Tuesday, 2 April 2013

Profiling or scientific assessment

It was on our date night that we decided to stop for some cash at the ATM. Assuming the pharmacy had one the wife ran in quickly. I decided to join her as this was our first time in this part of the city. As I enter the store, I spot the security guard hiding behind a shelf and peeping down one of the isles every now and then. I knew straight off the bat what the situation was. It was all thanks to the Oath taken by all security guards on graduation. To seek, surveillance and follow anyone who is remotely brown and suspect. Yes I said it!

This security had tons more finesse though. He was peeping down the isle as if he was playing hide and seek without being caught. It took me only a second to find the object of his affection. There was this young native guy with black jacket, jeans and long hair walking from isle to isle. Seriously! The only way you could shop in peace would be to convince yourself that the security guard is not following you around and spying on your every move. With an air of comedy you have the coyote comically trying to keep up with the road runner while both acting as if they other is not there.

I played games like this myself. I would walk into a shop at 3am and start walking up and down the isles amused at how the security would follow me around. In SA the word finesse does not exist so these dudes would literally walk right behind you and look you in the eyes. I knew they were doing their job and suspicious looking brown men like myself should be monitored. And all this in a fair and equal paper society.

Being objective I put myself in the guards shoes and think that if I had to choose of the 5 customers who entered my shop late in the evening. Who would I select to follow. How would my secret service training make a split second decision on how I will save the store from being ransacked. Do I follow the little old lady with a cane who can easily sneak goods into her large bag or do I follow that well dressed man with glasses. How about the mother and 2 kids in floral dresses? Of course not...........I am following the hood rat with pants hanging to the floor, with the cap turned backwards.

If someone ripped out half of your vegetable garden and they caught a few suspects at the police station. Who would you pick out of the line up. 1. Old man in tweeds 2. Young girl in school clothes 3. Hip hop guy. 4. Rasta looking hippie with a smile on her face. Now you see what I mean. To all the constitutionally and politically correct friends out there who is shaking with anger I do apologize. To infuriate you even more I would say that stereotypes are created at times from trends and statistics that should not be applied to everyone but they do exist. I know I am deep in the political cest pool now swimming in poop but the heart says was it wants.

As I am damned to hell I also struggle to shake the stereotypes that is so in grained in society. I remember working at our family liquer store and a group of 8 suspicious coloured guys walked in. I immediately placed myself on high alert because my profiling mind knew we were in trouble. All I saw was sneakers, caps & hiphop wear. My thought was not even cold when they all split up into different isles. A classic divide and steal process. I could not follow them all and suddenly they all disappeared. My photographic memory found a missing bottle of brandy and I set off running after them. Thank God thieves never stick together and I chased the right guy and kicked his feet from under him. I picked up the bottle he dropped and let him go. My manager found I let him go and jumped in his car and knocked him over. At least thats what he told me. Now ofcourse I profiled them, in truth I suppose no thought was necessary as it just came instinctively.

 Now children, before you start protesting in the streets calling for my blood let me end with this. Stereotyping is unjust. It paints good people with undeserving assumptions and relays preconceived assessments about their person. With this hanging over your head you will find the judgement against you will destroy many opportunities possible to you. With that said my conscious is clear.

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