There are always some things that happen in life that don’t really surprise me anymore.
I remember going to a Subway Series game in 2007 with a group of six people where, in a post-9/11 world, it’s become customary to receive some sort of pat-down at the gate when entering the stadium. My five friends went through first, being groped by the heavyset man and eventually being given access to the cathedral hellhole known as Shea Stadium.
Finally it was my turn. So I spread my legs to shoulder width and extended my arms outward as if I were posing as the Vitruvian man. The heavyset gentleman, in all his infinite authority – what, with the bright yellow pullover screaming “SECURITY” on both sides and his Toys ‘R’ Us walkie-talkie – proceeded with the pat-down. First, my sides. Next my pockets. And, finally, he slid down one leg, then the other, checked my ankles and asked me to remove my Nikes. Upon further inspection, the portly fellow agreed that I, now, was indeed free to enter the ballpark.
Oddly, though, my friends all had this surprised look on their face: “they checked your ankles and asked you to take off your shoes?” “Yeah,” I replied, “why?” Apparently this didn’t happen to them, only me – the one person with a brown complexion in a group of six.
I suppose none of this seemed weird to me at first. As a brown man living in a post-9/11 America, I suppose I’m used to this sort of behavior – being singled out. That, right there, is the main problem with this – I shouldn’t be used to, what amounts to, racial profiling. It wasn’t until my friends had pointed out that I had undergone a far more thorough pat-down than they had, that I had come to realize, holy shit that fat fuck was racist! To be clear, I’m not actually calling the GED-graduate security guard at Shea Stadium a racist, I’m only stating that he racially profiled me. Which, while they aren’t synonymous, aren’t all that different, either.