The politics of racial privilege marches endlessly onward.
Last week, Yale University experienced a minor crime wave consisting of a series of thefts from undergraduate residential colleges on York & Elm Streets.
On Jan. 15, Michael Cruciger â€™15 had his laptop stolen from his Trumbull College common room in entryway J. Another student in the same entryway reported his wallet missing, and Axell Meza â€™16 said an unknown man entered his common room claiming to be looking for â€œJosh.â€ On the same night, Kartik Srivastava â€™17 said that while he was sleeping, his wallet was taken from a desk no less than a foot from his person, and his suitemateâ€™s checkbook was taken. Transactions had been made on Srivastavaâ€™s debit card, and his suitemateâ€™s checks had been cashed, he said.
Several days later, laptops and an iPad were stolen from a suite in Lanman-Wright Hall, the freshman residence for Berkeley and Pierson colleges.
Then, on Saturday afternoon, another pair of students in Trumbull encountered an intruder in their suite. Although the Yale Police Department reported that they had arrested a suspect in connection with the Saturday afternoon intruder in the Trumbull College suite, they initially targeted the wrong individual. Later that day, Tahj Blow â€™16, son of New York Times columnist Charles Blow, was confronted at gunpoint by a YPD officer because he allegedly matched the description of the suspect. …
Mr. Blow responded to learning that his son had been stopped and questioned by Yale University Police because he matched the description of the suspect, â€œtall, African-American, college-aged student wearing a black jacket and a red and white hat,â€ by having a conniption fit on Twitter:
And in his column in the Times:
When I spoke to my son, he was shaken up. I, however, was fuming.
Now, donâ€™t get me wrong: If indeed my son matched the description of a suspect, I would have had no problem with him being questioned appropriately. School is his community, his home away from home, and he would have appreciated reasonable efforts to keep it safe. The stop is not the problem; the method of the stop is the problem.
Why was a gun drawn first? Why was he not immediately told why he was being detained? Why not ask for ID first?
What if my son had panicked under the stress, having never had a gun pointed at him before, and made what the officer considered a â€œsuspiciousâ€ movement? Had I come close to losing him? Triggers cannot be unpulled. Bullets cannot be called back.
My son was unarmed, possessed no plunder, obeyed all instructions, answered all questions, did not attempt to flee or resist in any way.
This is the scenario I have always dreaded: my son at the wrong end of a gun barrel, face down on the concrete. I had always dreaded the moment that we would share stories about encounters with the police in which our lives hung in the balance, intergenerational stories of joining the inglorious â€œclub.â€
When that moment came, I was exceedingly happy I had talked to him about how to conduct himself if a situation like this ever occurred. Yet I was brewing with sadness and anger that he had to use that advice.
I am reminded of what I have always known, but what some would choose to deny: that there is no way to work your way out â€” earn your way out â€” of this sort of crisis. In these moments, what youâ€™ve done matters less than how you look.
There is no amount of respectability that can bend a gunâ€™s barrel. All of our boys are bound together.
The dean of Yale College and the campus police chief have apologized and promised an internal investigation, and I appreciate that. But the scars cannot be unmade. My son will always carry the memory of the day he left his college library and an officer trained a gun on him.
Demands for special consideration and regard for American Americans as recompense for a system of involuntary servitude ended a hundred and fifty years ago and a system of regional segregation ended fifty years ago never seem to end and, indeed, keep escalating.
Black privilege, these days, is considered by its loudest advocates to include immunity to profiling by police in defiance of the obvious reality that essentially all crime in places like New Haven, Connecticut is committed by African Americans.
Mr. Blow implicitly demands that police should start treating all suspected criminals, without regard to the well-known propensity of many belonging to that category to be illegally-armed and readily capable of murderous violence, as if they were all respectable citizens.
Evidently Mr. Blow believes that, in order to avoid offending the amour propre of the rara avis upper middle class African American the police officer might encounter one day, he ought never to draw his gun first or insist upon immobilizing any gangbanger from the Hood. All police officers should simply trust to the benevolence of humanity. Protecting the police officer’s life is, from Mr. Blow’s perspective, less important than the possibility that psychic scars might be inflicted upon some black haute bourgeoisie by being confronted with lethal force or by being briefly treated with less than the customary reverence he is accustomed to receiving.
Needless to say, few police officers, black or white, are likely to share Mr. Blow’s priorities.