From: Those Who Can See
In the outcry following the acquittal of Floridian George Zimmerman in the shooting death of an Afro teenager (Trayvon Martin), many in the black community have voiced their displeasure.
Canadian graduate student Matthew Simmermon-Gomes is one of those:
What I do know is what it’s like to be a Trayvon Martin. To be suspect. I do know what it’s like to be followed by staff in a nice clothing store; to be stopped by police for walking down the street; to endure the thousand micro-aggressions and the hundred fearful looks, the patronising astonishment coupled with quiet indignation at my education or erudition. I know, in other words, what it is to be a person of colour in a world that privileges whiteness.
While we must take this nearly Euro-looking, young man from Ottawa at his word — we are left a bit bemused — that despite his ‘education’ and ‘erudition,’ he is flatly unaware of basic statistics and probability.
We all live our lives based on probabilities. This gentleman’s Afro father, for example, got itchy feet and decided to abandon life in beautiful but tiny Antigua (then under British rule).
Easy: Statistically speaking — Euro-governed countries provide a better quality of life in nearly every way — rule of law, lack of corruption, solid infrastructure, plentiful white-collar jobs, generous welfare state, a cornucopia of material comforts. Mr Gomes took a chance–and was right. Can we fault him (for) that?
Antigua or Canada….Decisions, decisions…
We can’t speak for Canada, but chance is also the reason U.S. Whites lock their car doors, clutch their purses, and cross the street in the presence of Blacks.
There is a folk knowledge culled from 400 years of disproportionate black crime in North America. It can be seen in the statistics, in the anecdotes, in the earliest colonial writings.
Statistical probability is the wellspring of stereotypes. It is what pushes us to avoid snakes, spiders, and scorpions; it is why Swiss clocks, German cars, and Jewish lawyers are so sought after; it is why the global South continually tries to emigrate to the global North.
Past performance is no guarantee of future success, warn the experts … but from our experience, we know it usually is.
So in response to Mr. Matthew Simmermon-Gomes, ‘Why are Afros profiled everywhere they go?’ is a question that has concrete answers. Here they are….read MORE.
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