opening the can

the last time i can think of it overtly happening, it was in Bolton, near Manchester in the north of England. this was almost exactly a year ago. lovely town with some nice pubs and the odd nice club, supposedly.
the 5 or so other people i was with walked in the club. i was stopped for ID. i asked why i was the only one being asked for ID. they said it was random. right.
you know, in the past, when i have brought up these kind of things, i have been greeted with responses like “you’re paranoid,” “the world isn’t out to get you,” etc. not acknowledging that this is a real thing, that it is going on, that kind of bull[bleep]. encouraging me not to talk about it any more, at all. to sweep it under the rug, so to speak.
after they ID’d me, they demanded that they be able to pat me down and search me. at that point i decided enough is enough, and demanded to know why i was the only one being searched AND ID’d. the bouncer explained that it is random searches that need to be performed according to the management, but it really how random could it be?
somebody has to think, “oh! that would be a good person to search!” somebody did.
i was obviously the only visibly non-white person coming in the club at that time. i remedied that by refusing to pay cover, and turned one hundred and eighty degrees and took my exit. i let them know exactly what i thought of their “random” searches on my way out.
am i supposed to feel safe around that kind of security, the kind the instinctually doesn’t trust me? see ya later, you’re out of my life.
i feel badly for those in the states who are still going through much worse, and you hear about them all the time. my experience is hardly a lot to complain about, but i will tell you this: it made me feel sick inside, and it made me very bitter that there are many people who will not -ever- feel what it is like to be descriminated against in any way — not because i want them to be descriminated against, but rather that i would like them to understand what it feels like. i kind of feel like if you’ve been through it, you’re less likely to do it to other people, which is the reverse of internalized opression.
so maybe that’s bull[bleep]. maybe it isn’t. i’d rather people not -have- to go through this kind of thing. it doesn’t enhance life. it’s okay if one doesn’t understand how it feels. perhaps they only need to know it’s wrong.
maybe i’ll blast the UK and the USA for being two of the worst countries in the world for this kind of thing. blair and bush..
erik’s saying (not sure if he made it up) after 9/11 [not F9/11] and the security situation at the airports: “if you’re white, the sky is the limit.. if you’re not white, the limit is the sky.” though crudely hilarious (as erik is), it was and has been somewhat true. sadly. the kind of thing that is going on in the states right now, with loss of privacy and increased discrimination, if selectively reported on like much of the media selectively used to report on the past Russia and the current China, would make the USA look like a very controlled country. thank goodness this particular scary dictatorship has an expiration date. thank goodness i live in canada.
writing this has been a long time coming for me, but as time goes on, i am less afraid to write about things that are important to me. this is my prelude into what i believe to be a fairly important link for all to read, if you’re not white, or if you’re in the states, or if you’re into photography:

listening to: Dead Can Dance – Song of the Disposessed.

25 thoughts on “opening the can”

  1. Hey Dav,
    A little story. Les and I were flying back home from Calgary. As we went through the secruity check point they allowed her to carry rocks (which were in her purse) through the checkpoint and onto the plane. Now we both know that Les is harmless, but I honestly doubt that they would have been so kind to others. There is a reason to this as you point out. Men and women of African and Asian decent are being villified in the media (by such companies as CanWest Global)on a daily basis. This is shaping the way in which the ignorant (the bouncer) think. In contrast, we parade people stupid rich pigs like Ronald Reagan. Talk about how great they are while forgetting to talk about the ten of thousands of Central and South Americans that he ordered to death. Sorry about the rant, and great post btw.

  2. thanks for sharing that kevin, very interesting how it works, isn’t it? no need to apologize for ranting, certainly not here.

  3. it’s a sad state of affairs. and you’re right, as a white woman growing up in canada, i can’t possibly know how it feels to be discriminated against based only on race.
    this, i think is the biggest problem with the issue. white america thinks they understand, they think they get it. and therefore they are not guilty of it.
    people have fought for many years to try and develop a society that does not judge people on race, creed or colour. it’s horrible that one event, albeit an awful event, can set us back so many years.
    good for you for taking and stand, and don’t let anyone tell you’re paranoid.
    great post.
    ps. at the seattle airport there are many reason to exit and return to secure areas, they randomly pull people aside and do a swipe for bomb residue. i have never been through security in the seattle airport (and it has been many times), with having been randomly selected. go figure.

