Hey cops! Do you know what year it is?

I picked up a woman today and we were stopped at a red light next to a police cruiser, a K-9 unit.

The red lights in this part of the world are ludicrously long so we had ample time to witness what happened next.

The dog in the K-9 unit started barking out the passenger side grate and the otherwise open window. I looked to my right to see what he was barking about.

There was a muscular Black man walking in the parking lot adjacent to a martial arts studio.

The dog kept barking. My passenger wondered what was going on. I replied that I had a dark suspicion.

That suspicion was confirmed as the dog stopped barking when the man walked behind a truck, then resumed barking when he reappeared on the other side of the truck.

Last I saw, he had turned towards the cruiser with his palms facing forward, his hand away from his body, clearly aware that the dog was barking at him. This did not mollify the dog in the slightest. The cop made no attempt to restrain the dog’s barking and didn’t even roll up the window.

I told my passenger, “Racist cop, racist dog.”

I am intentionally withholding identifying details to protect the innocent. Which most certainly does not include that cop or his dog. But this was in a suburban area of Allegheny County.

I have been absolutely shocked by the racism that, as a critical theorist, I have induced from artifacts such as obviously redlined neighborhoods, the nearly all white Memorial Day banners commemorating war dead (out of the hundreds or thousands I’ve seen, those honoring Blacks probably numbered less than ten), the artillery pieces scattered all around but especially around those obviously redlined communities, and general gun nuttery here.[1] For all of that, there was, until today, the possibility that more benign explanations existed.

My mother did warn me about this. But it has been some time since she was here; I thought surely that progress has been made, that surely people would know how to behave themselves. After all, this is 2019.

No. My mother was right. And there is absolutely no excuse.

  1. [1]David Benfell, “‘Gun rights’ as white supremacism,” Not Housebroken, August 4, 2019, https://disunitedstates.org/2019/08/04/gun-rights-as-white-supremacism/; David Benfell, “They’re taking our guns away!” Not Housebroken, August 10, 2019, https://disunitedstates.org/2019/08/10/theyre-taking-our-guns-away/; David Benfell, “One way out of meeting that man,” Irregular Bullshit, August 21, 2019, https://disunitedstates.com/2019/08/21/one-way-out-of-meeting-that-man/