Remember that time Reese Witherspoon threw a tantrum when Georgia police arrested her husband for drunk driving? Well the police didn’t know who she was so she got arrested too, and rightfully so. The whole thing was a big embarrassment, but it wasn’t dangerous. She didn’t get hurt and, probably, didn’t expect that she might get hurt at any point during her outburst. This is an example of entitlement at work.
This summer’s events in Ferguson, Mo., remind us that the black experience with police in this country is not the same as the white experience. And even though studies show that people generally recognize that our criminal justice system needs reform, when structural racism is highlighted as one of the reasons for it white people are actually more inclined to believe the system works just fine.
Actor Wendell Pierce appeared on Real Time with Bill Maher and shared his own story of what happened to him when he was pulled over in Louisiana.
“The fact is,” he started, “The most dangerous moment in my life is when the police officer pulls me over. Every black man in America knows that when that happens there’s actually a possibility his life may come to an end and that shouldn’t happen.”
The system is not fine.