Saturday, August 15, 2009

Funny? Not really. Scary and depressing is more like it.

This story gets lots of pun-filled mileage out of Bob Dylan being stopped by the police for "acting suspiciously" because he was taking a walk around the neighborhood. He didn't have any ID and the young whippersnapper police officers didn't recognize him and his tour staff had to vouch for him.


Except, ya know, about how taking a walk is now "suspicious behavior" that gets you stopped by the police and how Dylan's tour staff HAD to vouch for who he was because Dylan dared to walk around without ID doing nothing illegal.

IMHO, that's not funny at all. But the newspaper didn't seem to think it was worth writing about, except for the puns.



Stephanie said...

Oh, have I got a story for you.

Needless to say, I think it is extremely easy to call the police about normal behavior.

Robin Edgar said...

It looks like Bob Dylan might have been a victim of racial profiling being a white guy "wandering around a low-income, predominantly minority neighborhood" and all. . . I must say that he handled his run in with the police rather better than Henry Louis Gates Jr. did though. But your point is well taken and i caught that aspect of this story too. Maybe the U.S.A. is turning into something of a police state.

PG said...

Although Hiibel upheld "stop and identify" laws where you're required to give your name, you're not supposed to have to give more than that.

Also, the inevitable "See, this happens to white people too!" comparison already has been made at National Review. NR apparently sees no difference between arresting a man at his own home after he's already verified his identity, and giving a man a ride to his hotel so he can get some ID to verify his identity after he was seen wandering around looking in the windows of other people's houses.

hsofia said...

Word. And Word to PG's comment, too.

PG said...

I should note that my comment was written before Robin's was published, but I am wholly unsurprised he views the situation the same way National Review's readers do.

To the NR folks, the big point of the Dylan story is that Dylan reportedly “Couldn’t have been any nicer to them” (the cops who were questioning what he was doing), whereas Gates committed the crime of pissing off a cop and was justifiably arrested for it. How dare this black man believe that he should be able to get a police officer, a representative of the state, to show ID so that the black man unhappy with how he has been treated can report him? Uppity negro. Ha ha, he sure got his when the cop got him to walk over his threshold so he could be arrested on his porch for “disorderly conduct.”

Moreover, for Jonah Goldberg, it’s inconceivable that perhaps a black man, whose presence in certain places has been challenged many times in his life, will have reason to be a bit testier about having it challenged in his own damn house, than a white man who hasn’t had those experiences and who would have to accede that wandering around looking in people’s windows does seem a bit odd.

All people are blank slates who should act the same way — specifically, the way the white man acts — when confronted by police officers. This, you see, is “color blindness.” Grasping why the black man might bring a different perspective is itself Racism, because you see his race and think it might have affected his life in some way. Remember, he who smelt it (he who perceives race’s possible influence on a situation) dealt it (must be the Real Racist).