Chris Martin always wears pants, sunglasses and a hoodie, pulled tight around his face.
He’s not constantly on the ready to rob pharmacies, even though a local owner of such businesses doesn’t want customers in such garb in his stores, hoodies and shades suddenly absolute indications of criminality after two men involved in area robberies wore them.
Chris Martin suffers from Xeroderma pigmentosum, a rare autosomal recessive disorder that is defined by extreme sensitivity to sunlight. He is not an armed robber, though some might not want him in their store on account of he is different and does not fall into the safe, generalized stereotypes the majority has carved out for itself.
Perhaps hoodies are menacing. I’m usually greeted with, “Hey Stephen,” “Hellow Steve,” and “How are you Mr. Bartlett.” But when I wear my bulky, dark hemp jacket with the oversized hoodie, police stare suspiciously from their cruisers as they creep past me. A buffer zone also appears around me as people passing me offer nervous smiles.
Actually, profiling at the expense of innocents to placate the many is disturbing behavior.
And it is contagious and spreads, with tragic results, sort of like the death penalty.
We teach society killing is wrong, yet we make an exception and in turn are shocked when groups and individuals in society make their own exceptions.
So it is with profiling, starting with the exception say, of a hoodie and shades, and then there are more exceptions until everyone with a penis is rounded up and stranded on the island of potential rapists.
More blacks are in prison, so round them all up. The NBT robber had tattoos, so bar anyone with tattoos from public establishments.
Serial killers are often white males. Maybe we could wrap chains around their houses and only let them out to gather up the food dropped from helicopters while trigger happy snipers watch from nearby rooftops.
I haven’t mentioned women or children yet, largely because we live in America, but in some countries they carry guns and are used as suicide bombers, and we are engaged in a war on terror.
Are we afraid of these people?
Or do we simply not like them, because they don’t fit our dictated norm or we simply have a grudge?
History books tell of Christians labeling non-followers as sinners and torturing and killing them. Hitler would have eliminated the Jews.
But then how do we select which master group that gets to pick and choose the undesirables?
The Hunger Games comes to mind. We could separate people into groups such as white men and women, Christians, etc… The groups battle to the death and to the victor goes the spoils.
I don’t mean to single out the above groups, but it seems that more often than not the majority have no qualms with making decisions that benefit them at the expense of disenfranchised groups in the minority. Profiling being one of them, as I am fairly certain the groups being profiled wouldn’t stand by as their rights were violated if they belonged to the majority.
So let’s just make it easier for the majority and quit pretending like this behavior is a myth.
Meanwhile, I am going to burn my hoodie, cover up the tattoos, bury my Che poster and T-shirt, tell gay family members they have to be on time out while at my house, warn my daughter not to mention she is part black around law enforcement, rip my Bob Marley sticker off my car, never again order a pink drink with an umbrella at the bar and drop my musicals in a bucket of acid.
Then, I’ll learn which fork is for salad, wear khakis and polos, tell everyone what they want to hear instead of what they need to hear, sing the National Anthem louder than anyone else, learn how to change my oil, and say things like, “Well, isn’t that marvelous,” and know when I go to bed at night I won’t have to worry about being deported, excommunicated, arrested and black listed.
Reach Editor Stephen Bartlett at firstname.lastname@example.org.