The police came banging at my door at 2am this morning. I didn’t know who it was banging at my door at that hour, so I locked and loaded and went to answer the door. I put the pistol behind my back as I inched the door open. As soon as I saw who it was, I opened the door wide and began to speak before they even could.
“I did not know it was you. I will tell you right now that I am armed because I didn’t know who it would be,” as I slowly brought my hand from behind my back and showed them the pistol pointing to the ground, showing them that my finger was off of the trigger. The sincere implication was “I mean you no threat or harm.” They showed no sign of being worried in the slightest because my demeanor was honest, sincere, and non-threatening.
One of the two officers told me to go and put it away, which I immediately did. When I came back, they asked to frisk me.
I was in athletic shorts and a T-shirt, so there wasn’t much to frisk. Once they were satisfied that I was now unarmed, we talked. It was a good talk. They were just seeking information. I proved to not be a threat to them, and they were not a threat to me. We shook hands at the end, with mutual respect and they went on their way.
That was my night last night.
Some people call that “white privilege.” Not so much. I don’t buy that. On the other hand, it does make me wonder how they would have reacted if I did exactly the same thing and I was a POC (Person of Color).
I want to think that they would have reacted no differently. In my experience indicating otherwise, I do not think that they would have reacted differently if a POC said the same words with the same slow and deliberate movements, and gave the same level of cooperation.
But then part of me thinks that would depend very much on where you are in this Country. It depends partly on the ideology of the officers on the call. That does not infer that it is purely “racist” or “non-racist,” but it also infers their opinions on an armed populace.
If they are conditioned to opine that having a pistol in your home is an evil, then they would have reacted differently by far. If they saw the gun itself as a threat without discerning the person holding and how he was acting with the gun, then this could have gone quite differently.
And yet, there is a possibility that in some places, the police (white police, black police, hispanic police, or whatever) would have a heightened sense of threat from the same action from a POC.
The point of these last couple thoughts is to say that America is NOT systemically racist, but that does not preclude the idea that there are racist pockets still in our society.
You don’t throw out an entire apple because it has a spot. You cut out the spot. The rest is still good.