Discriminate This

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Discriminate This

Exhilaration vigorously pulsates through every vein and artery as kimosabi, a sturdy and trustworthy steed, slogged through the falling snow beneath me one late mid afternoon. Riding headlong towards that grand City Center mall, by no means did my focus waver from the mission at hand, a mission of grave importance. A mission, to which I was called to purchase a new white dress shirt to go with a classy light grey suit I planned to wear to the company Christmas party that very evening. Just as I was passing St.Vincent high school on Kingsway Avenue, I heard the distinct wail of a police cruiser’s siren and with a glance realization sets in that it was I who was the quarry for this metal monstrosity of the law. So I pull over near a bus stop where a very attractive woman was clutching at her long dark coat in an attempt to stave off the season’s sharp bite. With an all too familiar question in mind, my gaze goes from the woman to the cruiser coming to a crunching halt in the fresh snow, “What on earth now?” …

Ya that’s right, if you and I’m sure a few of you do, knew how Edmonton’s so-called finest can be more foe than friend, than you’d understand my automated response to their unexpected presence. So as the officer gets out of his office on wheels he puts his hand on his gun and bellows “Get off the bike, put your hands behind your head and get down on your knees!”… (As you may have gathered my trusty steed was no horse, and don’t worry, I did not name a mountain bike kimosabi, I just thought it would be a nice opening…lol) ......

