May 22, 2007

Don't ask for IDs or anything else -- it's racist

At Harvard, the Black Men's Forum (BMF) and the Association of Black Harvard Women (ABHW) were playing dodgeball and flag football in an area known as the "Quad." Apparently, the noise level (among other things) irritated some students trying to study and eventually the campus police were called.

Uh-oh.

Bryan C. Barnhill II '08, president of the BMF, said that "the call to HUPD was 'disturbing' because of the 'assumption that we didn't belong there.'" Barnhill and ABHW President Anjelica M. Kelly '09 both said they felt racism was involved in Saturday's events.

It wouldn't be an American campus, now, if this assumption wasn't the case, now, would it?

Let's see -- the campus cops asked if the group had permission to use the grounds they were using (permission they needed), asked to see some IDs, and then asked the students to keep the noise down. Then the cops left! This = racism???

Some residents complained that the students were playing on roped-off sections of the Quad lawn, where the grass was being regrown for graduation ceremonies. Others were angry over the fact that the noise came in the middle of reading period, as students studied for exams and worked on papers.

What were these folks thinking? Reading and studying for exams? Working on papers? Who cares! How dare they insist on a bit of quiet in a university setting, let alone from members of a minority group! (Anyone remember the infamous University of Pennsylvania "water buffalo" incident?)

Please. I suppose those studying should have settled for the noise as opposed to being accused of racism. This reminds me of what I heard on the Michael Smerconish radio show the other morning: The guy who worked at that Circuit City that thought something was "fishy" about what some of those Fort Dix terror suspects wanted to copy via DVD was worried about reporting his suspicions because he thought people would think it "racist." He told a co-worker:

"Dude, I just saw some really weird s***." I don't know what to do. Should I call someone or is that being racist?"

Is this what we've come to? Afraid of reporting something because it might be viewed as racist, insensitive or ... worse?

Sheesh. Look, my senior year at UD some of my quad-mates in our Pencader dorm decided to throw a party. I didn't really want to open my room to strangers, but nevertheless I decided to invite my own friends to the party -- in my room only. At one point in the evening the UD police showed up because -- surprise! -- the party got too loud. (Not in my room, but other rooms in the quad.) A cop knocked on my door, asked to see everyone's ID (I made sure everyone in my room was over 21) and then he told me everyone would have to leave. In another room, one of my quad-mates got a little miffed with the cops , and I assisted in settling him down. One of the police shook my hand and thanked me, said "goodnight," and I thought that was that. Two days later I got a university "summons" in the mail informing that I would have to appear at a university hearing about my [supposed] "violations" of university policy. Stunned, I asked one my buddies, and an attendee at the party, to join me.

At the hearing, none of the cops who were present the evening of the party were there. In their place was a small woman officer who read their report. Nowhere in the report were the facts that 1) everyone in my room was over 21 years of age, and 2) how the one officer thanked me for my assistance in settling down that quad-mate, and for helping to disperse the party. My buddy affirmed all of this, and we both asked why weren't we informed of our campus violations that very evening if indeed we were engaging in such violations? The stand-in cop had no answer for that or any of our other questions, so, as a consequence, two days later I received word in the mail that all "charges" against me had been dropped.

What was I supposed to think here? Everyone (and everyone) with me and my room was perfectly in order and one of the cops showed his gratitude for my assistance in calming down an irate student and for dispersing the party. Then I get brought up on charges of violating campus policy?? If I didn't know better, I'd say those campus cops were engaging CLASSISM -- they thought I was probably some rich kid from north Jersey who drove a BMW or something, and they "were gonna show ME!" But hey, I went to the hearing, was polite, stated and then proved my case, and then was happy with the outcome. Case closed.

Posted by Hube at May 22, 2007 05:53 PM | TrackBack

Comments  (We reserve the right to edit and/or delete any comments. If your comment is blocked or won't post, e-mail us and we'll post it for you.)

The fault, Hube, is with those who were disturbed by the noise yet chickened out on calling the campus police out of fear of being charged a racist. The only way this will turn around is for folks to stand up when their rights are being violated. Let the violators play their race cards. Your example of polite self-defense is a good, practical solution. That said, I can understand the sensitivity of the perpetrators, as we all know well that profiling still occurs, not only by law enforcement but also by you and me. We must continue to fight that undeserved impulse!

Posted by: Perry Hood at May 22, 2007 06:14 PM

Come on Hube? They did not even start making BMW's until way after you were out of college.

You are what 65? Heh.

Posted by: AJ Lynch at May 22, 2007 07:53 PM

Was that the party were I brought that blonde chick and........must have been!

Posted by: schmitt at May 22, 2007 09:15 PM

Hey catch the name of the president of the Black Students group...Bryan C. Barnhill II. That suggests there is plenty of racial progress going on if he has such a waspy moniker.

And IMHO, I don't blame them for getting pissed because the white dweebs called the cops. They should have just asked them to keep the noise down cause they were studying but no they were so cowardly, they had to call the cops.

Posted by: AJ Lynch at May 23, 2007 11:51 AM

Good point, AJ!

Posted by: Perry Hood at May 23, 2007 01:00 PM

AJ: That is indeed a fair point; however, look what happened to the dude at Penn. Maybe those studying figured they'd get the brunt of any "racism" hassles personally, so they figured why bother -- let the cops handle it.

And as I recall, no one asked our quad to keep the noise down. The cops just showed up.

Posted by: Hube at May 23, 2007 03:21 PM

My sophomore year of college, I lived on the 4th floor of Brown, which only had 5 rooms and 9 people total. One Saturday night, we were all hanging out in one guy's room (he had the TV and the recliners) and an RA came in. The room "owner" concerned and asked if we were being too loud. The RA responded, "What do I care? Everyone on your floor's in here."

Not that we were being really loud, but that's the way things should in general be handled. An RA stopping in for just a few minutes can do a lot to negate a party from getting out of hand. Criminal charges, even university judicial system charges, are almost never needed for a dorm party if everyone does their job to begin with.

Posted by: Paul Smith at May 23, 2007 03:38 PM