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The richest girl in town.

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The sound of the beast. [Tuesday, Jan. 27th, 2009|01:09 pm]
The richest girl in town.
So, I've been having conversations, both online and off, about what things feel like since the inauguration. I mean, I'm pretty clear that at some point President Obama will do something particularly vile that will piss me off--and that's when I'll feel like he's really president. But so far, I'm satisfied, and that's really weird and disconcerting. It's Stockholm syndrome, on a national scale. It's the first decent relationship after a long and abusive one.

I'm still waiting for him to push me down the stairs.

---

As I've mentioned before, I listen to a lot of public radio. I wake up to KQED in the morning and often listen to it during the day and while driving. The other night, I'd pulled up in front of my apartment and was listening to the end of a segment on "Health Dialogs" about breast feeding policies in California hospitals when suddenly there was a bright light in my face. OPD had pulled up behind me. Annoyed, I rolled down the window as a cop walked up.

"What are you doing?"

"Sitting in my car. And?"

"Where do you live?"

"Here."

"Who are you staying with?"

"I live alone."

"How long have you lived here?"

"Over a year and a half. What is the problem?"

"I'm just doing my job."

"Harassing people in their cars in front of their apartments?"

"There have been robberies around here."

"So? I suspect that were I a white woman, you wouldn't have stopped."

"I didn't know you were a woman."

"Oh, so black men sitting in their cars outside their own homes are all criminals."

"ID, please."

"For what?"

"I need to see your ID."

"And I need your badge number."

He didn't give it to me. In fact, he just walked back to the patrol car without seeing my license and drove away.

Apparently black folks aren't allowed to have "driveway moments."

---

Oakland's police chief resigned this morning after yet another scandal, this one involving forged search warrants. I wish he'd take the cop who interrogated me the other night with him.

---

Speaking of driveway moments, I caught most of this interview Sunday night with Melissa "Melicious" Joulwan, author of Rollergirl: Totally True Tales from the Track: "She tells Anne Strainchamps why the sport's enjoying a renaissance, and why most of the players are feminists who enjoy playing with the sexual and warrior imagery."

It's worth a listen.
linkReply

Comments:
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[User Picture]From: rebirtha
2009-01-27 09:44 pm (UTC)
I just have to say that what that man did was disgusting, but of course you already know that. I just wasn't sure there was enough disgust on his head without my two cents.
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[User Picture]From: fightingwords
2009-01-27 10:45 pm (UTC)
I can't wait until I've finally honed my pyrokinesis skills.
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[User Picture]From: lula_neith
2009-01-27 09:45 pm (UTC)
OK. So you can't sit outside your own HOME o_0. Yeah. Too bad you weren't able to get that badge number. Yay for "Rollergirl"! I'll have to check that out in a bit...
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[User Picture]From: colubra
2009-01-27 09:52 pm (UTC)

A+++ would read again. In fact, did read again.

So m4dh4tt3r and I were both just reading this post, and had a conversation that was quite complimentary to you.

The basic gist of what we agreed was that as a pair of white males, we love reading your blog firstly because we (as liberal white males) understand a basic level of what you're frustrated with about a patriarchal white-o-centric system. Secondly, and more importantly: because you have such a talent with describing your own emotions and your experiences, we come away from your posts with a new and fuller appreciation of why you're bothered by these things- you clearly communicate to us things that as a white person or a male person are fairly outside of our normative viewpoints. Thank you!

Additionally, my opinion's that the Obama 'something particularly vile' is going to be on the scale of 'weren't you getting rid of "don't ask, don't tell", jerkface?!?' rather than '...we're invading ARGENTINA, what is WRONG with you???'. Still a disappointment, still a shortfall of where we expected our new president to go- but not a disappointment that's going to be a monument to poor planning, insane spending, and paranoid gibbon-noises.
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[User Picture]From: fightingwords
2009-01-27 11:17 pm (UTC)

Re: A+++ would read again. In fact, did read again.

Thank you--both of you.

Yeah, the scale of "particularly vile" will surely be different over the next four years. But it's so hard to believe that right now. This really is some crazy post-traumatic shit I'm feeling right now.
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[User Picture]From: fightingwords
2009-01-27 11:04 pm (UTC)
It's at the point now where, if you're going to arrest me or tase me or shoot me in the back while I lie face-down on the ground ANYway, I'm not going without a fight.
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[User Picture]From: black_pearl_10
2009-01-27 10:13 pm (UTC)
Apparently black folks aren't allowed to have "driveway moments."