  4. When I came back from thailand in 2002, and this was comming through customs in Vancouver. I was told that I possibly had drugs on me, and that they were going to have to search me, even though my friend who i was with walked right through, didn’t declare anything(and i did declare everything), even though his bag was packed with shit from thailand..booze..cigs..shirts etc, they let him go right through. Now they swabbed my wallet they said, and they say they found residue of some sort of drug….bullshit or not, I don’t know, but then decided i was smuggling drugs into canada somehow. So they took me, and My large backpack which i had been living out of in thailand, into another room, placed me under arrest, then interigated me about my trip, my life, everything, and then strip searched me. Obviously I had nothing, and thats what they found. They threw my shit on the floor for me to clean up, and then I had to sprint all the way accorss the airport to catch a shuttle bus to my flight to campble river where i was living at that time. But what I am saying is that there is a certain amount of random pullouts in situations like that, although from what you say there Davin, it may have been race invoked, it may not have. But it does happen to us all, some more than others unfortunately…..

  5. Unfortunately, “it may have been race invoked, it may not have” gives Them enough wiggle room to declare that *any_particular* incident is not racially motivated.
    I remember in the ’80s when then-L.A. police chief Darryl Gates, asked why so many black people were dying in police choke holds, said that the veins in black people’s necks didn’t open again when released like those of “normal people”. Good to see things like Homeland Security are expanding that policy …

  6. Just reading about these kinds of encounters makes me upset in a few ways. I feel scared that people in these positions of power can be so ignorant and condecending to others for such superfluous reasons. I also feel sad that people have to be subjected to these individuals racially (or any form of bigotry) motivated behaviours. Anger is also a part of how I feel towards those that won’t (yes I mean won’t) understand the impact of their actions on the people around them. Even if they feel they are right in what they are doing, there is a level of respect that they fail to show, both to themselves and of course the person they are disrespecting, simply because they are incapable of communicating their reasoning behind their actions. If one were to say, “I am doing this because you have brown skin,” it wouldn’t make it any better, except that they have now shown a degree of respect in the sense they are acknowledging their discriminatory bias. But, it’s their own fear and their own distaste for what they are doing that holds them from being truthful to themselves and by doing that they make the situation much more difficult to stomach and rectify.
    I sincerely hope that the people you were with, davin, also did a 180 and left with you, making it clear that the bouncer’s attiude was unacceptable. I know the first thing I would have done was to ask why I had not been searched and why my friend was being harassed to such an extreme. Any form of bigotry has this effect on me, and I can understand the way you feel, if not only because I am also human and have the same feelings as the rest of us, but I’ve also had my share of childhood bullies who made fun of me because of my differences, and I’ve had run-ins with police who asked me for ID and talked at me not to me from the door of my own house, with their squad cars blocking the road and even though they weren’t doing so because of my skin colour, but because of an assumption that I was someone they were looking for, it still felt horrible to be accused when you have given no reason for such accusations to be laid against you.

  7. Davin,
    It is real, it does happen all the time, and you have every right to be pissed. Most importantly you should write about it.
    What can we do about it? Well it won’t eliminate it all together but at least we can teach our children compassion.

  8. I hate stories like this. This does happen, and it’s not always paranoia.
    A friend of mine, Mehnaz, is Muslim and Bengali. Her younger brother graduated from a very good high school in Bangladesh, and she comes from a very good family. He was offered admission to both Stanford and Yale based on his grades. After 9/11, both schools rescinded their offers of admission after he could not get a student visa. Why could he not get a student visa? Because he was Muslim. To this day, he is now going to a school in Bangladesh, and his opportunities are now limited.
    Mehnaz gets searched EVERY time she flies, and often gets taken into the little room to be questioned. She has booked flights through cities like Seattle just to get around having to go through LAX or other “difficult” cities.
    That being said, I met a girl flying to Houston who was pulled into the “little room”. She was asked to take off her stilettos. It was kinda hilarious because she was SO DONE UP and watching her have to go barefoot made me giggle. She said that this happened to her all the time, and she has no idea why. She was so blond/perfect/Californian beauty, does this mean that she should now be paranoid about getting taken out of line? Just another perspective.