Well, immediately it becomes clear that it’s serious and obviously he has the wrong guy because I haven’t warranted this kind of attention in years. In this young officers current state though, I was not about to protest his commands so compliance follows. Yet even as my knees were set in the wet frigid snow, silent giggles begin to arise from within at the hilarity of the mistaken identity when all of a sudden the officer grabs and pushes me forward, slamming my face into the thickness of the white covered ground. He then forces his knee into the back of my neck, bringing his full weight to bear as he commences to bind me with cold steel bracelets and asks, “Where did you just come from?” A little angry and blowing the snow away from my face I calmly reply “Home” while at the same time pondering whether or not there will be an apology at the end of all this…eh, one can always hope.    
The officer goes on to explain that a man fitting my description had just threatened a restaurant owner down the street with a knife. Ah, that explains it was my thought and even though I knew it would do no good, the phrase “It wasn’t me, you’ve got the wrong guy” escapes my mouth. Naturally he retorts “That’s what they all say”. I then notice the woman once more as the officer picks me up out of the snow, and now she has a look of bewilderment on her face which then recalls to me that familiar sense of amusement. He does a quick search of my person, patting down my pockets and then puts me in the car saying that we were just going over to the restaurant to get identified by the restaurant owner.
So far so good and normal considering the circumstances but then he goes on to ask me what I did with the knife, what was my problem with the owner and why I did it. I was beginning to wonder about that motto, innocent until proven guilty because no matter how many times I told him I didn't have a knife, that he had the wrong Indian wearing a long dark blue winter coat and riding a red and black mountain bike in the dead of winter, it mattered none. At one point, I even had to tell him to just shut up, do your job and let’s get to the restaurant so we could get this over with, but he kept needling me saying that he knows I did it. Now please, I’ve seen my share of “Cops” and even come in contact with some real and good cops, so I can understand some of the games they have to play in order to get to the truth of the matter. But this was pure and unadulterated discrimination hate and ignorance, believe me I know the difference.
This took place about three years ago while I was working for Auburn Rentals, a trailer manufacturer where I ran the framing dept. of their 2nd shop in a hanger at the municipal airport. Yet another story in of itself which has a little bearing and similarity to this one, but let’s move on… So we get to our destination and I spend about 20 min. in the car outside the Chinese dinner before the officer returns. Sliding into the drivers’ seat he appeared none to happy with that grimacing mug of his, and knowing the outcome I brazenly ask “What’s the verdict, am I still guilty?” The officer, unwilling to recant his earlier statements, replies that they could not positively identify me, that the witnesses were “unsure” if I was the knife wielding menace or not. Allow me to ask the question. Are any of you seriously willing to be so naive enough as to believe his statement? ...He goes on to say that he was still sure of my guilt but that he had to release me so we were going back to where we left Kimosabi, hahahhehehahahaaaaa… (Just thought that was more appropriate than a simple lol).
The ride back was none to fun though I must say. This officer of the law, protector of our civil rights and freedoms… this “good guy”, begins to berate me as though I was trash. Looking into the rearview mirror at me he claims to know that I’m no good, that I am just a dirty bum and I probably didn’t even have a penny to my name. With the handcuffs still twisting and digging into my wrists with every turn and bump in the road I begin to squirm in the cold leathery seat in disbelief. I can no longer contain the anger within and reply to his remarks just bellow the decibels of yelling “Buddy, you don’t even know me, you don’t know what I do or what I’ve done or…” I come to my senses and realize what I was doing, I was arguing with a closed minded fool making me just as much the fool as he. I do believe that there is a scripture in the bible about that as well so if you don’t mind may you be so kind as to search that for us?
Anyway, I calmed myself down, sat back, refrained myself from telling this ungentlemanly fellow that I had more than a couple hundred dollars in my pocket let alone that I am the superior of a crew more than 15 men, and gave the Lord thanks. After listening to the officer grossly go on for a bit longer with his dissertation of the lowlife he believed me to be, I could feel the anger build once more then started to open my mouth to say something but what came out surprised me. “I don’t want to fall into this idiotic argument with you but you keep spouting your mouth off, trying to draw me into it and I want you to stop.” What happened next almost surprised me just as much, he stopped, and just like that he was silent. Oh, he tried to put together a word or two but they were just inaudible murmurs in the air. This, I do believe, is just a small example of the power our great and mighty Lord exhibits to his children as written in Isaiah 25:4-5 “You have been a refuge for the poor, a refuge for the needy in distress, a shelter from the storm and a shade from the heat. For the breath of the ruthless is like a storm driving against a wall and like the heat of the dessert. You silence the uproar of the foreigners; as heat is reduced by the shadow of a cloud, so the song of the ruthless is stilled.”
Now I don’t always follow the righteous path and my mouth has perpetuated my share of trouble but when one is faithful and acknowledges Him, He is faithful. And this is not to say that just because you do what it says in the scriptures once or twice, automatically everything goes according to plan. The Father is the ultimate seer and purveyor of our faith and He is the one who answers our prayers and rewards us or not according to our works at a time that He sees fit to His Glory, forever and ever.
Let me be clear on this, I did not bring this story up from my past to get pity on how I was treated or even a wow for myself on how the Lord shut this joker up for me. I told you this story to open your eyes to the everyday discriminatory positions people take on those who don’t drive cars, or are not of the same race or even similar intellect. We on the street get discriminated against all the time as you yourself are agreeing this very moment. This officer observed a native male on a bicycle in the dead of winter and saw a penniless, possible drug addicted drain on society who must be guilty of a crime. Ya, I’ve had my moments but hey, I have my moments. And so do most of the so called dregs of humanity. Out here we have many stories of people who have contributed so much in their lives to their fellow citizens but somewhere along the line got lost or were so disillusioned by the direction “civilized man” was going, decided they would have no part of it so sought for a way out. My point is that just because were on the street does not mean that we haven’t done our share or are not still contributing. Yes there are many that are pretty selfish and only care about their own lazy butts but not all of us.
