Brown

He was brown.

I remember when my best friend growing up told me the story.

He had just gotten out of the hospital. The info he gave was vague because he didn’t want to publicly talk about it, so I called him.

The short story: He was driving home from his boyfriend’s house at 12:30am.

He was in his black jeep. He was pulled over by a police officer.

He was ordered out of the car, and when he didn’t move fast enough, he was pulled from it.

He was forced to the ground by many officers, put in cuffs, and had no idea what was happening.

Soon after, he was released, everyone left as quickly as they as descending upon him, but the public affairs officer who saw the damage to him, called an ambulance, and apologized before he left.

He was left with bruises, a hospital bill, and a story he had to explain over and over again.

Why? Because the man described as the man who shot a police office was “a brown Hispanic man driving a black vehicle”, and he matched the vague description.

Oh, and he lives in Arizona where a LOT of people match that description.

I was beyond angry for him.  He was only manhandled like he was because he didn’t move fast enough because, he’s got a muscular issue that makes his left leg wonky – a disability he has had his entire live created a situation where his slowness was viewed as guilt and suspicios and warranted manhandling. Add that to the fact he was asking questions, and boom – he was guilty.

Yeah.

He had bruise on his face from having is dragged on the ground. He had so many bumps and bruises that he got a couple days in the hospital and tog to make a phone call to make sure his employer didn’t fire him.  He’s in finance at a large corporate 500  company.  Imagine that phone call: “hey, I’m calling because I’m in the hospital.  No, I didn’t have an accident, I got profiled by police and dragged from my car in the middle of the night causing extensive injuries. Yeah, I know – maybe I should not be Hispanic, but not a choice I have.  Hopefully I’ll be able to leave tomorrow.  Sorry for the issues this will cause the team.”

He got an official apology.

I encouraged him to sue.

While he “matched the description”, he was also going the opposite direction the shooter had been reported. The apology was more that the officers overreacted, less for the physical damage they did.

It’s no wonder that he’s the most racist hispanic man I’ve ever met. I should mention he was born to a Mexican woman, adopted by a white family, raised in Iowa, and found a great job in Arizona. He hates being non-white – and this made it worst.

Whenever I hear of someone wrongly accused – black, brown, white – I get pissed because where is the investigation? Where is the detailed description? Using something that is, in my opinion, the lowest common denominator, is just sloppy and lazy and poor “law enforcement”.  If I did that in my job, I’d be fired.

Why aren’t they?

My neighbor whose son has played with my kids since they moved into the house next door 8 years ago has had to teach his brown son that he will be blamed because of the color of his skin, more than he will because of his actions or his reputation.  “They will see the brown kid, and it won’t matter if you are THE brown kid, you are a brown kid – and you will deal with it” his dad would explain.

It saddened me because it’s fucked up.

A good kid who walks around even at 7 years old with a mark on him simply because he’s not-white.

I love the race conversation in this country.
I hate the racism we seem to find. I get fear – but fear is not a valid reason for the reactions.
I can only hope that empathy and tolerance is found in my own kids.
Because I’m not sure us adults will find it.
Especially when my memories include my best friend yanked from cars and landing in the hospital…. ..because of his skin.

What do you think?