  9. yeah – like Mina said “…The most important thing is how Davin feels…”
    Perception is reality. If you perceive you are being selected then you are. I also have no idea what it is like to be discriminated against, but I do know what it is like to be pointed at by those way way way over the PC line. Without digressing into a gurton story here I was chastised for calling my friend black. My response “Well he IS!” , “NO!,he is African-American”was the reply. Me:”Look, he is neither African nor American. He is black and neither of us have a problem with that.”
    I would like to play devils advocate for a moment and ask if Davin was the only person searched that entire night. What if a group of ten white folks entered half an hour earlier and one of them was searched? Would that be discrimination?
    This does not negate what happened to Davin of course, rather just pointing out that if the exact same situation happened to a white person we wouldn’t even consider why. However when it does involve someone with a different skin tone we ponder.
    Hmm, you know what? I am being discriminated against right now. As a white, 5’9″ average white guy I have a fraction of chance getting into the RCMP, however if I was a visible ‘minority’ (I dislike that word) and female I would have a hard time screwing up enough to not be accepted. Damn Quotas, Stupid Quotas. I digress.
    Unfortunately I prolly would have been one of those friends telling you to ignore it. I’m of the mind that the offense is only as big as the reaction it gains. My truck was hit the other day, *shrug* nothing I can do now but get it fixed. All the jumping up and down I do isn’t going to change that (certainly NOT saying Davin was jumping up and down) My Step mom gets stopped and searched on every flight she goes on while my Dad just walks through. She just laughs it off because you know those grandmothers of four are just a terror.
    I can not sympathize for Davin because as he pointed out earlier i have not been in his shoes. I can however empathize with him and I respect his resolve and his decision to turn around and leave. I’m also frustrated that anyone let alone a friend of mine has had experience this on many occasions.

  10. There are racial tensions between the Japanese & Chinese too. I see something similar at work getting to watch peoples reactions to people with disabilities. Discrimination is founded on fear (aka lack of love), and not to sound paranoid either, but fear is a good way to control the population.
    The scary thing is, that this is how they get people to internalize that fear. Keep up the fear mongering for long enough and poof, they will suppress themselves and others, willingly.

  11. back in the 60’s when my hair was past my butt, I was stepped on by all sorts of ignorant asses. You certainly don’t have to be black to have it happen to you. You just have to look different than the next guy.

  12. Yep… that’s lousy. Regarding the fear in the US and the trouble photography can get you in — it can be pretty bad. A little while back ( I was taking a picture of what I thought was a unique water tower — about 100 feet high, big and spherical on top, skinny all the way up — and got asked was I was doing. I reassured my interrogator I had just never seen a tower like it before, but his facial expression, body language, tone of voice and the way he watched me after our conversation ended definitely suggested he didn’t believe me. Just left me feeling pretty uneasy.

  13. It’s scary that the way they now deal with this in airports is to resort to arbitrary, nonsensical rules, such as “no more than three people of middle eastern descent being searched at one time” or “one white guy for every two coloured people.” I, despite flying dozens of times a year, have never been pulled aside for anything more than a couple of seconds. A close friend of mine, who looks like Mr. California, gets pulled aside almost every time.
    I’m glad that you posted the link to I had read that about a week ago, and found it disturbing and infuriating. On a different note, photography is now banned in the New York City subway system, as an “anti-terrorism measure.” In reality, it’s another way for Mayor Bloomberg’s NYPD to raise cash by issuing tickets for such things as “riding a bike with your feet off the pedals” or “improper use of a milk crate” (!). It’s bizzare that this new rule was implented, of all times, during a retrospective exhibition of subway photography at Grand Central. In any case, I used to think of Americans as passionate defenders of their freedoms and civil liberties. Now I don’t know what they believe, except perhaps: “those that got, gets.”
    As for the bouncers, I have mixed feelings. I’ve been singled out when entering clubs, and when I worked as a bouncer you would occasionally have to single people out. When I did it, I would go out of my way not to put myself in situations where people could accuse me of being a racist (which is sad, in a way, too) and yet I’ve been called a racist on several occasions. Even though I knew I was being fair, it stings pretty bad that people would use their race as leverage to try to make me feel shitty. Bouncers take a lot of shit, particularly on busy nights, and they sometimes have to be brusque; I can understand why they reacted as they did to mina.

