So, many years ago I was living in Palo Alto, CA. During that time, a white man roughly my height, roughly my weight, with long dark hair robbed a bank in Mountain View, and police were canvassing the area for suspects.
You may be see where this is going, but let me finish painting the picture.
Back then, I carried a Day Timer calendar planner, along with a scientific calculator, in a black leather belt pouch I wore on a chainmail belt over the belt that held up my pants. The pouch sat at my left hip, which is where a pistol might sit if I were right-handed.
So a policeman steps up to me and says, “Sir, could you please open that pouch?”
Now let’s stop and consider this. The policeman has not drawn his firearm. He is well within the range I could throw a punch or kick, or stab with a concealed knife. He has not gotten backup before talking to me. He calls me “sir,” speaks in a conversational tone, adds a “please” to his request. This is what white privilege looks like.
While I’d have been within my rights to demand a search warrant, I opened the pouch and let him see that it contained only paper and electronics. See, I was perfectly aware that someone could reasonably look at that pouch and think it signaled that I was armed. I wore it like that anyway because it was convenient. This is what white privilege looks like.
The officer said, “Thanks, I just wanted to make sure you didn’t have a bazooka or something in there.”This is what white privilege looks like.He went on to explain about the bank robber, (This is what white privilege looks like.)and would I be willing to give him my contact information and an accounting of myself so that I could be excluded from the list of possible suspects?
I was not arrested, I was not brought in for questioning. I told him where I had been, that my girlfriend and some others could vouch for me, and where I lived. He wrote it down, thanked me, and sent me on my way.
This is what white privilege looks like.
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