Now that George Zimmerman was found not guilty, the media agencies are saying it is a tragedy, not a crime. Many want to deny that race had anything to do with the case, that Zimmerman only followed Trayvon because of his suspicions of him being a criminal. Being the mother of a boy that is about the same age Trayvon Martin was at the time of his murder, this case hits home with me personally. When I see images of Trayvon, I see my son Reggie and all the other African-American boys I know. Racial bias and profiling happens all the time, it is not something I chose to fixate on constantly, but I decided to share my list of a few “racial profiling” situations that I have personally experienced in my sheltered life.
1. Four Seasons Biltmore Santa Barbara– I drove up like all the other guests, (btw not that it should make a difference I was alone). No one helped me with my luggage, I believe it was assumed I was not “checking in” therefore I did not need assistance with bags. Action-Had to go in “check in” and then in my LOUD voice asked if they had discontinued helping guests with their luggage…Hotel sent written apology, fruit and chocolates to my upgraded room, clearly I had a reservation and did not need “free” items…I just want to be treated like all the other guests.
2.Four Seasons Biltmore Santa Barbara– My family and I go to the restaurant to have lunch, the hostess quickly stated that she had to check if she had a table for us, even though I could see numerous empty tables. After being seated in the near empty restaurant, I go back in and asked the hostess why was she reluctant to seat us, and before she responded a manager intervened and apologized. Action- made a formal complaint and our lunch was taken off our bill. Once again I am not on the “free lunch” plan and just want to be treated like all the other guests.
3. Nordstrom Brea– I was shopping in the cosmetics department ready to make my purchase, there was a woman ahead of me who was having a problem with her check being approved. She was irate and wanted to see the manager to figure out why her check was not accepted, so the manager came and approached me and began to explain why my check was not clearing the system. I let him explain and then I said “I’m not writing a check”. Action-made a complaint and Nordstrom suggested that if I ever have a “problem” come right upstairs to the office and a manager would assist me with my purchases. I just want to shop like all the other customers.
4. Nordstrom Brea– Went to return a fragrance that Reggie purchased for Mother’s Day, a month later the sprayer stopped working and I told the salesperson that I needed to exchange my gift, or could the sprayer be fixed, she told me that they do not carry that perfume and proceeded to take care of another customer. In my LOUD voice I tell her the perfume is right THERE in the case. She exchanged the perfume with an “attitude”. Action-Made a complaint to the management and once again I am told to come to the management office and someone would assist me with my purchases. Once again I just want to be treated equally like all the other customers.
5. Campanile/LeBrea Bakery– We used to frequent this restaurant a lot, on this particular day we went for brunch, it was not that busy and the hostess seated us at an undesirable table way in the back. There was a beautiful fountain in the front with tables that was the preferred seating area and there were plenty empty tables. I shared with Reggie my obeservation, and he said “NO WAY”. He then went outside and watched for about 10 minutes as other non African-American patrons came in with no reservations and they were all seated in the front of the restaurant. Action-after about 4 couples were seated Reggie politely asked the hostess why did she seat us all the way in the back, and her reply was “Sir I don’t know.” The sad thing about this, I believe she really did not know…
6. Ralphs- This particular day I was doing my shopping, when I was approached by an elderly woman who asked me if I were available for hire-she needed a housekeeper. She was very polite and even asked me if I knew how to make a sweet potato pie. I replied to her that I did not think she could afford my day rate and YES I do know how to make a sweet potato pie.
7. Pharmacy – When my children were little, on occasion I would need a prescription filled, and on this particular day I go to the counter and the clerk tells me I cannot get this particular med, that I need to go back and get a new prescription from my pediatrician. I asked why and her reply was “Medi Cal does not cover this” Action- I can’t write everything I said here-let’s say it was a day those who were there will remember for a long time.
8. Store Parking Lot Hollywood – This particular afternoon I was parked in a store parking lot in Hollywood,with my friend (btw a caucasian girlfriend) we were about to get out of the car, when a police officer blocked my parked car and jumped out of the car and came to the window and asked for my drivers license and insurance. I asked why and he said “just get it” I was in my little BMW and I don’t think he really noticed my friend. I could not find my insurance card, but I had the one for my other car, and I told him that it was the same agent, he seemed bothered that I had other cars. He continued to interrogate me, until finally my friend asked him “why are you bothering her?” when he saw that she was white all of a sudden he backed off. After he drove away, my friend said “I guess that was “driving while black”?…he never stated what the problem was nor did he give me a ticket.
I could go on and on with these stories, but I chose to believe there are more good people than bad and when you correct situations when they happen that perhaps the idiot will think twice next time. I talk to my son about proper behavior now that he is a teen and not a cute “little boy” anymore, I warn him about how to act if approached by the police. He is not driving yet, but in a way I am happy, because I would be afraid, especially now.
My thoughts and prayers go out to Trayvon’s parents, at this time of loss, I can’t imagine losing my son, the pain would be unbearable.
Until the philosophy which hold one race superior
And abandoned –
Everywhere is war –
Me say war.