one of the officers asked. Looking giddy at the idea that there might be some threat in which he may be able to â€œtake care ofâ€ with his rifle.
â€œUm, 5-foot-7, yellow beanie, white t-shirt, sweatpants or shorts, I canâ€™t remember. Really friendly, good samaritan-looking guy.â€
â€œDo you know if he has any kind of fire arm in his possession?â€
â€œCharles? No. Pretty sure about that. You can go talk to him if you want? But no guns in my house. Sorry.â€ I could tell the officer didnâ€™t want to part with his firearm.
Charles was innocent, to my knowledge, but an assault rifle for someone whoâ€™s been accused of firing a gun and running into a house to hide, most likely hinders their ability to render themselves in a position to hide.
Charles told the police that he had jogged across the street with a couple of controllers in his hand, which was really all that had happened to the best of my knowledge.
It wasnâ€™t until the police left that the rest of the details were revealed â€“â€“ I still didnâ€™t know how they had thought gunshots had gone off.
As Charles was going to grab extra controllers, my roommates decided to arm themselves with bottle rockets to shoot at him as he crossed the street.
Apparently, running and trying to avoid being shot by bottle rockets while being an African American in a predominantly Caucasian city is cause enough to have someone call the cops.
I also assume that whoever the idiotic â€œgood samaritanâ€ was believed that the â€œblack manâ€ shooting off his gun in the middle of the street, was merely firing warning shots before running into my house to rob us at gunpoint.
Itâ€™s fairly obvious that in order for such racial profiling to cease, a few things need to happen in our neighborhood â€“â€“ IQ tests would be my first course of action.
This could help solidify my theory that half my neighbors are moronic and get their perspectives and mores of American society from T.V.
The more practical and less demeaning move would be to simply introduce each other to one another inside of our neighborhood. Then it would be common knowledge that Charles is literally less threatening than the cat he owns, and that being black does not mean that he has a gun he shoots recreationally in the middle of the street on the weekend.
On the other hand, half my neighbors are Mormons that think Iâ€™ve changed my view about caffeine being the work of the devil every week, when they ask if I want to go to church with them. And as many times as I meet them, they donâ€™t feel like neighbors.
So I have my own prejudices apparently.
Adam Suriel-Gestwicki is a junior English major. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.