Both men are black, but that’s where the similarity ends.
One is an Olympic sprinter; the other a sociologist cum philosopher. One is young; the other isn’t. One is named Ricardo Dos Santos; the other, Thomas Sowell.
Now imagine you are a policeman patrolling empty London streets at 3 AM. Both men drive past you in £60,000 cars, and your nose twitches. Which one are you going to pull over?
This is a no-brainer. Young blacks are statistically likelier to offend than whites, but old blacks aren’t. Thus, though both men are racially similar, statistics work against Dos Santos.
But policemen don’t just go by statistical probabilities. They also rely on the evidence before their eyes. They look at a man and match his appearance to the profile of a typical criminal they’ve had to nab many times.
Prof. Sowell just doesn’t fit it, whatever his race. His clothes are conservative, and so is his haircut. Neither does he look especially athletic or aggressive. In fact, he looks like a chap whose only brush with the law has been a parking ticket he got around Cambridge, Mass., in 1976 or thereabouts.
The muscular Mr Dos Santos, on the other hand, sports a cornrow haircut popular in gangsta circles, and our cop has had to chase similarly coiffed chaps through many a dark alley. Another strike against Dos Santos.
I am trying to reproduce the thought process sequentially, but I’m sure things don’t work that way in real life. All that analysis must have flashed through the cop’s mind in a fraction of a second, which was all the time he had to react. He pulled Dos Santos over, while Prof. Sowell kept driving on, definitely within the speed limit.
The situation is partly hypothetical, for as far as I know Prof. Sowell was nowhere near the A40 at that time. But Mr Dos Santos was indeed stopped by police there in the early hours of Sunday. Since this is the third time that has happened to him in the past two years, Dos Santos is going to sue the Met, claiming he was racially profiled.
Profiled he doubtless was, but not just racially. His cultivating a dope pusher’s je ne sais quoi must have had something to do with it as well.
I am sure Mr Dos Santos is an upstanding young man. In fact, once you’ve looked past the first impression, he comes across as one. Then why does he want to look like a gang member?
This is yet another vindication of my frequent observation: the gravitational pull of conformity is these days vectored downwards. Young whites don’t want to look like Jacob Rees-Mogg. They want to look like young blacks, and young blacks want to look like dope pushers on a Sarf London estate.
This is indeed a form of conformism, masquerading as individualism. Those youngsters think they are flouting ‘the establishment’ by refusing to look, talk and act like its members. In fact, they are lemmings, blindly following one another to the cultural precipice.
Mr Dos Santos is understandably irate. I know I would be if a cop stopped me for no good reason (or even with good reason, truth be told). Yet this isn’t what he described as “a harassment thing”. It’s police doing their job – something assorted ‘liberals’ are tirelessly working to prevent them from doing.
And their job involves profiling, trying to match an individual to a certain Identikit picture experience has formed in their mind’s eye. That way they have a better chance at preventing a crime, rather than responding to it post factum.
Unfortunately, this means some innocent black youngsters like Mr Dos Santos are occasionally going to suffer some discomfort. It’s tempting to put this down to the institutional racism of the Met, but that temptation should be resisted.
I’m sure black or Asian officers follow the same profiling pattern. Their suspicions must be triggered by similar factors, and race is only one of them. However, denying the racial aspect of criminality means ignoring facts, which isn’t what cops do – or are supposed to do.
I’m sorry to hear that Mr Dos Santos no longer feels safe driving through London. Perhaps if he made a bit of an effort to look like a law-abiding Londoner, his problem would disappear.
He should use Prof. Sowell as his role model or, closer to our shores, Sir Trevor McDonald. Looking like a gangsta may mean being treated as one.