No, we're not.

I had the same incident happen to me when I lived in Fremont. Except this one was a rent-a-cop, and he backed the fuck away apologizing when he caught the anger rising in my voice as I told him that I was listening to the radio in front of my own fucking garage.

Never saw the bastard again.

Maybe I need to sit in your driveway.
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[User Picture]From: fightingwords
2009-01-27 11:03 pm (UTC)
No, but see--you are a black man. You would've gotten hauled in for sure.
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[User Picture]From: jetspeaks
2009-01-27 10:13 pm (UTC)
I know that's not an Oakland-specific thing, but OPD make me sick, and this is just another great time to remember that. :(

Pity it's so hard to see the badge number in the dark, too.
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[User Picture]From: fightingwords
2009-01-27 11:06 pm (UTC)
The OPD is full of shit and has been forever and a day. This is one of the reasons I voted against NN, the local measure that would have given them more money to hire even more shady cops. This is a clear case of more money, more problems--for Oakland's citizens.
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[User Picture]From: sparklydevil
2009-01-27 10:33 pm (UTC)
man, that guy needs a nightstick to the taint - STAT.
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[User Picture]From: fightingwords
2009-01-27 11:07 pm (UTC)
STAT
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[User Picture]From: unwoman
2009-01-27 10:38 pm (UTC)
I can't believe he said he didn't know you were a woman, as if the fact that he only negatively profiled Black *men* should satisfy you.
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[User Picture]From: fightingwords
2009-01-27 11:03 pm (UTC)
I mean!
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[User Picture]From: ultraminx
2009-01-27 10:40 pm (UTC)
"And I need your badge number."

Brava! Well done.
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[User Picture]From: fightingwords
2009-01-27 11:07 pm (UTC)
Thanks. Might not have been the wisest choice, but I'm sick of this.
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[User Picture]From: haddayr
2009-01-27 10:44 pm (UTC)
w.
t.
f.

WOW.

What amazes me is not that he shone his light in your face and started in on you; white people are dumbass racist motherfuckers.

What amazes me is that when you obviously belonged there and obviously weren't frightened he PUSHED ON AHEAD and demanded your I.D.

This means, of course, that the culture he works in allows for if not encourages this kind of bullshit.
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[User Picture]From: fightingwords
2009-01-27 11:12 pm (UTC)
This means, of course, that the culture he works in allows for if not encourages this kind of bullshit.

Of course.

There's another post/poem/something-or-other brewing in my head about how this kind of law enforcement is in part the result of gentrification and about how there's an analogy to be drawn to increased fire safety and animal control services due to the wilderness-urban interface.
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[User Picture]From: karnythia
2009-01-27 10:53 pm (UTC)
I feel like when Obama does something wrong it won't begin to compare to Bush so I won't be able to get too upset with him in this post-dictator framework. As for the cop? I love that you asked for his badge number.
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[User Picture]From: fightingwords
2009-01-27 11:15 pm (UTC)
Yeah, that's my take. I mean, the bar has been so lowered that Obama'd have to really go out of his way to even come close to fucking things up so badly as Bush did in the last eight years.

As for the po po, I'm just... done. If you're gonna shoot me, get it over with, but I'm not going quietly.
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[User Picture]From: ubiquity75
2009-01-27 11:09 pm (UTC)
What a fucking asshole.
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[User Picture]From: fightingwords
2009-01-27 11:12 pm (UTC)
That sums it up pretty well, yes.
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[User Picture]From: rednfiery
2009-01-27 11:12 pm (UTC)
i'm glad he had the sense(?) to leave you alone and just drive away. could it be you actually dredged up some *shame* in him? honestly, my own stand-up-to-the-police moments haven't gone so well!

i'm truly sorry you had to put up with that crap.
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[User Picture]From: fightingwords
2009-01-27 11:13 pm (UTC)
Shame, or fear of reprisal. Whatever's clever.
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[User Picture]From: blaugirl
2009-01-27 11:18 pm (UTC)
Oakland Police are the worst when it comes to profiling. When I got thrown in jail a year and a half ago it was because some Oakland cops saw that I had a pink car and were certain that I was up to no good, so they invented a reason to pull me over.

Thankfully the case was thrown out when my lawyer pointed all this out, but it doesn't justify the 36 or so hours I spent jammed in a tiny cell with 13 other stinky women, or the $1k that my parents had to put up to bail me out.

