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August 08, 2011


Benjamin Fowler

Thanks for sharing this interesting story of this kind of casual racism (because it's pretty obvious what kind of attitudes motivate this kind of behaviour). Kudos for you for having shown such restraint, although unfortunately, I doubt you would've had much say in the matter.

Here I was thinking that it was just the way one looked and dressed, rather than skin colour these days. Your experience is an interesting data point. I've been stopped and hassled by police a couple of times in the past, but each time, I chalked it up to having "asked for it", because I was wearing the wrong clothes, cycling home on a BMX and a rucksack (almost guaranteeing police attention).


Outrageous. You should try to get this story published in the mainstream press.


"It is still perfectly legal to be angry at officers who rush to treat you like a criminal though you're the one who's been subject to unwarranted aggression"

It is certainly legal but is it prudent?

Given that police have wide latitude in these situations, what's the point of agitating them? The likelihood that it improves one's situation is low and the downside of them ruining your day is real.

Tactically, I would think one is better off saying 'yes sir, no sir, thank you sir, have a good day.'

Ultimately, are people responding primarily for one's color or one's attitude? I don't think it's prudent to agitate people in such mundane situations.



The fly in the ointment for your argument is that the one-sided detention *preceded* the irritation on my part - in fact, that is what caused said irritation. I had no "attitude" when the PCSO grabbed my arm and started shoving me after I'd calmly answered her question; nor could it have been my "attitude" which caused her to ignore the pushy woman entirely, leaving her free to leave the scene while claiming she just wanted to know "what happened" ...

Frankly, even though your advice isn't really applicable in my case, I think it is precisely the problem that police officers - and badly trained clowns in quasi-police guise - are allowed so much latitude that one should have to treat them with exaggerated tact. They are public *servants*, not our masters, and the fact that they so quickly forget this is why police-civilian relations are often so testy in poor and minority areas. Too often the police act as if they were victorious conquerors in such areas rather than civil servants tasked with keeping the peace, so is it any wonder that they are hated?

I have no sympathy at all for thugs who go out on looting sprees, but I'd be lying if I said my attitude towards the police were much better, after what I've seen, and what many others I'm personally acquainted with (all of whom are also middle or upper-middle class) have experienced. What we see is that the police do nothing when we need them, and needlessly harass us the rest of the time.

It may or may have not been racism. One time in Leicester square a witnessed an old man being harassed by a street mime. The old man had been shuffling along (with a cane no less), minding his own business when the street mime, who had gathered a crowd, stepped in front of him and began doing his shtick. The old man tried to go around him but the street mime kept getting in his way. All this time this time the crows was applauding and laughing at the mime and I presume, the old man. Finally the old man raised his cane and the mime backed off. At that moment 2 of Britain's finest accosted the old man and never even bothered to ask him what was going on or even attempted to interview the mime. The had watched the whole thing transpire and went after the old man who was simply trying to gt away from someone who was harassing him. Last I saw the cops were carting the old man off. It's the mentality of the British cop to simply pick one and that's god enough for them. They only care about controlling the situation, not justice. Just be glad they don't carry guns like ours.

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