  14. i get searched in 90% of the US airports i travel through, and i’m definitely white. there is a whole host of criteria that the TSA uses to select “random screening”
    1) flight arrival/departure/length of stay – for instance – if you have a one way flight, you are automatically selected for screening. white/asian/whatever – if you’re flying one way, chances are you’re getting the full search.
    2) appearance – if you’re traveling from seattle to alaska with no checked luggage or carryon, wearing a t-shirt and shorts – or something similar – you’re likely to get searched. if you’re looking somewhat obvious… you’re searched.
    3) risk factor – it’s not likely that an middle-eastern looking lady packing around her 4 young children is getting searched. however a single young bearded middle eastern male has a much better chance. the bottom line on this is that in the last 20 years the vast majority of airline terrorism (and terrorism in general) has been committed by militant arabic / islamic / middle eastern terrorists.
    you know… it sucks to think that you might go through some discomfort for the safety of the whole, but suck it up. I’ve been fully searched well over 100 times in airports in the last year and not once did I complain. Yes, it’s annoying, it’s inconvenient, I could even say that they’re being prejudiced as I’m a foreigner and that they’re picking me out. But I don’t – because I understand that a bunch of psycho middle easterners commandeered planes and flattened the WTC with them. If it was a bunch of white Icelanders – you can be damn sure that it would be people from Iceland getting the third degree.
    racism sucks, as does sexism, feminism, chauvinism, and many other isms. the bottom line is that as long as there’s class and wealth separation on earth, racism will go on. your role is to be the bigger person and ignore it, and to not propagate it.

  15. wow, these are awesome, thoughtful and compelling responses. i don’t know where to begin, but how about I start from where I last responded..
    alison: you may know how it feels to be discriminated against as a woman though, which i imagine could be a similar feeling. i have much more than what i described to give me reason to be paranoid, i just chose not to share it on the blog [at this time.]
    leekee: that must have been really stressful for you. point taken about random being an actual practice.
    johnny nemo: holy crapola that is wacko.
    mischiff: lol, i actually am. i am half white and half east indian, which makes me neither [by some people’s standards.] really i am 50% of each, and 100% canadian. so there.
    james: really well put. some honesty is what was lacking. i really like how erik put down the criteria there for all to see. that’s all i was asking for. not having an answer for “how are you judging me?” was just as frustrating as knowing the answer to “are you judging me?”
    david: i am really with you on that point. i mean, if er when i have children. what?!??! shhh .. hmm. really though, teaching through generations is highly effective considering how much values are molded through parentry.
    kyrsten: that is a really sad story. bad apples have spoiled it for the bunch. no pun intended.
    gurton: the example you gave me outside the pool last night was a good example of paranoia — but it isn’t paranoia if there is actual reason to be worried about the issue, in my opinion. it’s a valid concern. paranoia implies that there is no reason to be concerned. victims of discrimination also can easily become victims of rights abuse and more. that being said, there are probably 5 cases of valid concern for every actual case of discrimination.
    i think i am having dejavu. have i said this before? weird. i don’t think i said it last night. swimming was rad btw. what was the name of the game we came up with? head tail or something?
    freelancesubversive: what an interesting name you have chosen, scott. you describe internalized oppression, which simply means the oppressed will oppress in the future, maybe even more so than before. a vicious cycle.
    denis: do you think that’s what it is? who are these people who stepped on you? what did they have in common? as messed up as that was, i believe it .. it being the 60’s and all. i am not certain we are better off today — are we from your perspective?
    krishen: i remember that incident. sketchy-central. when i read the artists’ statement, it made me think of your story immediately.. that’s why i sent you the link on iChat before posting my lil bit there.
    joel: Mr. California.. what does that mean? tanned? i have never heard of these nonsensical rules.. they are disturbing. those new rules in the subway are hilarious. “improper use of a milk crate” — is that meant to prohibit DJ’s from taking their records to illegal all night raves? soooo ridiculous. i know a lot of bouncers have tough jobs and are victims themselves quite often. not a very nice job in my opinion, but also very necessary.
    erik: thanks for laying down some criteria there. as i said earlier, having heard some sort of criteria for their searching would have made a big difference to me. i have no problem being searched on flights. i expect it. in fact, it weirds me out that there was no searching going on in Scotland last time i flew out.

