Last night I had the unfortunate opportunity to witness racism in one of it's ugliest forms: police profiling. As I was sitting outside a cafe enjoying a serene summer moment in my beloved city an argument broke out in a nearby parking lot.
Three young black kids and a white couple were on the verge of a physical fight with the white male lunging at one of the black kids screaming the "N bomb" over and over while his white girlfriend threw herself between them. This went on for a few minutes before a gathering crowd, ending in the bigoted couple slinking away still screaming their disgusting slurs.
The black kids tried to leave in the other direction but before they could get out of there six cop cars roared up and surrounded the black group. They held the boys there for some time particularly paying attention to the boy who was attacked.
I was relieved to see them taking a statement, but also horrified to notice that none of the six cars headed in the direction of the white aggressors. Finally, they let the black kids go on their way but one white cop tailed them on foot at a discreet distance.
I was completely disgusted by the entire scene and while it was happening I imagined how I could get involved without getting hurt. I waited through the "statement taking process" to see if they might choose to arrest the kid or some such nonsense, at which time I was prepared to go to the police station to offer a statement of my own.
What really bothers me is the drama that surrounded the black kids while it was apparent that rather than treat this like a hate crime (which it was) they chose to assume the trouble makers were the blacks.
Burlington is ridiculously heavy on it's white population (wealthy and poor) and the poor welfare clans have an inexplicably racist superiority complex. They're just as poor as any inner city blacks I've ever seen and just as f'ed up with their drug problems, domestic violence, absentee fathers etc. It's the standard state of being poor I guess. Too bad they have to add racism to their many other problems.
On the other hand, Burlington has an amazing African immigrant population juxtaposed against the otherwise practically monochromatic town in their vibrant traditional dress often with exquisite children in tow. I've never seen a single negative incident involving any of them and consider their presence a great gift to the city and my personal aesthetic.
It's a shame that the police here are so narrow minded. It's even more of a shame that the kids last night had to endure their ignorance.
I saw them a few minutes later as I was riding home on my bicycle and stopped to tell them I was sorry for what happened and that I saw the whole thing and felt ashamed of my city and my race on their behalf. They said they appreciated it and we all rode off into the night poorer in spirit for the experience.