Eating TV Dinners During Racial Zoo-Keeping
On top of America’s legacy of racism there’s nothing more upsetting than the absence of guilt, from the racists of course. Not even the first sentence describes the severity of our situation, especially when there are tv shows, Bait Car for instance, that broadcast the hatred of Black youth. Every time I’ve watched Bait Car, a reality series that shadows police in their bait care operations, I’ve witnessed the perversion of innocence through successful set-ups. The living room screen reveals to us a sorry moment: this is a point in time in which we see injustices against us and we won’t even scratch a finger across our foreheads, at least that’s a “startin’ sumthin’” gesture.
Guilt, as we would want it and thought had, arises as a natural emotional response to any occasion inspired by ill will. In other words, we once believed in the humyn capacity to automatically know, to access a universal instinct that summons bad feelings before we act evilly. Too bad Darwin never included values and affect in his theories of evolution; considering, the matured indifference of the police institution about its profiling, harassment and brutality.
Returning to the issue of Bait Car, all officers claim to care about getting car thieves off the street, but in actuality they are capturing youth of color. There are neighborhoods with high rates of car theft (Black and Latin@ communities), in which police departments leave empty cars, with doors wide open and keys in the ignition (a “good look,” in thought/fantasy, for poor people). The operation ends when the serial car thief (which is really any random person of color) jumps in and rides off, but only for a few blocks since they have remotes that shut the car down. And off to prison every victim goes, defeated by maxims/rules conceived by neutral subjects: “if it’s not yours its theft”.
There is not neutral standpoint, especially when a circumstance of advantage is presented to a disadvantaged community. Yes there may be a trial, but my so called resolve would have to make the implication that the court can perceive bait car operations as conniving. All the young people I’ve seen go through the system, as of consequence to Bait Car, are innocent against an institution of ulterior motives, that of imprisoning colorful bodies. The fact that Bait Car is offered for entertainment, despite its performance as a series of urban fables, indicates the heavy amount of mystification that submerges Black youth’s space.