Unless you have ever been the victim of racial discrimination, overt or covert, it is hard to grasp the feeling one gets from being singled out because you are NOT white. After a while, because you have been the victim of overt racism, you tend to assume the worst in people. After a while, you might come to think that any white person staring at you inside a store is just waiting for you to steal something. They may simply be admiring your clothes, your hair, your manner, or if you are a woman, your tits, but if you have been the victim of racial discrimination, chances are you will believe they are staring at you because you aren’t white and therefore, can’t possibly afford to buy anything.
You eventually get to a point at which it becomes an almost automatic impulse to rebel when you assume you are the victim of discrimination… an impulse that requires a great deal of self control to suppress and ignore.
Growing up in San Diego [read: the place filled with the kind of dirty Mexicans that the lovely people from Arizona would love to ship back to Mexico lest they take all those much sought after jobs and subvert the system to get free medical care!], I knew that some people had a hard time dealing with a Mexican who wasn’t either a migrant worker or a dishwasher. The fact that I spoke without an accent was usually the first thing white people brought up upon meeting me and I wouldn’t get mad because getting mad at ignorance is like pissing in the wind… it might bring you relief, but you’ll end up with most of it all over you. I digress…
After college, I moved to an area in Northern California that was about as white as a baby harp seal. One day after work I walked into downtown Los Gatos (an affluent [read: white] suburb of Santa Clara) to get some dinner. To my surprise, I was stopped by the police and questioned about a burglary that had happened hours before. I understood without even needing to really think about it why it was that out of ALL the hundreds of people walking around downtown, I was the subject of interest. Despite the fact that I was still dressed in my work clothes (a white dress shirt, a tie, dark slacks and dress shoes), mine was the only face that seemed out of place in a startling ocean of snow white patrons [read: a dirty Mexican in a predominantly white neighborhood]. Upon surrendering my ID, the first question I asked was, "Can I ask you gentlemen why you stopped me?"
The officer in charge told me and I laughed at him. Out loud. When he asked me what was so funny, I said, "I knew this was an expensive neighborhood, but do burglars usually dress as well as I do?" Right then I knew the police officer realized how ridiculous he sounded. Now, at this point, I could have made a big deal about it. I could have easily put a chip on my shoulder and begged him to knock it off. But I knew that the bottom line was that it could quickly escalate and my best course of action would be to comply with whatever reasonable requests they made and if I felt the need, complain about it later. They asked their questions and when they finished, I asked mine, "Could you please tell me your names and give me your badge numbers?"
I never filed, but the look on their faces was all the justice I needed. They both knew they were fucked and they both knew I knew they were fucked. They sheepishly gave me the information I requested and left me on the side of the road… smiling.
I bring this up because if you’ve read the papers, you have undoubtedly read about the incident that transpired on the UCLA campus. Here is a situation that could have been averted if the victim wasn’t passively disobeying peace officers just doing their jobs. Now, don’t get me wrong… I am totally against any kind of harassment, but clearly the incident occurred only after he refused to cooperate (first by refusing to show his ID, then by refusing to leave when asked, and finally when he took offense to one of the officer’s placing a hand on his shoulder to steer him out). Had he simply left when the volunteers in the library asked him to, the UCLA PD would not have reason to get involved.
The big ruckus now is over his "rights" being trampled by the peace officers overzealous use of the taser. Perhaps they could have handled it differently, but had Mr. Tabatabainejad complied with the original request for his ID, NONE OF THIS WOULD HAVE HAPPENED. Once Mr. Tabatabainejad was incapacitated, was there a need to repeatedly zap that fucker with enough electricity to toast a bagel? Probably not, but he essentially got the response he was angling for in my opinion.
If he is truly a student of UCLA, someone should look into whether or not he has the mental capacity to actually belong in a place of higher learning… either way, I am sure Mr. Tabatabainejad has learned at least one valuable lesson… you don’t fuck with the Police no matter what color you are or you just might get lit up like a lightbulb at christmas.