MONOLOGUE: “AM I CRAZY, OR AM I BEING PROFILED?”

I hope you are staying hydrated and COOL! At my house our top floor AC lost the fight when I left home it was 95 degrees!! Please AC man call me back! Well today’s show though, may just heat you up just a bit…

Recently I was on RODEO DRIVE in LA. My daughter and I went into the Versace store and as soon as we stepped in, the clerk came up to us and asked if she could help us. I thought she was being helpful, so I politely said, “Oh we’re just looking…” and we started to browse. Well the store was relatively large and a few times I saw the clerk watching us out of the corner of my eye…we then headed toward the stairs to go up and then I noticed the clerk began moving in our direction…

Then I wondered briefly “is she following us?” The thought flashed through my mind and my daughter and I continued chatting and walking up the stairs…when we got to the second floor and picked up some items to get a closer look at them, the clerk felt the need to explain more about every item. I thought, “why is she hovering?” “Would she leave us alone!” Some other customers came up the stairs, and I was relieved because I thought she’d then GO AWAY but she never even asked them if she could help them!

Now, I know, she could have just taken a fancy to me and my daughter and she could have been demonstrating wonderful customer service. But can I be honest with you (between me and you) I found myself asking myself this question: AM I CRAZY? OR AM I BEING RACIALLY PROFILED?

Honey, I can’t tell you how often I’ve asked THAT question! Do you know what I mean? You’re looking for a car and you’re asked IMMEDIATELY what do you do for a living?  REALLY? Now, do they want to know IF YOU HAVE A JOB or are they curious about IF YOU CAN AFFORD THE CAR or do they assume because your black, you CAN’T afford the car?

I know, I know, I could be over-reacting.

But have you ever felt that way? Have you ever wondered if you were being profiled in a store…on your job…at the airport…at a restaurant…at school…in mixed company?? As Black folk, we’re accused of being way TOO sensitive! But as a Black person, I know how many times I’ve asked myself secretly…hold up…AM I CRAZY? OR AM I BEING PROFILED?

There’s data on what’s called RETAIL PROFILING, or shopping while BLACK. According to a 2004 Gallup poll on racial profiling, 65% of blacks and 56% of Hispanics think that retail discrimination is widespread. But this question AM I CRAZY or AM I BEING PROFILED doesn’t just haunt us in stores…what about on our jobs? Racial discrimination is real. Being passed over for a promotion and wondering was I passed over because I wasn’t qualified or was it more?

There’s plenty of documentation of the “profiling” that happens in schools. In an article posted online on www.good.is in March of this year said: “After surveying 72,000 schools—collectively serving 85 percent of the nation’s students—the Civil Rights Data Collection found that although black children comprise just 18 percent of students, they represent 35 percent of suspensions and 39 percent of expulsions. They’re three-and-a-half times more likely to be suspended or expelled than their white peers. Seventy percent of students arrested or referred to police are black or Latino.”

Are we THAT bad…or are we the victims of racial profiling?

This topic of racial profiling is part of the DNA of the black community and it’s time we talked about the question: ARE WE CRAZY? OR ARE WE REALLY BEING PROFILED? What do you think? Please POST your comments! Have you experienced retail profiling, job discrimination…or felt like you’ve been profiled in your everyday life? Tell me by posting your comments.

We dove deep into this subject on the show, in fact, WE SHUT THE PHONE LINES DOWN! So many people were calling in the phones overloaded. Listen to the show now HERE.  I am your chief empowerment officer, Jennifer Keitt and The Jennifer Keitt Show is heard every Sunday on KISS 104, Atlanta’s R&B.

Be sure to visit my website at www.jenniferkeitt.com for more life empowerment information!

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