If you are a young Negro in America I can’t imagine a better place for you to be than in a library at an Ivy League school.
If you are the parent of such a young Negro it must make you proud to have a child in such a position, and you must sleep pretty well at night knowing that your child will be safe and protected in the friendly confines of a very white, very elite, academic environment.
So imagine how shocked Charles Blow was to hear that his child almost got the Trayvon Martin treatment while walking out of the library on Yale’s campus.
“As a noted memoirist and New York Times columnist who writes often about race, Charles Blow has spoken about the police killings of Michael Brown and Eric Garner, deaths that sparked a national debate over how police treat African-American men.
On Monday, Blow wrote about another young Black man’s encounter with police — his son, who was allegedly held at gunpoint on the Yale University campus where he’s a student.
Blow took to Twitter on Sunday, writing that he was “fuming” after his son called to tell him what happened Saturday — that he was walking out of the library when university police “accosted” him and drew their weapons. Blow tweeted that his son was detained because he “fit the description” of a suspect.
Blow’s son was released, and Yale has said that the real suspect was found and arrested later.” [Source]
I feel your pain Mr. Blow. This is a little too close to home for you. Now when you write all those essays for the New York Times about racism in America you can truly write them from them from the heart.
“Saturday evening, I got a call that no parent wants to get. It was my son calling from college — he’s a third-year student at Yale. He had been accosted by a campus police officer, at gunpoint!
This is how my son remembers it:
He left for the library around 5:45 p.m. to check the status of a book he had requested. The book hadn’t arrived yet, but since he was there he put in a request for some multimedia equipment for a project he was working on.
Then he left to walk back to his dorm room. He says he saw an officer “jogging” toward the entrance of another building across the grounds from the building he’d just left.
“I did not pay him any mind, and continued to walk back towards my room. I looked behind me, and noticed that the police officer was following me. He spoke into his shoulder-mounted radio and said, ‘I got him.’
“I faced forward again, presuming that the officer was not talking to me. I then heard him say, ‘Hey, turn around!’ — which I did.
“The officer raised his gun at me, and told me to get on the ground.
“At this point, I stopped looking directly at the officer, and looked down towards the pavement. I dropped to my knees first, with my hands raised then laid down on my stomach.
“The officer asked me what my name was. I gave him my name.
“The officer asked me what school I went to. I told him Yale University.
“At this point, the officer told me to get up.”
The officer gave his name, then asked my son to “give him a call the next day.”
My son continued:
“I got up slowly, and continued to walk back to my room. I was scared. My legs were shaking slightly. After a few more paces, the officer said, ‘Hey, my man. Can you step off to the side?’ I did.”
The officer asked him to turn around so he could see the back of his jacket. He asked his name again, then, finally, asked to see my son’s ID. My son produced his school ID from his wallet.
The officer asked more questions, and my son answered. All the while the officer was relaying this information to someone over his radio.
My son heard someone on the radio say back to the officer “something to the effect of: ‘Keep him there until we get this sorted out.’ ” The officer told my son that an incident report would be filed, and then he walked away.”
Mr. Blow’s son will be fine. He has a father who has a national platform to speak out against what happened to him.
Think of the countless other Black men who have been subjected to similar indignities because they “fit a description”.
Fortunately for young Mr. Blow he will not end up like this guy, or this one, but it’s not because he doesn’t “fit the description.”