As I was walking on Fuller campus the other afternoon a young black man in a hoodie was walking by. I had never seen him before and assumed he was just on his way through to Colorado, the main street near campus.
I noticed the pang of racism and bias in me that would profile him as a youth up to no good just because of his race and clothes. I fought it and managed to look him in the eyes and smile as we passed.
I was happy for about two seconds.
After I got past him I noticed the white armed security guard that was casually shadowing the young man.
Hundreds of people walk through campus every day of all different shapes, sizes, races, genders and levels of wealth and poverty. At least fifty or so we in the immediate vicinity.
Apparently being black and being dressed in a hoodie was all that was necessary to single him out as most likely to be up to no good and therefore in need of shadowing.
All I could think in the moment was, “Did I just walk by the next Trayvon?”
The brief scene was for me symbolic of the larger issue as a whole. By being black and wearing clothes that are the hallmarks of a certain type of sub-culture this young man had done enough to set off prejudice in both myself and in the security guard, representatives of personal prejudice and the judicial prejudice in our society.
I have two questions surrounding this whole issue:
- How do we as a society combat racial profiling and systemic racism both in ourselves and in our society?
- Does the celebration of violence, criminality and misogyny in certain aspects of Hip-Hop culture feed racial profiling? In other words, is BlogXilla right to invite black culture to introspection over this issue?