Understanding policing and white privilege

I was stopped by a police officer once, just walking around. He asked me if I was someone else. I was not. The person he was looking for has a different hair color than I do, has a different build than I do, is older than me, and we really do not look alike.

I was not upset. By God’s grace, I treated the officer with respect, even though stopping and questioning me was more than a little silly. We should be respectful in such situations, especially as Christians in submission to Romans 13. As an agent of the state, the officer was given authority by God.

But I also understand how my position in society colors my perceptions. I am a solidly middle class white dude. Back then, I was a solidly middle class white college student. I do not have any reason to be distrustful of police. I have never been stopped for driving while white. I have… wait for it… white privilege.

I also understand how frustrating it can be for blacks stopped by police. You can cite the statistics about how blacks are not killed by police more than whites, but you are missing the point. It is not just use of force. It is more than that. It is being stopped for “driving while black.” It is being viewed with suspicion if you’re in the “wrong” (mostly white) neighborhood. It is stop and frisk. It is being followed in a store. It is being treated like you are doing something wrong. In short, it is racial profiling.

This is what we as conservatives, especially white middle class conservatives, do not get. If we are going to understand the frustration so many blacks have with police, we need to start getting it.