Monday, June 28, 2010

Patriotism and Racial Profiling in Australia Part II

Me, Bob Henrickson (Manhasset, Cornel), SU teammate Brad Kotz (West Genesee). That’s Kevin Cook with the video camera in the back ground. And notice the team USA bags, they are all the same.

The trip to Australia is grueling—about 20 hours of travel time. When we finally landed down under I was wiped out and not very mentally alert. My teammates and I picked up our identical team USA duffle bags and sticks and proceeded to customs. I was asked to follow a female customs official who struck up a friendly conversation with me as she politely and carefully searched my bag and asked me questions. When she finished she said, “You can go now” and I happily packed my stuff and headed out side door where a team bus loaded with my teammates and members of our entourage waited for me to board—I was the last one through customs. I thought nothing of my experience in customs until I stepped on the bus. A couple teammates looked concerned and asked, “Hey op, where you been, what took so long?” I explains that a customs officials searched my bag. My racist alarm then went off, and I proceeded to ask several teammates one by one if they had their bags checked—not one person had their bags checked but me—the lone dark skinned African American in the group of almost forty people. I had just been racially profiled before black folks regularly pulled over by state troopers on the New Jersey turnpike coined the term. In retrospect, I guess that custom officials had seen allot of Hollywood movies in which black male actors are most often caste as drug dealers, drug using rappers, and athletes using drugs in one form or the other. What’s funny is Kevin Cook (Levittown, Nassau, Cornell, and the Hall of Fame) and I were the only guys on the team who didn’t even drink! Folks stuff like that is still a reality here and abroad for black males even after the election of President Obama with the support of lots of white voters.

1 comment:

  1. Hmm,that's a tough one. As americans, we all have such immense privilege; yet there are so many ways in which that privilege can be taken from us (both abroad and at home) in ways that are heartbreaking, humiliating, and hurtful. But I don't think the answer is to never let down your guard. Being prepared for ignorance and bigotry at all times can be hurtful, too. And yet the sting of a surprise attack is so painful that I think people (I know I feel this way) want to do anything in their power to prevent the sting. But still, the expectation of hurt is a hurt in and of itself; and the expectation of hurt plays into the sick fantasies of bigots everywhere. So what's better alternative? No idea. I rely on Gangsta Rap, Motzart,and Torah for comfort . . .