Was the clerk prejudiced? You bet. But like it or not, the way we present ourselves to the world affects the way we are treated. Thus it has always been. I’m betting that few women today clutch their purses tighter when a well-groomed man, black or white, enters the elevator. A punk wearing his britches around his rump and telegraphing attitude?
Nothing is fair about profiling, but one’s treatment by a stranger is not always necessarily linked to one’s racial or ethnic history. Sometimes it’s just ... you.
I make these observations not to further exacerbate a problem but in the hope that we can stop this craziness before things escalate. The conversation-about-race that pundits keep insisting we need to have should end where it began. Maybe in his remarks on the 50th anniversary of the greatest peaceful demonstration in history, Obama can remind Americans that if we had sons and fathers, they’d look like Christopher Lane and Delbert Belton, as well as Trayvon Martin.
Victim in chief is no role for a president.
Kathleen Parker is a columnist with the Washington Post Writers Group. She can be reached at email@example.com.