Saturday, December 20, 2008

NWSF Bullet: Profiling Possibility or Paranoia ?

I got "the TRUTH Mobile" inspected today and was driving off the dealership lot when I noticed that some knucklehead, who was probably in a hurry to go Christmas shopping, forgot to put my inspection decal back on the windshield.

I did a Dukes of Hazzard U-turn in the middle in the street and made a beeline to the service attendant.

"Yo, dude. Ya'll forgot my sticker," I said thinking about the extra minutes I would have to waste on a Saturday morning.

The attendant informed me that as of Nov.1, NC doesn't require inspection decals, anymore.

"So, instead of forkin' over the 30 dollars I just paid, I could have just yanked my old sticker off?"

Nope. All your inspection info is now in a data base tied to your license plate.

The repair dude had to spend 15 minutes convincing me that he was not just covering up for an absent minded coworker.

Finally, he gave me a copy of the new regulation and told me to keep it in my glove compartment. (Just in case.)

My last question was, "Do the police know about this sudden change in regulation?"

He said that they "should" and I thanked him and drove off, slowly. Very, very slowly.

Most people will consider this real convenient. But for a black male, the implications are frightening. I mean, contrary to popular belief, racial profiling is still an issue.

Now, "5-0," will be running my license plates for no apparent reason, every time I venture into the section of town with the manicured lawns and the white picket fences. So much for probable cause.

I can see it now.

I'm rollin' down Country Club Road late one night and get pulled over by the cops.

"What seems to be the problem officer?"

"First, we noticed that you didn't have an inspection sticker and when we ran your tags...."

I rode home thinking about the "freed slaves" who had to carry around "freedom papers" back in the 1800's. Black folks have always had to have our paperwork in order.

Maybe, all those black history books that I read have made me paranoid.

But then I looked in my rear view mirror and noticed a police cruiser had been tailing me for the last couple of blocks...