Prev1 of 2Next


I was recently on the phone catching up with a relative of mine when the conversation took an abrupt turn. “Uh oh,” she said. I asked her what was wrong. “These young boys with their pants hanging down are walking past my car,” she said. “I need to get my gun.”

She went on to explain her concern that as the summertime approached and school ended, young black boys like the ones who had walked past her car—although she had not specifically identified them as black when she first expressed alarm—would be roaming the streets looking for trouble.

I was so taken aback by her reaction that I did not respond, but in light of the ongoing Trayvon Martin case, her response made me think about the many ways in which people of color negatively profile the members of our own communities.

Yes, many parents and politicians alike acknowledge the need for youth, especially youth of color and those in more underserved communities, to have constructive and affordable summer opportunities to keep them safe and occupied, but since when does having a group of young black boys walk past your car merit needing to reach for a weapon? Granted, this relative and I do not live in the same region of the country, so I cannot comment on the specific issues and circumstances of where she lives, but even so, I could not help but notice the Zimmerman-esque nature of her response.

Apparently, a group of young black boys who walk by wearing sagging pants are equally as “suspicious” as a black teenage boy wearing a hoodie–and not just to an overzealous neighborhood watchman, but to a black woman, and a mother to a son, someone who has expressed outrage about the circumstances surrounding the Trayvon Martin case and the plight of young black men. Ironically, she didn’t even seem to grasp the problem with her own behavior.

This observation is not to say that the actions of Zimmerman or anyone else who engages in racial profiling are somehow merited or justifiable. In fact, it basically demonstrates that people of color can indeed harbor prejudice and engage in racial and other sorts of profiling, even against one another. It also forced me to think about the ways in which many people of color aid in the process of stereotyping and criminalizing our own–especially our men–even as we shake our heads and fists at society for doing so.

Prev1 of 2Next

46 Comments

  1. @ Toppin I would like you to know that in my experience their are not many black men who engage in this kind of behavior. The fact that we are a minority and have been targeted by racisim in the media and by the law makes it seem like our race is full of ignorant degenerates that are hell bent on causing harm to other people. This is not the case. Neither I nor any of my friends have done harm to anyone. I would like to apologize for the picture that has been painted for you by several rap videos and BET bull crap infomercials, but let me assure you that black men are not the problem. It is the fault of men and women of our race buying into ignorance as away of fitting into a social norm. If women didnt have the idea that this bad boy image was so appealing what man would ever behave that way? If you have ever felt an attraction to any man because of a bad boy image I regret to inform you that you are partially respesonsible for this behavior because that is where the sagging pants and hoody crap came from. So please next time you racially profile a black man calculate the percentage of black men that are gulity of these crimes and multiply it by the number of white men in this country. Im pretty sure we are not the larger threat.

    0
    • Cloudy Summer Day/Teiko

      “If women didnt have the idea that this bad boy image was so appealing what man would ever behave that way? If you have ever felt an attraction to any man because of a bad boy image I regret to inform you that you are partially respesonsible for this behavior because that is where the sagging pants and hoody crap came from.”

      – So you are just another person who believes that women are responsible for the behavior of men.

      – Sagging pants did not come from women liking ‘bad boys’.

      0
    • Toppin

      @Moz and JsaJsa28

      I would like you to know that in my experience a white man has NEVER taken anything from me. The media has NEVER taken anything from me. When I’m out on the street I’m not thinking about a white man or the media running up on me trying to start some ish. However, a BLACK MAN has done all of the above.

      I don’t live anywhere near the hood nor do I date black thugs (or black men period…which is a whole different topic). NONE OF THE ABOVE HAS STOPPED BLACK MEN FROM DOING THE FOLLOWING:

      1). Breaking into my car.
      2). Harrassing me on the street.
      3). Following me around stores AND on the street.
      4). Walking up to me in a menacing type of way.
      5). Shouting profane words once shot down.

      This list could go on and on. And no….it is NOT always the so-called “thugs” doing it.

