In New York City a young man of color was recently arrested outside an upscale department store and hauled into the police station in handcuffs…because the salesclerk was sure he had made a fraudulent purchase. The item was a $350 designer belt. But after examining his receipts and checking the bank for a valid plastic card, the police were obliged to let him go. Since then he has filed suit against the police and the store, and was reported to have said he didn’t want the belt now. He told the police he had saved up for months from his part time job to purchase the item. He was also a college student.
So the reason I’m repeating this story is to ask folks who are not in the US…..could this happen in your country? Does it happen? Do you think it has not happened? Do you think it couldn’t happen where you live? Would it be ok if it did happen?
What kinds of problems would lead to this kind of behavior? Why would a lowly sales clerk become so paranoid with no evidence of wrongdoing? Why would the police even choose to believe a report like that, when they had even more authority to check sales receipts and debit cards and such…before jumping to conclusions?
What can people do to learn to trust one another….better? What are the barriers to such trust? Who thinks it’s all right to hurt people of other colors and races and ethnicities…just because they look a bit different?
Am I being naïve to even ask questions like this? Who really thinks this kind of behavior can make a better world?
Does anyone think this is only a problem plaguing the United States?
What needs to be done to lessen such incidents anywhere in the world? What does it take? Can ordinary people make a positive difference?
Do ordinary people think the same way that “police officers” do?
Do sales clerks think the same way other people do?
If you were entertaining a relative from planet Mars, and he saw this newspiece in your paper or TV, how could you explain it to him?
If you had a chance to speak to that young man right now, what would you tell him?
I like to get people to question themselves.
There are a lot of questions here that demand answers.
By: Marrow (USA)