11 October 2013


Today on my way to work, I saw a blonde haired, blue-eyed woman standing legs parted, hands behind her back and bag strewn on the ground as she was being arrested by three police officers. And I walked by, I smiled. 

Now, I completely own that my reaction was sick. No one should get joy from watching as someone is arrested. The way police officers demean and make of spectacle of arresting someone makes a pit rise in my throat. But I also can't act like seeing this moment didn't make me a little happy. And that's a real problem. 

I would say around once a month, I see black young men subjected to the same acts of degradation. Young black and brown men, sitting handcuffed along walls as cops lean over them menacingly. Every day as I walk to work I pass by numerous homeless people, the majority of whom are people of color, and watch as the Twitter techies, businessmen and yes, even I sidestep them on our way to our offices after getting our locally brewed coffees. So when I saw that girl being arrested, I smiled because I was happy that it wasn't one of us. It was one of them for once.

And to be honest, that's not justice. Having just as many White people in our corrupt penal system as there are Blacks or Latinos is not justice. It just means more people are being stripped of their basic human rights. Having just as many White people in our overcrowded, underfunded public schools wouldn't be justice either. I don't wish ills on people in order to make the ills of society seem equal. But I did smile. I had a moment of feeling like some sense of karma was being doled out by the universe and I admit it wasn't right. We can't always help how we feel in a particular moment and no matter how many White, blonde haired, blue-eyed girls are arrested, that won't change the fundamentals of our society. Real change like that might actually bring some real joy to my smile.