  16. The day we can agree that ignorance and discrimination exists in all of our society, is the day we begin to actually face the problem.
    Racism is not about color. It is about much more than color. It is about self hatred, it is about oppresion, fear, repression, and multitudes of other reasons. As many as you can craft up anyways.
    We all have our hang-ups. We all have our least favorites, at least I think we all do. (Unless more of you than I think out there have actually joined Budda and Jesus on the plateau of enlightenment .)
    This does not excuse us from behaving. Nothing excuses us from behaving.
    Life is life and that should be respected.
    Growth is growth and that too should be respected.
    I have spent may times in knots about somebody else’s “thing” and it has never gotten me anywhere good.
    I think that If a child refuses to learn to let go of the couch to get to the TV, that child remains anchored to couch for sometime.
    In this modern day mad dash for enlightenment I think a lot of us have forgotten that sometimes it takes longer for some “children” to let go of the couch. I don’t think the “I am more enlightened than YOU” approach is very helpful either. I am sure the enlightenment cup doesn’t have a giant gold trophy at the end of the race for the winner to claim either. When I worked on the street with people that lived there, I never expected those people to just stop being so homeless. I also don’t expect this world to just up and stop being so ignorant.
    I hope we can ride this whole discrimination thing right out of style, but I do think it is gonna take more time.
    It sucks that this type of thing happens all over the world all the time, and it sucks even more that it happens to good people like Davin. I hope that more people can actually take “enlightenment” seriously and open their minds to the possibilities. I think it will help.
    I hope we can go without this stuff for awhile. I would hate to be the sorry prick that ever raises a hand to Davin again. There are many roads to enlightenment, and sometimes a knuckle sandwich can start the journey off well. wink.
    Even his Holiness admits to having anger.
    I am a long way from home but I am on my way back. As is everyone else.

  17. mike: well said.. “When I worked on the street with people that lived there, I never expected those people to just stop being so homeless.”

  18. Mr. California is blonde, white as hell, with blue eyes, and buys a lot of light blue clothes at Afco. There have been a lot of racial profiling issues here, even prior to 11 September. I remember that for a while police were pulling over all the black, young men on the New Jersey turnpike on flimsy pretenses and searching their cars for drugs. This is four or five years ago! It’s crazy. I agree that if you’re going to search a car for drugs, probably it’s not grandma’s Buick, and it’s not going to be the middle aged suburban family’s SUV, but come on… In any case, to avoid being seen as profiling, the security companies give guidelines to their employees. Those that Erik mentioned are the widely publicised criteria, but apparently there are more sinister and bizarre rules.
    Erik: “the bottom line is that as long as there’s class and wealth separation on earth, racism will go on. your role is to be the bigger person and ignore it, and to not propagate it.” I don’t agree with this cynicism at all. Racism doesn’t have to go on, and it has gotten much better in the past hundred years. It has a long way to go, but it will get better still. It is important to be a big person, it is important not to propagate it, but by ignoring it, you are complicit.

  19. Davin: It was called “tailspin” if I recall correctly. Different than the ‘you give head or I get tail’ scenario. ahem.
    Yeah so many points to be made, and have been made. I do not think racism should be ignored either, but to take a spin off that and put my earlier comments in context I have yet another example. (whoa. weird. Listening to Crystal Method ‘community service’ and their remix of Garbage -Paranoid just came on. this just after reading Davin’s comment about paranoia.werd)
    So my example: The stupid Janet Jackson boob thing. Had they just ignored it, it would have just gone away. A vast majority of the world would have missed it like I did. I watched it live BTW and thought it was a pastie or part of the costume as the camera was way up in the stadium. Instead they went crazy and started fining radio stations! (?) Back in the eighties on the Price is Right some lady came running down the isle in a halter top. She popped out. There was no international scandal against the network or Bob Barker.
    Basically it is the reaction the drives the events that follow. Now should racism be ignored? NO. Will ignoring it make it go away? NO! But how we deal with the sitch will drive the future. Yes we should stand up against it but we shouldn’t become haters ourselves and propagate the problem.
    Interestingly and Coincidentally enough I *just* watched a show about Catholics and Prods in Belfast. Kids are taught to hate and they don’t know why. If a Catholic befriended a Protestant while on vacation they can not stay in contact upon returning home because they will be beaten by either side. Instead they must stay ‘safe’ within the beliefs and protection of their flock. No matter how wrong it is.
    My Grannie used to say how clever the ‘Japs’ were, or to buy her something at the ‘Chinaman’s store’. It is how she was taught during the world wars. Thankfully my Dad didn’t pick it up, and I think our generation is yet again vastly different again. Hopefully the next generation will be rid of this shit. Too bad it has to take that long, but really we are talking about changing people. Some people can’t be changed. They can however be replaced.
    There is so much more to say. Maybe I need to fire up my own blog sometime 😛

