I’m going with Bad in a Good Way. There are some things that I don’t think about on a constant basis and terrorism is one of them. Every since I heard That Fucker Formerly Known as the President, talk about “terrists” and their threat to our country I stopped worrying about terrorists and their threat to our country. I’m no fool and I’m definitely not naive. I am fully aware that there is terrorist activity in the World and some of it goes on right here on the soil of the good ‘ole US of A.
For instance, in Arizona, it is now legal for state governing officials to terrorize people who look like they could be an illegal immigrant. I’m not quite sure what an illegal immigrant looks like but I sure as fuck won’t be going to Arizona any time soon. The thing that pisses me off about that is that I actually wanted to go to Arizona in the near future. Something about the desert, Native Americans, cacti, the desert. Some how, though, I fear that with this dark skin, this nappy hair, the suspicious way in which I drive my car that I’d most likely end up behind bars than posing next to a Saguaro cactus.
The other day I got a phone call from a panicked associate because she was running late. Ever the strict boss-lady I put on my most severe tone and asked, “And just why are you going to be late, ___?” Her response, “Because the NJPD just searched my duffel bag because I look like a terrorist, it must be my Arab eyes” I’m not sure what nationality this girl is but she definitely could be of Arab decent which means that she’s a terrorist. I’ve gone through Rockefeller Center with HUGE suitcases, duffel bags, empty bags and breezed right passed the NYPD table with not a second look. I’ve also seen women with full head coverages and no purses being stopped by cops. Clearly, I’d be the terrorist in that situation. Woman with huge bag vs woman with no purse and head scarf-GO FOR THE ARAB!!
As a black woman I suppose I should be a little bit happy to see the “heat” deflected on another ethnic minority but I’d rather just give the man a huge middle finger in defense of all people of color-head scarf or not. My associate, who’s not a terrorist but happens to look like one, is the sweetest girl you will ever meet. She’s humble, a little awkward and has a heart of gold. She doesn’t look threatening at all and on her way to work she gets stopped for over fifteen minutes just by how she looks? The fact that cops in Arizona can stop and arrest someone for looking like an immigrant is preposterous.
If I were a white guy right now I’d go fucking nuts. There’s an episode of the Boondocks in season one when two guys go into a convenience store to rob it and turn to accuse the Arab-looking man of having a gun. He clearly does not have a gun and the white police officer who happens to be strolling in doesn’t see a gun either. The original two guys continue to claim to see the gun until finally Officer Frank (Whitey) “sees” the gun and they shoot at the owner of the store. If you’ve not seen the episode-watch it right here…It’s amazing start around the 4 minute mark if you want to get to the scene I’m talking about
It’s funny and provocative, as the Boondocks often is, but there’s something very telling there. Thankfully, I’ve only been discriminated against based on my color a few times. Pretty fucked up sentence, eh? But it’s rare that a black person, and a black woman for that matter can say that. I know a lot of people who have been discriminated against more than I have. It’s almost as though none of us are safe these days. It was such a huge step when we had not only a black man but a woman as candidates for the presidency. You’d think that with a black man in office that the world would begin to see color as just a part of someone rather than what makes them. Instead, our president is barely called by his rightful name from most right-winged Fox News watching Americans and half of them think he’s a terrorist based on his Arab name. In this progressive country with the first black president anyone who’s skin tone has even the slightest amount of melanin is looked at as illegal, a terrorist, or out to rob or rape you.
I’d like to say that it’s bad but it’s really just bullshit. I forget that the civil right’s movement was only 50 years ago and while that is a long time, in the history of discrimination, prejudice, and segregation it really isn’t. With this new law on the books in AZ it’s almost as if we’ve stepped back into time rather than move forward. It’s easy to complain and to bitch but what to do? What can I do? It’s one of those questions that I don’t have an answer to.