Racial Profiling (or is it) Gender Profiling?


Fatal Alligator Attacks Set New Record In FloridaSunday saw a blow up on CNN with anchor Don Lemon who took issue with conservative Ben Ferguson who said that his take on what Obama said was that all white women racially profile all black men. Speaking as a white woman who prides myself on not being a bigot, there is something to Ferguson’s remark – BUT – not in that way.

I think that women, most women, no matter what our race or age profile men, in general.  It is NOT about race, but about gender.  It’s not about race, it isn’t about a dislike of men, but I suspect that any woman you ask will, deep down, admit to a certain fear of men – as to what they are capable of doing to us.   I’ve been followed, harassed, and creeped out by many men over the years, black, white, Hispanic, Native American, and Arabic.  The creepiest men I’ve thus far encountered have been a couple white cops, several red-necks, and a couple others.  All have been white.  A group of Afghan brothers once scared the you know what out of me – in ABQ.

When I was in Jamaica the last time, in Ocho Rios, I was followed and harassed by some young islanders, male, and black.  The person I’d hired to drive me, also black and from the island, told me they were Haitian, and they’d been harassing white tourists.  That was years ago.

There have been two other incidents where I was harassed by young black men. One was in high school.  I was a freshman and the guy harassing me was a senior.  I quickly discovered he had numerous relatives who worked for my father’s flour mill.  My father had recently fired him, so there was a reason for the harassment.  It had nothing to do with race, and everything to do with the fact that the guy was a scary jerk who ended up in prison a couple years later – doing life for murder.

The second incident was back in the 1980s in Pasadena.  I was having lunch at the food court of a mall.  A large group of high school age jerks, black and white were horrible, scaring the you know what out of me to the point where I left the mall.  They followed me for awhile, laughing.  It wasn’t racial.

A few years later, while driving I-10 on between Wilcox and the New Mexico border, I was stopped by a cop.  He wanted to know how I liked the car I was driving (a rental Camaro) then wanted to know my sign.  It became obvious he was trying a pick-up.   A few years ago, between the New Mexico line and Lordsburg, I was stopped by a NM highway patrol, who was terrifying.  About six years ago, I was stopped by a Las Cruces cop.  I did not stop when he told me – I drove to a truck stop parking lot a half block away, and was not wearing my seat-belt.  I was terrified of this guy, to the point where several of the truckers and several employees of the truck stop had stepped out to watch what he and his partner were doing.  The minute I walked into the truck stop, the manager handed me the phone number of internal affairs.  It turned out the cop was stopping women then raping them.  He’s in prison now.  All three men were white.

I was on a buying trip, once upon a time, and went into a jewelry wholesaler, who was specializing in lapis.  This was in the late 1980s.  The lapis came from Afghanistan.  Long story short, the guy running the shop was telling me about the lapis – which was beautiful.  His cousins and brothers soon came in, surrounding me.  They proceeded to tell me how they killed ‘Ruskies’ to get to the lapis, which came to this country, to help them buy arms to kill more ‘Ruskies’.   When I finally managed to get to the shop that a friend owned, he had a fit. I’d just arrived in town and he’d not had time to tell me to stay away from them.  They were killer, running arms into Afghanistan.  I think we all know what they became.

Over the years, if you live in New Mexico, you end up being followed by a not so sober Native American in any given parking lot.  And yes – I guess I am guilty of profiling. When you see these guys hanging out near any give location with a liquor store, panhandling, obviously drunk or stoned, you profile, and you make sure your vehicle is locked.  If they’re standing near your car, you don’t go out alone.  It’s quite sad, actually.  But, where I live, there is always that threat of violence.  No, it isn’t racial, it’s about someone being drunk, stoned, and out of control, disparate for another fix.

In certain parts of southern Arizona, you keep an eye on young Hispanic men.  You also do this in Las Cruces – because of the gang problems.  No, nothing would be racial, it would be all about the wrong place at the wrong time.

Then there are the Southern Rednecks – oye!  Here in New Mexico it is more the drunk cowboy factor.  You solve that by not going anywhere near where drunk cowboys are.  If you live in Maricopa County and are Hispanic, you live in abject fear – over racial profiling.

If you are a female, you have a tendency to profile most men, unless you know them.  It has nothing to do with race, and everything to do with safety.

Then, it dawned on me, the other day, I was guilty of racial profiling, but not in a bad way, rather thinking about racial profiling.  Unfortunately, because of where I live, the only place to purchase certain things is at the local Wallyworld.  (FYI – I hate it).  I was coming out, and noticed two black men talking.  They were standing in an empty parking space beside my Durango.  Where I live, in the middle of New Mexico, we don’t have that many African Americans.  The majority of people you see here are Hispanic, Native, and Texan.  (I include Texan because they are their own sub-culture – just don’t ask).

My thoughts – no, not of fear but, if this were someplace like Florida, those two men could be considered up to no good. With that evil Stand Your Ground law, some stupid jack-ass, brain dead redneck bigot could think they were going to do something evil to him, and just stand there, and shoot them dead.  In Florida, as long as the man was white and the two men were black, he would get off quite free, to become rich and famous, a cause celeb, because he thought two black men were going to do something to him.

I watched them.  They were clean, their pants were a little baggy, hip-hugging, but no underwear was showing.  Their language was polite, no profanity.  They shook hands, and the one went back to his SUV, which, BTW was a good 10 years newer than mine.  It was an expensive SUV.  I could hear his wife asking a question.  The man turned for a minute and had the tiniest little baby, holding him, just cherishing this child.

My great-niece, Catie, was a tiny baby.  I mentioned that, how small the little guy was.  He was five weeks, and was about 6.5 when he was born.  The baby was clean, and very well loved.  I told the man that Catie was a little smaller than that.  She’s 7 months now, already standing, and has maybe a half dozen word vocabulary.

He laughed, saying he couldn’t wait.

He put the baby in the back, in it’s carrier and left before I did.  It was a late model Lexus SUV.  This was obviously a fairly well to do family, on vacation.  What right does anyone have to look a them, just because of their color, and think they are up to something evil.

What right does the state of Florida have giving redneck jerks, who are obviously not of as great a character a license to kill someone like this?

It looked like the couple was from Colorado.  If they were from certain parts of the state, they might have a better chance at survival than in Florida.  It’s a terrible thing to be required to think that way.  If I were black, and had a small son, I would think twice about where I was living in this country.

What sort of evil has the far right unleashed, thanks to ALEC and the Koch Machine?


One thought on “Racial Profiling (or is it) Gender Profiling?

  1. I didn’t see Ferguson Ferguson clip clips, I’ll speak to your perspective. Women tend to show some form of fear from some men. Yes. Black women might have a different reaction to each of your scenarios while some of them might have similar experiences. For instances, if I was fond of and identify with Medea character, I would show no fear causing me to confront any man “menacing” me. Alternately, I might clutch my purse, hide my jewelry, lock my car doors, etc when I see a group of male teens. We have our fears, too, on stereotypes we have accepted. We too have biases based on myths. Until we LEARN differently.

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