And then there was the time that they pulled me over and told me it was because they "wanted to make sure it was a woman driving the car".

WTF is right. So sorry that you had to deal with that bullshit.
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[User Picture]From: fightingwords
2009-01-27 11:22 pm (UTC)
And then there was the time that they pulled me over and told me it was because they "wanted to make sure it was a woman driving the car".

WHUT
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[User Picture]From: whittles
2009-01-27 11:18 pm (UTC)
I love that you asked for his badge number.
I'm pissed that you had to.
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[User Picture]From: fightingwords
2009-01-27 11:27 pm (UTC)
Maybe this is why I can't have all those dispassionate, abstract conversations about racism people keep asking for--there are all these hideous, concrete examples getting in the way.
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[User Picture]From: jjodelle
2009-01-27 11:18 pm (UTC)
Wow...I just had a weird incident this morning. blackestsheep and I were sitting in our car at about 8:30 this morning. We had an appointment and had arrived a few minutes early, we decided to park on the street instead of paying to park in a parking garage. After about five minutes, a white lady from the house across the street came out and started taking our picture, then proceeds to write down our license plate number. blackestsheep got out of the car and asked her if he could help her with anything and she responded, "I just need to get your plate number."

"Apparently black folks aren't allowed to have "driveway moments."
...or ever sit in their parked cars for a few minutes...it makes everyone nervous.
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[User Picture]From: fightingwords
2009-01-27 11:29 pm (UTC)
O HAI, DON'T YOU JUST LOVE THIS POST-RACIAL SOCIETY WE'RE LIVING IN NOW THAT OBAMA GOT ELECTED!!!!!11!!1
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[User Picture]From: raychoo
2009-01-27 11:29 pm (UTC)
Gah. Asshole. I am so glad you asked for his badge number, and even more glad that he drove away without fucking with you more.
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[User Picture]From: fightingwords
2009-01-27 11:31 pm (UTC)
Yeah, in retrospect, I guess that could've gone either way, but I'd do the same thing again
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[User Picture]From: fightingwords
2009-01-29 12:38 am (UTC)
I only found out that I don't have to give any identification a couple weeks ago--folks from the National Lawyers Guild were out passing around little crib sheets about rights during demonstrations when I was a security monitor at the second big Oscar Grant march and rally.
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[User Picture]From: skywardprodigal
2009-01-27 11:52 pm (UTC)
Ugh.

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[User Picture]From: _swallow
2009-01-28 12:11 am (UTC)
You are one of my heroes.
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[User Picture]From: wordweaverlynn
2009-01-28 12:17 am (UTC)
I feel like a feral cat shying away from politicians. After eight years of Bush, I'm expecting incompetence, stupidity, and loathsomeness, so I feel confused when Obama keeps his promises and does the right thing.

I keep being surprised by things we should be able to take for granted in a president -- he's honest! he's competent! -- and things that are not all that unusual, like being geeky, devoted to his wife and kids, and generally a decent, thoughtful human being.
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[User Picture]From: elusis
2009-01-28 12:40 am (UTC)
Why am I not surprised.

I'm real glad that didn't end with you getting shot in the face or stuck in jail.

Wonder if the FBI's investigations will make any difference...
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[User Picture]From: fa_ikaika
2009-01-28 12:59 am (UTC)

a note from the other Oak/Auck land

Well done L. Fuckin' goon.

The NZ police in Auckland in particular are now profiling Asians. Particularly young men in smallish cars. I got pulled over once by a "random" road block. Cop says to me, "Don't I know you?" I didn't have the brains to just be polite so I ended up using my full withering RP British accent: "Really, constable?" [pause ... *Ben Kingsley face*] "I have absolutely no idea how that could remotely be possible." Cop pulls a face like someone stuck a lemon segment up his butt and waves me on.

Classism might suck but Ima use it on you if you think you can frak with people going about their lawful business.

assholes.

However, it's small potatoes compared to all the shit you all have to go through in Oakland.

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[User Picture]From: aefre
2009-01-28 01:48 am (UTC)
You are my favorite person of the day for this!
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[User Picture]From: abostick59
2009-01-28 02:06 am (UTC)
Obama's down-the-stairs moment for me came while he was still just a senator, when he voted for the law granting immunity to telecom companies for collaborating government lawbreaking.
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[User Picture]From: fightingwords
2009-01-28 02:17 am (UTC)
True--I was pretty pissed off about that one.
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