A friend told me a true parable for our times: Because she and others in her neighborhood were afraid of racist profiling, they failed to stop a robbery.
My friend was coming home from running errands. As she turned onto her street she carefully looked around, as she always does, in order to avoid any children who might be crossing without looking, as they so often do.
Because of the risk from children, my friend’s visual scan is low to the ground. This means that the first thing she saw was a pair of low hanging pants. Indeed, going by the chart, she described to me medium to major sagging, which is pretty blatant:
Those pants were out of place in her neighborhood, which is a solid middle class enclave. None of the homeowners, none of the kids, and none of the kids’ friends in that community wear sagging pants.
My friend then noticed two other things about the man: (1) he looked stoned and (2) he was black. And then she continued driving up her street to her house.
Once at her house, she unpacked her car and dragged out the garbage for early morning pick-up. She noticed that the same sagging pants man had walked along the street and was talking on his phone. Again, those pants were discordant, but he wasn’t doing anything wrong. It’s not a crime, even in safe, middle-class enclaves, to walk along the street wearing sagging pants. [Read more…]