Matt Zoller Seitz tells the story of that time when he got in a fight with a black man and didn’t go to jail for it:
There’s a much slimmer chance that either of those cops would have patiently listened to the sob story of a drunk brown-skinned man about how he’d ended up on the pavement with his forearm around a white man’s neck, and an equally slim chance that they’d have talked to him for a few minutes and sent him on his way and put the white man in the squad car.
Below are the take home paragraphs:
We have to stop the cycle long enough to realize that what we are really shrugging off is racial inequality. This is not: “Well, if ya factor out race, it’s a class thing.” We all know in our hearts that that is, at best, only partly true. The full truth must include the acknowledgement that if you’re white, different rules apply.
So much of the crosstalk, the shouting, the debate over Ferguson stems, I believe, from an inability to admit this fact of life, which was illustrated so plainly to me that night in front of the deli. I’ve never been profiled. I’ve never been stopped and frisked. I’ve never experienced anything of the sort because of the gift that my parents gave me, and that my son’s parents gave him: white skin. I’ve had encounters with police, mostly during my youth, in which I’d done something wrong and thought I was about to get a ticket or go to jail but somehow didn’t, because I managed to take back or apologize for whatever I’d said to a cop in petulance or frustration; these encounters, too, would have likely gone differently, perhaps ended differently, if I hadn’t been white.
Again, I already knew this stuff. But after that night in front of the deli, I understood it.