Humiliation and DegradationBy Lora Harrington-Pride
Here is another vignette illustrating the impact that racism has on our friends and neighbors and fellow citizens.
Ten o’clock at night in Alta Loma, California, three teenagers found themselves waiting at the light next to a police car.
The officers eyed the dark-skinned Black driver and when the light changed the officer pulled them over.
They looked inside the car and saw the two other White teenaged boys. One officer questioned the White boys, asking for identification.
The other officer made the Black teenager get out of the car, spread his legs, place his hands on the car, as he frisked him down. He was then made to sit on the curb while they made a radio call about the identifications of the three teens.
The two White boys sat helplessly in the car, looking at their Black friend with whom they had grown up from kindergarten, sitting on the curb, head bowed.
The teens were finally released, where they drove away in silence. The two White boys, alarmed, puzzled and filled with guilt, told their White and their Black mother, my daughter, what had happened, and asked, “Why?”
My daughter stood with tears in her eyes – silent.
Their father put his head down and walked away. Both parents knew their sons knew why.
My brother, who had won the music award his senior year from Timkin Vocational High School as a “Basso Profundo,” was living on Potomac in an apartment off Adams Blvd. in Los Angeles.
The other tenants in the building did not like him practicing his vocals, and they really did not like opera, his music.
He solved the problem by walking along Adams Blvd., at about 9pm, each night, singing on the empty street.
After the 3rd time being stopped, made to spread his legs and being frisked by the police, with his palms on the squad car, - he stopped. His music was not worth the humiliation and degradation.
This piece is a continuation of the saga of the impact of racism on daily life and aspirations. The previous episode occurred in a department store.