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In this segment on CNN actor Levar Burton known for his roles in Roots, Star Trek: The Next Generation and as former host of the PBS Show Reading Rainbow, describes here the ritual he goes through to prevent being shot to death by Police during traffic stops.

He removes his hat and sunglasses, rolls down his window, and puts out his hands to show he is not armed.

“I do that because I live in America,” Burton added.

He said that as a responsible parent, he taught his son to follow the same procedure.

If the idea of doing this when encountering a police has never occurred to you,  If you've never considered teaching your children how to be arrested without getting killed - then you now know what White Privilege is.  It's never having to worry about anything like this.

Contrast Burton's experience with that of Tim Wise who then told the following story.

Author Tim Wise, on the other hand, recalled that as a 23-year-old he once locked himself outside of his car. While he was trying to break into his car with a coat-hangar, he was approached by a police officer. Rather than question why Wise was attempting to break into a vehicle, the officer casually informed him he was “breaking into the car the wrong way” and offered to help him.

The cop was trying to help me break in,” Wise remarked. “Now, there is not a black man in this country, 23 years of age, for whom that would have been the reaction… Basically, what my mom told me was, ‘Be nice to cops.’ She didn’t say, ‘Don’t move your hands because you’re going to get shot.’”

Now Contrast both of those views with this somewhat infamous encounter between Reese Witherspoon her Boyfriend and Police.

Clearly she doesn't believe she lives in the America that Levar Burton does.  In her America, Police are polite, courteous and will answer a fairly straight forward question rather than arrest you for obstruction at the drop of a hat.

A lot of us would still like to know how to get to Reese Witherspoon's America.  Particularly my old friends from the band Living Colour:


9:52 AM PT: And it's not just the Cops as shown in the "Bike Thief: What Would You Do?" Video.

Originally posted to Vyan on Tue Jul 02, 2013 at 08:54 AM PDT.

Also republished by RaceGender DiscrimiNATION, Black Kos community, and Barriers and Bridges.

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