As Patsy Cline sang: who’s sorry now?
The Lovely Lisa, doyenne of the Stately Manor, has served notice that she will have a “discussion” with your Squire this evening over a glass of wine.
That’s spelled “Uh, oh!”
Apparently your Humble Squire had pressed legal tender into the outstretched hand of a young man at the door who was claiming to raise money for a basketball charity. Without the services of an attorney and unable to insist (like Kavanaugh’s accuser) that this evening just won’t work, Blaska must submit to the inquisitor’s hostile questioning of an event that occurred days ago — if it happened at all, which I won’t admit.
The young man, it is alleged, was “of color” and had no paperwork identifying the alleged charity. What was your Squire supposed to do, issue a swift boot to his caboose accompanied by a choice imprecation of the four-letter variety?
Perhaps it is the Squire who is the victim here. Having been of the Democrat(ic) dissuasion in his dissolute youth and remaining stubbornly male and identifying as irredeemably white, the troubling prospect occurs that perhaps your Bloggeur suffers from residual liberal guilt.
Which is why Blaska will resort this evening, over sauvignon blanc, to the Iron Stache strategy: Hey, nobody’s perfect. Never promised you a rose garden. How ‘bout them Brewers! My glass is half empty.
This round-about prologue is how we back into an embarrassing affair hereabouts.
Is racism at work here?
Without a Republican opponent in November’s general election, Shelia Stubbs is the apparent successor to my state rep, Terese Berceau. Campaigning during the contested Democratic primary Ms. Stubbs was going door-to-door somewhere in the 77th District the evening of August 7.
One of my neighbors called the cops. Ms. Stubbs, if you did not know, is “of color.” The story even made Newsweek.
Is racism at work here? That’s being debated as we write over on the NextDoor social networking site for our neighborhood and those surrounding.
The dispatcher’s notes from the call for service do not reference race but say: “FULLY OCCUPIED SILVER 4 DR SEDAN NEWER MODEL – THINKS THEY ARE WAITING FOR DRUGS AT THE LOCAL DRUG HOUSE – WOULD LIKE THEM MOVED ALONG.”
Brian from Orchard Ridge asserts:
It is a race issue. There is an ingrained perception by white people that black people are categorically more dangerous and are up to no good. Nobody is saying that someone is a racist for calling the police, but the fact is that police calls on black people “acting suspiciously” far outweigh those of any other race here in Madison.
Tim from Greentree counters:
This is about neighbors being alert and looking out for suspicious activity. That’s subjective but better to be safe than sorry. That’s what public safety and police are for. To determine if there is anything and if not then to let people on their way. Not doing anything wrong, then why worry? Police aren’t the enemy, you know. They are here to help keep things safe and serve our communities. …
A car parked with people sitting in it in front of a house for an extended period of time is suspicious if someone doesn’t know why they’re there. No matter what color they are. I’m sure you’re aware that thieves, traveling in groups, ring doorbells to see if someone is home and then breaks in. That’s what the police do to protect everyone in our neighborhoods.
Suspect the unfamiliar
It’s a sad postscript of neighborhood crime that the unusual becomes suspect. Post 9/11, especially, we’re all told to keep our eyes open for the unusual, the out of place. A lady in Midvale Heights posts:
Cops being called on is traumatizing experience, especially when statistics shows it can end badly based on race. I doubt people are calling the cops on everyone walking through the neighborhood. It is the underlying racial/implicit bias of black people don’t belong in this neighborhood and black people are criminals.
Chris from Midvale Heights:
The white guy I called the police on went through my neighbor’s car while she was in and out of her garage. That was not a race issue. There was a guy in my front yard a few nights ago going around to the back.
Reginald from Dunn’s Marsh:
… it’s also possible that person was just worried when they saw an occupied car that had been there for a while. If there’s no actual evidence to suggest that racial bias was a factor, but that’s the narrative that you want to push anyways, then don’t be surprised when people don’t take it seriously when you try to point out actual legitimate examples of racism.
I’m not even saying that call to the police was necessary, as it clearly wasn’t. But there’s a difference between someone who is overly cautious or paranoid versus someone who’s a racist.
Margit from Midvale Heights:
As a white-haired Caucasian woman, I have done lots of canvassing, sometimes sitting in my car and reading lists. Nobody has ever, over many years, called the police on me. I don’t doubt that my skin color has protected me from suspicion.
Casting the second stone
Got to admit Blaska has darkened many of the doors of greater southwest Madison and parts of Fitchburg in his several quests for public office and never been confronted by responding gendarmes. Chased by dogs and two Progressive Dane supporters (in separate incidents), yes. But no cops. But then, he did not have an occupied car lurking at the ready, either.
Then again, he has never broken into anyone’s garage and stolen their bicycles, either. Or faked soliciting for a non-existent charity. But he has been accused of racism for asking cops be kept in our troubled high schools, for building a jail providing treatment services, and for requiring high standards of a fellow elected official who threatened county employees.
We don’t know if that particular, unnamed street actually does have an active drug house. We had one up the ways a bit on Hammersley road. It’s now been torn down.
Blaska’s Bottom Line: Experience is an imperfect teacher. That works both ways.