Saturday, March 20, 2010
The "All blacks please leave the store" announcement has been solved. The perp was a 16 year old boy, who picked up one of the courtesy phones in a New jersey Wal Mart and made the boneheaded announcement. According to Philly.com he has been charged with bias intimidation after an investigation by the store into the incident. The NAACP has reported similar such incidents at the store.
It would seem to be prudent for Walmart to put some restrictions on the courtesy phones they make available to the public. The temptation for an immature teenager to pick up a phone and say something real stupid should be taken into account by Walmart store managers. A pass code for employees to access the phone system might be a good idea.
I don't think that the 16 year old who did the phone prank should face jail time. He should do a combination of community service and educational assignments to bring home to him the hurt his prank may have caused shoppers. I would recommend that he be assigned to speak with an older African American about life under segregation at a time and place in America when it was legal to exclude African Americans from a store or employment.
There are a lot of violent crimes that are motivated by bigotry. There are black on white, Hispanic on black , white on Hispanic and any number of other configurations of ethnic bias. It is almost impossible to get a black on white bias crime to be recognised as such.
I have ridden many dollar vans in which the passengers are mainly African American. With one exception I did so without incident. That one time I got on a dollar van, which was picking up passengers from an underserved bus route. The driver told me that he would not leave until I got off. The Taxi and Limousine Commission never contacted me about the complaint, in which I included the driver's plate number.
Black on white bias crimes are all too often buried by law enforcement and by the media. Great pains are far too often taken to exclude bias as a motive when it would seem to be an obvious motive. If law enforcement and the media must have such a lopsided view of crimes motivated by bigotry, perhaps it would be better to use existing laws to prosecute crimes motivated by bigotry.
I have seen people outgrow racism. With proper counseling, the 16 year old who disturbed the peace in a New Jersey Walmart will probably do so as well. Although I do not care to know the boy's name, I am curious. Was his announcement in Walmart motivated by a dare? Was it boredom? Or had he been a victim of anti white bigotry? It's worth asking.
I feel for some of the older customers in the New Jersey Walmart whose memories of segregation may have been jarred by a thoughtless teenage prank. A face to face meeting with such people would be good for the young man. But if we are going to talk about racism in America, let's make it a two way street. Sphere: Related Content