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What Happens When A White Guy And A Black Guy Both Try To Break Into Cars In Broad Daylight?

By Amanda Marcotte
Thursday, February 20, 2014 13:03 EDT
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Via Gawker, this video above shows what happens when two guys, one white and one black, stand on a busy street, trying to jimmy open a locked car. It’s depressingly predictable. The white guy stands there for a half hour, with the alarm going off, and no one seems to care. The black guy gets arrested in two minutes.

The lesson here is clear: White people are fools if they actually pay for cars.

Just kidding! (White people, please don’t steal cars just because you can.) The real lesson here, of course, is that stereotypes about what a “criminal” looks like go a long way towards determining who gets arrested for what and when. Black people and and white people use marijuana, for instance, at roughly the same rates, but black people are many times more likely to get arrested for marijuana. I have no doubt that the racists online are already trying to discredit this video and suggest there is no possible way that racial stereotypes—which they are interested in denying exist—played a role, but the marijuana statistics are much harder to get around. I’ve had to jimmy open a car I locked my keys inside a couple of time—yes, even while living in a “bad” neighborhood—and not only did the police not bother me, but it never occurred to me that they would. When you’re white, people are happy to assume that you are clearly trying to get into your own car. It’s kind of alarming, actually, because there’s always a chance that the person jimmying open the car is, you know, trying to steal it.

Needless to say, this particular white privilege also means you get to go to convenience stores and purchase stuff—even while listening to loud rap music!—with some crazy dude shooting you dead because he knows he’ll probably get away with it. Unlike being able to fuck with a locked car without the cops at least asking you what you’re doing, this, however, should be a basic human right.

Amanda Marcotte
Amanda Marcotte
Amanda Marcotte is a freelance journalist born and bred in Texas, but now living in the writer reserve of Brooklyn. She focuses on feminism, national politics, and pop culture, with the order shifting depending on her mood and the state of the nation.
 
 
 
 
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