Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Is It Me?

Sometimes I be tripping.

My wife has accused me of having a suspicious nature. She says that I'm always assuming the worst about folks, even her. Apparently, I'm constantly on the lookout in case she's trying to manipulate me into doing something. Whether it be taking her somewhere, or watching the kids, or anything, I'm always searching for ulterior motives in my personal interactions. She calls it crazy, I call it common sense.

After all, my experience with women has shown me that most of them do not prefer the direct approach when it comes to conflict. They like to flank you with innocuous questions and observations before they spring their traps. I've seen it too many times. So I stay alert.

The thing is, I'm also suspicious in other areas. Folks have accused me of being fairly suspicious when it comes to racial matters. Seems that people think I'm a bit cynical and they believe I'm constantly searching for the worst. I just think I keep my mind open to negative possibilities, but maybe I'm wrong. Maybe, I really do have problem.

For example, when I discovered this story the first thing I thought was "Damn, only a white kid."

If you follow the link, you'll find the charming tale of Colton Harris-Moore, young burglar who has terrorized the Pacific Northwest, but has managed to develop a cult following among thousands. I stumbled across Moore's story while doing an internet search for videos of killer whale attacks. Seems the folks of Orca Island are currently on high alert because authorities believe that Moore is back in town and looking to steal.

Anyway, I found this kid's story beyond fascinating. I mean, it's not that he's a cult hero that's so shocking, it's fairly normal for Americans to champion criminals; how else can we explain the popularity of gangster movies? Nah, I just wondered how a kid could commit that many crimes, over such a long period of time, and still manage to elude authorities. Seriously, little black kids in the hood do hard time for petty crime at the mall, and this kid is stealing airplanes!

Or how about this dude also in the Pacific Northwest (Is it the sunshine, the rain or trees?). This guy decides he doesn't like the police, so he just starts giving them the finger. He said it's because he wants to protect his right to free speech, and I applaud that. But, I ain't gonna be flipping the police off just to taunt them either.

See, I'm black. That means I live in a different reality from little boys who steal airplanes for kicks and become folk heroes, and older white men who give the police the bird without fear of violence. I'm not a coward, but my actions in my reality are tempered by my understanding of the rules of my reality. Mainly, that the rules that white people assume exist to protect and shield us, don't always apply to me.

White people believe that circumstances and intent can justify a little boy robbing people. Black people recognize that we go to jail everyday despite our circumstances and intent. White folks believe that if they are exercising their Constitutional rights they are entitled to protection. Black folks understand that when it comes to the police, you're not even entitled to your life.

Is that just me? Am I the only black person living by these rules? Has my suspicious and cynical nature created a reality that doesn't truly exist? Am I missing out on an opportunity to live free from the fetters of injustice simply because I refuse to see that my shackles have disappeared?

Is it me?



Deaf Indian Muslim Anarchist! said...

man, I felt the same way about the Pacific Northwest white boy. Only reason he's hailed as a cult hero is because he's WHITE.

As for being cautious around police officers, I feel the same way as you, but for different reasons. Being Deaf, I'm terrified of having cops approach me. They don't know I'm Deaf, and being Deaf, I have to read lips in order to understand people.

Many cops have been very rude and hostile to me because when I don't understand them, they get more angry. My friends would have to tell cops that I'm Deaf, and then cops would become even more rude.

my best friend is a black man and he talks about this stuff a lot. I am NOT a black man, but I know how black guys gotta be careful when it comes to cops.

no, dude, it's NOT just you. Many people out there, including me, feel the same way as you do. It's not a fictional reality. It's real.

LisaMJ said...

Nope, not just you. I don't know if I agree with you on us wimmen folk's sneaky traps, but other than that I'm with ya. I live and work in DC near a lot of the federal downtown and Capitol Hill stuff and I see about one to two dozen cops a day and it keeps me on my toes. I almost had a heart attack and knew I was going to jail when a cop flashed his lights at me at twilight once pulled up next to me and called me Ms. J(full name) and told me to put my lights on. He was nice and all but I was freaked out for the rest of the week!

Big Man said...


It's ok if you don't agree with me about women.

All the married cats were nodding their heads...

Redbonegirl97 said...

You are so right, lol.


Anonymous said...

As a white guy, I have to agree with everything you've said. Having grown up on the East Side of San Jose ~ I've seen what you've seen from my side of the street. I think things are changing, slowly, but changing. If we could get more police of color, perhaps the playing field would be level. Perhaps.

Anonymous said...

I think it was Martin Lawrence who said it best...you could be in (and losing) the biggest fight with your girlfriend but let a police car will pull up beside you and she will say "There's a cop on your left...there's a COP ON YOUR LEFFFFFT!" This exact thing has happened with my parents and when I've been with my bf. You aren't paranoid, but if you are, you're in good company.

Kit (Keep It Trill) said...

No, your survival instincts are intact. We are not dogs among dogs, and dogs rarely kill their own; to a racist white cop or judge, we are the rabbits.

As for the Missus, well, that was funny and so often true, but it could be stressful for her. I mean, if she's asking for you to cut her a little slack, I'd say give it a shot and see what happens. Might be really good...

Reggie said...

Nah brother, you're right on the money with this one. If that was me or you, there wouldn't be anything "cute" about it.

The reality is that criminals have been known to be held by the populace in high esteem whether it was The James Gang, Bonnie and Clyde, John Dillinger or this lil white guy. It's funny, but when OJ was running, there was nothing cute about it.

Sonic said...

I'm with Lisa - I agree with your race analysis, and that you are not the only black male to go through this, but not with your analysis of women.

I know it's not the point of the post, but for me, the comment about women actually undermines your race analysis. NOT okay to stereotype black men as criminals....but okay to stereotype women as "sneaky"? the thought process there doesn't make sense to me, considering that you're protesting against profiling.

fyi, came here through swpd

Big Man said...


One man's stereotype is another man's common sense.

But, I respect your point of view.

Imhotep said...

BigMan, I view your question as purely rhetorical. In case it's not and you're really unsure of the answer, then I suggest you fly up to Oregon and run afoul of the law. You'll be penning your blogs from the state pen, all because you did not get the unearned privileges derived from being born white.

I don't think your cynicism is misplaced. Let's look at the facts, the young white boy is a local hero, complete with t-shirts and songs written in his honor. If he was Black, he would be labeled a THUG, calls for long jail sentence, and the insinuation that "all of them" are like that.

As an aside, Does white people ever refer to white criminals as thugs? Or is the term reserved only for non-white people? I think we know what they mean when they refer to Blacks as thugs.

BTW, I'm married and a bunch of my friends are married, my observation, I don't think women have a monopoly on that manipulation thing.

Big Man said...


I've found that white people earn the "thug" label when they hang with black people and dress a certain way.

It's not so much for crime, but for how they look when they are committing those crimes.

Also, I guess I should have been clear that women aren't the only manipulators, but I've seen that they seem to use manipulation more to avoid direct conflict. But, that could just be a personal situation that is not indicative of the entire gender.

Anonymous said...

Its either that or white people 'suggesting' he might be mentally ill. Even though he knew perfectly well what he was doing when he committed the crimes he gets caught and all of a sudden POOF he's 'crazy'. What a crock! And you're right I have NEVER heard the term thug used to describe white males. Like when I sent a not so nice email to pissant Jim Rome. He and other white males in the sports media always call black athletes who get into fights and trouble 'thugs' yet call hockey players and Nascar drivers 'real men' when THEY fight. WTF?!! Can you say double standard boys and girls?!

Raving Black Lunatic