Jamelle Bouie’s TV Moving Dilemma
Jamelle Bouie has an extra television and decided to give it away for free. So, he’s clearly privileged. Except for this:
As I was getting ready to go, it occurred to me that this would be a terrible idea. Not because I would have been carrying a TV at 10pm down a quiet city street—I actually feel pretty safe doing that. But because I would have been a black dude—in a hoodie, no less!—carrying a nice-looking TV down a quiet city street at 10pm.
What’s more, it’s a street well-patrolled by police officers—I didn’t want to play with the odds of being stopped on the street, and having to explain where I got the TV from. After all, there was no way for me to quickly prove that the TV (formerly) belonged to me. It’s not as if I had a bill of sale, and telling a cop that it’s “for a friend” is a sure way of spending the next few hours in a holding cell.
I have no idea what would have happened if I decided to walk a nice TV three blocks down the street. It’s entirely possible that the police would have left me alone. But I couldn’t count on that. Calling my [white] friend, and making a different arrangement, was the only prudent thing to do.
What does it mean to be privileged? It means not having to think about any of this, ever.
Considering that a black kid in a hoodie carrying nothing more than a bag of Skittles can find himself dead, thinking about things like this is indeed prudent. And, no, my caucasian self would never have considered the implications of walking down the street with a TV were I giving one away.