A Modest Proposal

Former Saturday Night Live actor Jay Pharoah was recently pulled over while jogging, by LA cops, as a suspect in a crime. Pharoah was let go after they Googled him, but. Given the state of this country, I have used my playwriting skills to come up with a script for white police officers, that could be read to a black person being pulled over in a car (or jogging or strolling or sunning or dining or reading or birding or breathing).

The script’s purpose is to spur a black driver to think about his or her response. The officer reads the script to the driver (or jogger or stroller or sun worshipper or diner or reader or birder or breather) and then proceeds with law enforcement. The goal is to save the lives of black people who behave themselves.

Officer: I have pulled you over because ____________________________. Here is what can happen now. 1) I may cite a vehicle malfunction, say a taillight not working, and issue you a ticket. Have a nice day. 2) Because you are black, and prone to pernicious behavior—my grandpa Will told me this—I may search you. 3) Because you are black, and like President Trump I am uneasy around blacks, particularly males, I may use a taser on you, teargas you, pepper spray you, rubber bullet you, with no warning. Or 4) Because you are black, and you believe black lives matter, when all lives matter, I may pull my gun and shoot you if you are making me too nervous or you are one of those mouthy, entitled middleclass or above people of color (coloreds). Please choose your option now, saving both of us time.

My proposal is fair and just. It allows time for a black suspect, even if not guilty of anything, to consider the consequences of questioning, challenging, mouthing off, greeting in a friendly manner, refusing to comply, complying, or pulling out a cellphone and filming. Thus, the officer is comfortable, does not bear the burden of racial unease, and he or she has options.

Following is yet another script, read by assisting officers to black bystanders who charge in to film the scene with cameras.

Assisting Officer: I am warning you to not interfere in my partner’s interrogation of a black suspect. Turn and walk away. Here is what can happen now. 1) This is none of your business, but I will make your action my business if you do not comply. 2) Because you are black, and prone to pernicious behavior—my grandma Sally told me this—I may search you. 3) Because you are black, and like President Trump I am uneasy around blacks, particularly males, and you are filming this, I may use a taser on you with no warning. Or: 4) Because you are black and you believe black lives matter, when all lives matter—even if you are not the suspect, but you are a busybody who won’t leave enough alone, and why didn’t you just stay in your own colored neighborhood—I may pull my gun and shoot you if you are making me too nervous or you are one of those mouthy, entitled people of color (colored). Please choose your option now, saving both of us time.

The above will save lives. Harmony will break out among the races, cue the “Hallelujah Chorus,” even though there is no such thing as race, but we as a society must keep promoting this trope, or else we’d all be equal and—.

 

 

 

 

 

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