Bottle pickers work hard, bin divers work hard and there are many great artists out here that sell their work to make that buck, not to mention all of us who go through the temporary work agencies. Just like some of my own friends with homes, one might wonder how we could live the way we do without a home and such, it’s not easy but it isn’t all bad either. Much of God’s creations are quite adaptable, how much more you do think He would make His children who He loves. I lived in a tent in the river valley a couple years ago for months and I loved it. I even had a coyote visit me every so often, sniffing around my camp and howling and getting all the neighborhood dogs worked up. I lived in this little hide away right up until I caught a couple punks going through my tent early November. I called them out and one of them had a big yellow club, needless to say it became quite difficult to bundle up in that small tent with a broken arm.
This has been a hard one for me to write because I keep wanting to carry on about the all the misconceptions about us, the look at your own back yard arguments. I want to tell you about all the great and wonderful people out here and the love that is shared amongst each and every broken heart that makes up this family of misfits, and we are a family. We are a family who look out for each other, help each other out when we can and just like any family, we also fight and “borrow” from time to time. But I need to get on with what brought us this story in the first place, yet another case of authoritative power gone amuck within the minds of those who are supposed to help yet hinder someone trying to do better.
Last week, I went to Alberta Works on 105th. St. & 102nd. Ave., a place for job searches and education research. A place implemented by the government for people just like you and I to further ourselves in order to contribute to the economic stability of our country. They have computers so we can work on resumes and get on the internet to do those job and school thingies. Anyway, I’m there because this is the only place people in my position have access to a free printer/copier. You see, there is an online course as I may have mentioned in an earlier post entitled “Write your Life Story” and there is a particular lesson where there is a lot of material I need for writing exercises, but for some reason which is beyond me, I can’t download from this particular site into my memory stick. The information comes out as gibberish, a computer language to which my current technical skills cannot translate, so I figured printing it out would suffice.
 Anyhow, I get on the computer and commence bringing up the pages needed from my writing course and get them ready to print. At the same time I also log onto my blog and twitter accounts to check the traffic as well as to tweet a little promo for my stories. It was shortly after I had finished the promo when security, a burly fellow perhaps a little more around the waist than his shoulders, and sporting a short fuzzy beard comes up to me and says that the computers are not supposed to be used for that sort of thing. This I already knew and understood that a very thin line was being walked here, “This is for my blog site, and it’s how I’m gonna make money so it is job related.” Then the blue shirt gets a real somber tone in his voice and says that it is a job then, not a job search and that he wanted me to get off. Well, this just pissed me off because of the way he said it, but I kept my cool and said “alright, there’s something else I need to do for schooling anyway.” I log out of those sites and retrieve the lesson pages where by that time his partner shows up and stands nearby, other than the beard they could have passed for twins.  
Believe you me, one could literally feel the tension build behind me as I picked and clicked with the mouse in hand. Then there it was… that tone of authority again, but this time with its foreboding urgency in the fore. “I thought told you to get off” says the guard, “and “I” said that this is for schooling, they’re for some online writing courses that I’m taking and I just need them printed out” I returned, but then in my anger added in a more subtle tone, “if you want me off you’d better get a real cop.” A moment passes, then this time the security guards voice drops to a more manageable tone and says “time to go…. and you don’t need to give me any attitude either”. Click, “I’m done anyway” and as I stand to get my pages the copier, the guard begins to go through my copies and asks what they are and if all the copies were mine. So I grab them out of his hands and reply to his query that they were my lesson pages for class, wait... did I not already explain this to him?
As I was gathering my belongings from the desk and with copies in hand this bored, over zealous walking badge junkie just had to throw in one more “These computers are not supposed to be used for that”. I knew this was not true, perhaps I did overstep the boundary a little but not when it came to the printouts. “It is still job related and it is still school related which it “is” supposed to be for, and I am still trying to further myself!” staring him directly in the eye as I walked away.
Please, you tell me, did I warrant this kind of treatment from the security guard or was he just flexing his iron on patch badge to someone he assumed was freeloading some internet time for useless endeavors. I was once told this phrase, “to assume makes an ass of u not me.” And this is not the first time an authority figure has lied to the common citizen in order demonstrate the power of office they hold. Just as the police officer I wrote of earlier, discrimination comes in all forms and sizes. Separation is how many people feel they need to distinguish themselves above the rest in order to justify their lives. This is an abomination to God.
Look back in history to a people who settled in the land of Shinar, they attempted to build a tower to the heavens in order to make a name for themselves but the lord saw this and understood that this would only bring a pride upon these people which would surely be their destruction. So, He confused their tongue so that they could not understand each other causing them to be scattered, abandoning the tower in the city from then on to be known as Babel.
Jesus brought all that to an end when He exclaimed, “it is finished” upon His death. There is no more separation, no more one man better than the other in the eyes of the Lord for we have all fallen short of the glory of God and it is His Son whom He sent to be a peace offering for us in order to redeem us back to Him for His Glory. Amen.


P.S.    We are all the children of God each with our own

 little quirks, love on each other.
    Forgive one another.
         and smile damn it!    


  1. Very enlightening brother!
    Jesus Gal

  2. Proverbs 9:7-8 He who corrects a scoffer gets dishonor for himself, and he who reproves a wicked man gets insults for himself. Do not reprove a scoffer, lest he hate you, reprove a wise man, and he will love you.

  3. I have already brought dishonor upon myself, and I am always insulted. Which is the reason for this story... I am only trying to help make it better for the next generation.


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