Rap legend MC Hammer set the Twitter world ablaze on Saturday Feb. 23, 2013 with his tweets about his arrest in Northern California, as his accounts of the incident point to possible racial profiling.
Hammer tweeted that an officer approached him while he was in his vehicle and asked him: “Are you on parole or probation?”
According to Hammer, he tried to hand over his ID to the officer, but the officer instead tried to pull him out of the vehicle.
Dublin, California Police Lt. Herb Walters told the Oakland Tribune that Hammer had been arrested on Thursday for his role in obstructing an officer from performing his duties and resisting an officer.
Now in light of the plethora of situations just like this one that happen all over this country, the most one-sided, most biased responses that the average Joe Blow will almost always have to a situation like this one, especially a situation involving law enforcement and African-Americans, is how cops have a really tough job, so people should grant them some extra leeway in the behavior department, but many of us, especially African-Americans, are not buying it.
This country has an extremely long, subpar record on equal treatment under the law in regard to African-Americans and other minorities, but specifically with African-Americans.
And just like a large number of people will demand that African-Americans step up to the plate and act responsibly based on this less-than-stellar history in regard to law enforcement, the police should also be saddled with that same demand, and having a bad day at the cop office is no excuse to skirt that responsibility.
And before people assume that my support is for Hammer just because we are both African-Americans, they should consider what Hammer described as “a teachable moment,”
because that’s exactly what this is—provided that your systematically indoctrinated eyes haven’t been willingly sewn shut by the unrealistic belief that the majority of law enforcement is free of corruption, and racial profiling is not a credible problem, because it doesn’t affect your side of the DNA/color tracks!
While there are those throughout social media that have suggested that stars like Hammer can be arrogant in their behavior when they are approached by law enforcement, racially profiling another African-American is certainly not the right response to that arrogance.
And unlike racial profiling, the stigma of arrogance does not chronically affect only the Black community. Anybody can and will be arrogant, and law enforcement is trained to know this, and they are trained to deal with it professionally, since they are highly likely to arrest or confront arrogant people everyday.
One only has to look no further than the New York Police Department’s “Stop-and-Frisk” approach to gain a better understanding of racial profiling in this country. According to CNN, data released by the NYPD showed that nearly 9 out of 10 people who were “stopped and frisked” were African-American or Latino.
Maybe the NYPD, like the Dublin Police Department in California, thought all of those Brown and Black minorities were also on “parole or probation.”
The question then becomes do African-Americans and other minorities have the right to be angry or arrogant when law enforcement has utilized their right to racially profile them with the dehumanizing assumption of guilt that is not necessarily based on evidence, but is discriminately and recklessly based exclusively on the color of one’s skin?
And based on the recent, unsettling history of Black men like Trayvon Martin,
Oscar Grant, Sean Bell, Amadou Diallo and countless others, Hammer should consider himself very lucky that he was able to walk way from all of this with his reputation slightly tarnished or embarrassed—but still alive to tweet his story!