We hear a lot about how brutal the police are to black people. But how do they treat white people? I used to get arrested a lot, so I can tell the tale.
Hello and welcome to the first episode of arrested while white.
Let me take you back to a Spring evening in 1998. I was finishing up high school in suburban CT. My senior class had just drunkenly performed a singing and dancing variety show. All 400+ of us made our way to a large property in back country and got the serious partying started. There were at least 6 kegs of beer. I don’t remember how much marijuana there was, but the clouds of smoke were hard to avoid. It really was like something out of a movie. Everybody was there, from the football players to the theater kids, and most of us were wasted. It was glorious. All of a sudden the cops showed up.
This sort of thing is how many, if not most, criminal careers get started. SADLY NO ONE COLLECTS THIS DATA. In poor neighborhoods, adolescent substance abuse is dangerous.. Police actively pursue children of color for these ¨crimes¨, and vigorously apply punishment. These punishments always make it difficult to find employment, and frequently get in the way of finishing high school. In the inner city, Police turn children into criminals. Does this interpretation seem a little too bleeding heart to you?
Well then, let’s go back to my experience in the suburbs. When the cops arrived that night, everyone was standing around with red solo cups full of beer. The bongs and joints were quickly hidden, but the cops certainly knew what was up. Did they bust us all for underage drinking? Did they ransack the house and the cars to score some drug infractions? Did they stop and frisk? Nope. They told us to put down our beers and drive home. I think one girl got a ticket for parking on somebody’s lawn.
That was an exceptional party, but it wasn’t a particularly exceptional night. From the age of 14 on, all of our weekends were spent experimenting with various substances in our parents cars, backyards and basements. The police were there to keep us from hurting ourselves, and to protect our bright futures. If you were an idiot, you could get arrested for drunk driving, but that was about it.
I am all for personal responsibility, and have no sympathy for criminals who choose to hurt others, no matter what they have suffered. But the fact that our society imposes a higher standard of behavior on its most vulnerable children, is a crime in and of itself.
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