Sunday, February 13, 2011

Reverse racial profiling?

Because my husband chose a Mexican bus line for his trip to Denver, he wasn’t surprised to discover when he boarded that he was the only Anglo on the bus.

We’ve taken this line often, and we like it. And we’re always the only Anglos.

Every bus to Denver passes through the 50 mile checkpoint north of El Paso. These Border Patrol checkpoints are like a “second border” found on all the major highways and interstates. All traffic must stop, and every person must declare their citizenship (or show their documents) to the Border Patrol agents. Usually there are drug dogs sniffing around, too.

At the checkpoint, the agents boarded this bus and one of them announced loudly: “Everyone take out your documents and be ready to show them to us.”

Passengers started burrowing through their things. My husband, sitting toward the back, dutifully removed his driver’s license.

The agents filed down the bus aisle, checking quietly—and individually--with each person.
Eventually one of them reached my husband and saw that he was prepared with his license in hand.

The officer smiled kindly.

“Oh, no!” he protested, quietly. “We didn’t mean you.”


Spadoman said...

Please pardon my language, but that is just plain Fucking Bullshit!
I was satopped on my way back from my visit with you guys. When the agent asked if i was a citizen, I said, "Si". They weren't amused. When he asked again, I said, "I am a citizen of the United States." (he had never asked me of what country I was a citizen).
I know they are doing their job, but by someone's direction they are profiling.
Also, I've been looking into what all the electronic equipment is at the side of the road IN BOTH DIRECTIONS, at the secondary border crossings. I know one of the pieces of equipment is a camera that zooms in on the faces of the occupants and does a computer match.
America, land of the free, home of the brave. HA!


Spadoman said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Spadoman said...

Sorry, it was a duplicate.

Carol said...

Ouch! That hurts!

First of all, it's kinder to consider every person to be a part of "everyone" and secondly, it's as bad to be singled out as "special" as it is to be singled out as "unimportant" or "nobody".

Talk about creating a divide in people. Those agents are pros.

Border Explorer said...

Thanks, Spadoman. Your recent experience answers the question I'm posing here. I too was shocked to see that the electronic monitoring is now aimed in both directions at the checkpoint. Reminds me of the lapel button I saw recently. It had the image of a large satellite dish and the words: "One nation. Under surveillance."

Carol, your response is extremely empathic! In fact when my husband related the experience to me, his emotional response was exactly that. From the way he told me the story I could see that was angry to be singled out like that. Thanks for honing in on that important aspect.

Border Explorer said...

Due to some off-Blogger feedback on this post, I want to emphasize that this incident is not intended to be either cute or funny. I don't think that racial profiling is something to be taken lightly. I want to illustrate that, although there are many who deny, what sociologists call "white privilege" is a reality, as is racial profiling.

okjimm said...

Totally despicable. I think I would be a little more vehement than Spadoman... but he already beat me to it.

Libby said...

I once went for drinks in J-town with a bunch of A-house vols and one of them, blond Midwestern, forgot to bring any ID with him - I mean literally not so much as a library card. Yet somehow he did not have to stay in Juarez.

Dava Castillo said...

Personal accounts prove racial profiling in a way talking about never can.

It just makes me think about how humiliating it must have been for the others on the bus when they saw your husband recieve preferred treatment.

Acts like these divide us--one incident at a time--more than culture or laws.

Dave Dubya said...

When fascism comes to America it will wrapped in the flag carrying a....wait a minute. Fascism HAS come to America.