The Threat of Integration

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I have lived in the same house in the Miracle Mile section of Los Angeles for over 30 years, where up until now I have had little or no interaction with the Los Angeles Police Department. And yet in the last two weeks I have had two separate and rather suspicious encounters with the police. Could it have anything to do with the fact that I rent out three bedrooms in my house to three African American males/ friends? Let me describe these encounters for you and ask you to ask yourselves if the same police response would have taken place if my three friends/housemates were White or Asian and not African American or Latino, like one of my previous renters was.

The first incident took place a little over a week ago, where two LAPD officers were walking on my property without permission and shining their high intensity flashlight through my kitchen window, where my housemates were engaged in that highly suspicious activity of having dinner, while having a chat. My housemates called me and I went outside to ask the officers, who had retreated to their patrol vehicle, what they wanted and if there was a problem. They said there had been a report of a stolen vehicle in the neighborhood and they were just investigating. One of the officers wanted to know what was behind my gate and I told him he was welcome to look or was free to come in my house- they never took me up on this offer, which I must confess that at this point I started to wonder how much the police presence had to do with alleged criminal behavior or just White neighbors discomfort at having three Black men living on Their street?

The second incident with police occurred two days ago, when I noticed that there was a police car with several officers in it parked on the wrong side of the street directly in front of my house, which remained there for the better part of an hour without the officers ever exiting their vehicle. I must confess that my first thought was that if I parked my car the way these cops parked theirs- without an emergency- I would have been cited.

Because of these two incidents, I called the LAPD division on Venice Blvd. on two separate occasions to try and find out what was really going on. During my second call, the Latino officer who took the call without overtly saying that their officers came out because of my Black roommates, actually said, "Blacks and Latinos commit more crimes," which is true statistically, but doesn't address why this is so and what effect this has on the vast majority of the Black and Latino populations that are law abiding. But most importantly, it does nothing to dismantle a racist socialization system that the police remain unquestioning enforcers of that tenaciously avoids the relatively inexpensive reforms that would finally eliminate Black and Latino programmed underachievement of their G-d given potential- both physically and mentally.

What makes me most aware of just how pervasive racism remains in our society is the fact that besides mouthing platitudes about equal rights and opportunities, there is little expectation in not just the White community, but in the Black and Latino, that all students can do well in school as a precondition to their being fully integrated at their highest potential into a fully integrated society, where racial fantasies of inherent superiority or inferiority can't exist.

If a fully integrated public education system as mandated by the 1954 Supreme Court case of Brown vs. Board of Education was finally implemented White, Black, and Latino racial fantasies of inferiority and/or superiority would finally go by wayside. And police might finally be able to do their job in an equitable manner.

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