  20. Although this ain’t the same issue, but I’d like to throw my comments in. I think this demostrates something about the caliber of security staff you are dealing with at nightclubs.
    I was back in Vancouver last year (after living in California for a couple years). I was entering a new-ish club on Graville Street (some stupid one word, pomp-ass name like Liquid or some shit). I walk up to the coat check to pay the cost to enter, put a glass vase (an expensive girft I just got) down on the ledge to pay. I get the money out, the girl grabs the vase, I stop her (not wanting to check it) and the bouncer asks me for ID. I (barely turning my head) say to the bouncer (who is not wearing an Club ID BTW, or clothing inidcating he is working for the establishment) “Just a second, I am not done with her.” He says something back to me like, “I don’t think you heard me” in which case I turn and say to him “I am not finished my transaction with this young lady, I’ll talk to you when I am done with her”. Then he says something about how its not a good idea to get in his face. I immediatly say how I have not sworn at him, said anything derogatory and that I am confused by his demeanor.
    Next thing he says, I’m not allowed in the club. This entire episode elapsed in under 30 seconds. Now having lived in San Fransisco, I am used to fucking rude people (there are tonnes in California/U.S. don’t chya know) but I won’t accept it in Canada. I turn to my 5 buddies, briefly explain the situation and leave. No use in fighting (aka beating the fuck out of him) since he has 5 more monkey’s his size waiting to unconditionally back him up.
    Security staff at bars trying to cater to the wanna-be ultra cool crowd are the some of the _worst_ individuals to deal with. Davin, I don’t think you are out of line to think you were questioned for the ‘wrong reasons’. Don’t go back, don’t give them business, there is nothing to be gained there.
    As a Canadian travelling into the U.S. post 9/11 I won’t even get into shit I have seen….

  21. Great post, Davin. I haven’t read all the comments yet (work), and I’m sure this has already been said, but I say talk about it… write about it… yell about it if you want to! What happened to you was crap and so blatently racially motivated.
    You’re so right. As a white woman, I’ll never know what you and so many otheres have experienced… and that’s why I make it my own responsibility to try to understand it as best I can. Thanks for sharing, Davin.

  22. joke: congratulations on passing your 100th birthday. i didn’t know that you’ve had personal experience with racism that stretches back that far! good on you.
    since you don’t, what you can go on is based in history books. and as history will tell you, beyond the immediate african slavery done by white people during the colonization period, it was mostly white people being enslaved by richer white people.
    however, in case you hadn’t noticed, we still live in a society today where rich people enslave other people, give them a pittance (compared to their earnings) for the work they must do to survive, and for the most part look down on them from a high->middle->low class separation. it’s almost exactly the same as it was according to history books in the middle ages. what we’ve changed is that we’re currently not in the business of enslaving citizens of countries that we’ve colonized or captured. this might be because for the most part – we’re not colonizing or capturing countries. in countries where there is a destabilized government or outright war, i’m confident that slavery is abound. however this is *currently* a small percentage of the world.
    as far as i’m concerned and from what i’ve learned and read – aside from the recent revolution of white people becoming a minority in parts of north america and therefore not having the control they once had – racism is still very prevalent in our society. i’m as white as white gets and i’ve endured racist treatment many times that i can recall. i am sure that as we continue to have more and more cultures coming into north america and population masses of latinos, asians, middle easterners, east indian/pakistani that overpower white people, racism will extend itself further as opposed to shrinking.

  23. Erik: Class division, elitism and segregation is not racism. There’s a huge difference. They shouldn’t even be associated.

  24. erik: I don’t know what to say to this. Are you so myopic that you really believe that things haven’t improved? No, I’m not a hundred years old, but I don’t need history books. Our parents still remember the days when black people in the South had their own schools, seats on buses, restaurants, dance clubs and drinking fountains. Black people would be lynched at the drop of a pin, and officials would turn a blind eye, or even lend encouragement. This was called “separate but equal.”
    Nothing like that persists in our society today! Of course there are still problems. People are locked into poorly paid jobs and taken advantage of. The recent scandals with the Walmart cleaning crews are a good example of this. Some people have few opportunities for escaping their poverty. There is still a huge separation in the US along racial lines, in terms of where people live, how much they make and what kinds of jobs they perform. But to throw up your hands and say that you’re sure it’s only going to get worse? How can you be sure? Why should we “suck it up”?
    Any human society can ask itself legitimate and important questions about the extent to which income inequality is acceptable and what sorts of opportunities for advancement should be available — how entrenched the class structure should be, because there’s always going to be some notion of class. These aren’t racial questions, and to argue that as long as there is inequality in society racism will persist and cannot be abated is just too fatalistic for me.
    Victor: I used to work as a bouncer at a very exclusive club. My coworkers and I took our jobs with a grain of salt, and didn’t get too wound up in it. There are definitely dicks out there, and it looks like you ran into some, but there are also people who are just trying to do a good job and not take too much shit from people.

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