      It ain’t the media sweetie. I ain’t the white man sweetie. I ain’t black women sweetie. The problem here is BLACK MEN.

      So you damn right I racial profile and I will continue to do so if it means my safety.

      Furthermore, I suggest you learn your history and recognize the reality that black WOMEN don’t have jack ish to with black MEN sagging their pants or any of the other hoodlum treads that have been adapted. How typical of you, a black man, to TRY to pin the behavior of MEN on WOMEN.

      0
    • Cloudy Summer Day/Teiko

      +1 For Toppin.

      0
    • LemonNLime

      “If women didnt have the idea that this bad boy image was so appealing what man would ever behave that way? If you have ever felt an attraction to any man because of a bad boy image I regret to inform you that you are partially respesonsible for this behavior because that is where the sagging pants and hoody crap came from.”

      “The attention of women is a great incentive for a lot of things. Lets not pretend otherwise. I wouldnt blame a man’s bad behavior on a woman but women dont exactly punish men for being bad. They dont ostracize bad boys. This is especially true of young women.”

      This argument is THE WORST. Something is always someone else’s fault right?

      Please answer me this question, are men specifically black men the stupidest people on earth? Are they incapable of think for themselves because they are stupid mindless automatons that have been lobotomized from birth?

      Because every time someone makes that argument that is what you are saying, that black men are so stupid they can’t think for themselves and so the let the perceived attractions of a few women dictate how they decide to live their own lives. Geez, if I were a black man I would get irritated by this argue ALL the time because it implies I’m too weak and feeble minded to think on my own.

      People need to stop passing the buck to someone else and take f***ing responsibility for your own actions. No one forces these men/boys to act or dress this way, they consciously decide to do so. It doesn’t take a rocket scientists to see that not all women go for “bad boys” just like it doesn’t take a rocket science to figure out “hey, if the women I am around are attracted to criminals, rather than committing crimes and spending the rest of my life fearing anal rape in prison, i’ll just find a set of women to hang around and attract”.

      0
    • alldawg

      Furthermore, I suggest you learn your history and recognize the reality that black WOMEN don’t have jack ish to with black MEN sagging their pants or any of the other hoodlum treads that have been adapted. How typical of you, a black man, to TRY to pin the behavior of MEN on WOMEN.

      BW dont mind having sex with them “negative reinforcement”, their mothers dont mind how they look either. What ever behavior you see and dont like, its because the mother didnt remove that behavior.

      A white man aka white community will never accept you as much as you accept them, you have to prove that you are not as ghetto as the other black folk that you love to point a finger at.

      0
  2. How about facing the Zimmermans in the comment section?….the Ku Klutch Klan….lol

    0
  3. blackPowder.

    For the view men that have commented on here, stop denying that too many black men are quilty of menacing our neighborhoods. And the pack mentality is deep. Sure the women commenting are quite harsh in tone, but the message is true. Young black boys, especially, are frightening. Dont get upset with women for stating the truth, get upset with black men for creating the problem

    0
    • blackPowder.

      FEW men…not ”view” men

      0
    • NY's Finest

      It seems that ppl in general are really in denial about what really goes on in predominately black neighborhoods.

      0
  4. anony.mous

    I profile all men. After 2 yrs of riding the bus and endearing harassment disguised as some sad excuse at “flirting”, I don’t get buddy, buddy with strange men. It’s sad, but I am hesitant to even smile and say hello on the street, because in my experience, it has led to unwanted responses. These men have just so happened to be black, but I think it’s more of saying things to people of your own race than some idea that all black men are bad and do this.

    All that being said, so glad I have a car now! Finally learned how to drive 3 wks ago (I’m 21 and an obvious late bloomer, lol!) and the stress/burden off my shoulder has been tremendous.

    0
    • apple

      I get you on the smile thing. You just can’t say hello or grin a little with out that being an invitation ugh

      0
    • Cloudy Summer Day

      You can’t even accidentally have eye contact without them thinking it was an invitation to approach.

      0
Comments are moderated, please be respectful. View our policy.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

Read previous post:
Close