A young man with the evocative name of Trayon was recently questioned by the NYPD at Barney’s, a New York clothing store. They apparently thought it suspicious that a 19-year old black student should be buying a belt that cost $349 dollars, and questioned him for either two hours or 42 minutes, depending on whether you believe the teenager or the cops.
Trayon Christian, an engineering student from Queens, says he bought a $349 Ferragamo belt at Barneys and was promptly collared by undercover cops, who asked, 'How could you afford a belt like this? Where did you get this money from?'
Barneys accused teen of using fake debit card for $349 belt because he's a ‘young black American male’: lawsuit By Kerry Burke, Mark Morales, Barbara Ross and Ginger Adams Otis, New York Daily News, October 22, 2013
Result: a nationwide conversation about race—again. The kind of nationwide conversation about race we never have, that we’re not supposed to have, when a young blonde woman is savagely beaten to death or shot by a black man.
As a result of this nationwide conversation about race, super-rich rapper Jay-Z, who has some kind of endorsement deal with Barney’s, was urged to throw the store under a bus, and sever all connection with it.
In discussing this, Jay-Z said he was “no stranger to being profiled'”.
After days of backlash over his high-end collaboration with Barneys, the rapper stressed in a statement that neither he nor the store — but rather his Shawn Carter Foundation — would be hurt if he pulled out of the deal. Jay Z says that he is 'against discrimination of any kind,' but doesn't want to make 'snap judgments.'
Jay Z breaks his silence over Barneys furor, says he's 'no stranger to being profiled' by Rich Schapiro, Ryan Sit and Larry McShane, New York Daily News, October 26, 2013
“No stranger to being profiled”? Seriously? Profiling is when someone suspects you of being a criminal because of your race.
Some our readers don’t follow rap very closely and may not be aware of this fact, but Jay-Z is an actual known criminal.
When he was twelve, he shot his own older brother in the shoulder—for stealing his jewelry. ('I thought my life was over': Rapper Jay Z on shooting his older brother at the age of 12, By Tamara Hardingham-gill, Daily Mail, November 20, 2010).
As a teenager and young man he was a drug dealer. According to Wikipedia, “in his music he refers to having been involved in selling crack cocaine.“During that period of his life, he was shot at three times. [The King Of Rap, By David Kohn, CBS, February 11, 2009.]
After Jay Z got involved the legitimate business of music, he apparently stabbed a guy with a five-inch knife over a business dispute. (Wikipedia has a lot "allegeds" on that one, but he pled guilty in a plea deal: Jay-Z pleads guilty to stabbing record executive, By Sam Handlin, Court TV, October 18, 2001.)
Here is Jay-Z (top) is pictured as a young thug in Trenton, New Jersey. Who would not profile a guy like that?
I presume he isn’t going to shoplift, because he has a net worth of $500 million dollars, and he and his wife Beyonce earned $95 million dollars in the last year. But he’s still dangerous.
He and wife Beyonce did a “champagne tower” fundraiser attended by President Obama. I wonder how the Secret Service felt about that?
Anyhow, my point is that accusations of profiling frequently come from people who are actually criminals, and actually dangerous. It’s just that they think you’re racist for knowing it.
Cases in point
Martin was apparently a thief, suspended from school for possession of stolen goods, and a drug user with an interest in guns. Noted and followed by an adult member of the Neighborhood Watch, he referred to him as a “creepy-ass cracker”, challenged him with “What the f*ck’s your problem, homie?’”, and then leapt on him, pinning him to ground and smashing him in the head. [Jury hears Zimmerman claim Trayvon said ‘you got me’ after being shot in lung By David Edwards, Raw Story, July 1, 2013]
Martin apparently thought he was being profiled, but it wasn’t just his race—he really was a suspicious, dangerous character.
Famously arrested for disturbing the peace when the police questioned him about breaking into his own house when he was locked out, Except for a little brawling in his distant youth, Gates doesn’t have much of a record. But he was actually breaking into a house when the police were called on him. Some people who break into their houses do so because they’ve been evicted, some because they’ve been foreclosed, and some because they want to murder their wives.
Even if it was his own house, it’s not unreasonable for the police officer to demand an explanation. He definitely thought he was being profiled, but it wasn’t just his race—he was actually breaking and entering.
Once a Washington Post writer, now Emory University, McCall [Email him] is the author of an essay called “The Elevator Ride” published in his book What's Going On, which describes the interior monologue of a black man riding an elevator with a white woman who appears apprehensive:
She suspects what you want.... She seems filled with the wildly absurd terror that, in the brief ride between the 12th and 1st floors, this black man may rape her, rob her, and leave her for dead.... Can't she tell from your bearing that you're no rapist or thief? [Emphasis in original.]
In McCall’s other book, Makes Me Wanna Holler: A Young Black Man in America, however, he says that he is a rapist and thief, and several other things besides. He describes the beating he and some friends gave a white boy who violated Derbyshire rules by riding his bike in their neighborhood
We all took off after him... Stomped him and kicked him... kicked him in the head and face and watched the blood gush from his mouth... kicked him in the stomach and nuts, where I knew it would hurt.... Every time I drove my foot into his balls, I felt better.... We bloodied him so badly.... We walked away, laughing, boasting.... F—ing up white boys like that made us feel good inside.
. Writing about this in 2002, I quoted Michael Sierra of the Flummery Digest, who said that the book
“also contains candid descriptions of his participation in numerous felonies: assault and battery, breaking and entering, assault with a deadly weapon, armed robbery, rape, and attempted murder. McCall spent very little time in prison for these crimes, but instead went to a state university, then on to a career in journalism that eventually landed him on the Metro desk of the Washington Post. It's quite possible the nervous woman in the elevator simply read McCall's book and recognized his face from the cover.”
McCall was imagining he was being profiled, but it wasn’t just his race—he really is a rapist with a history of violence.
Will Smith, Agent J In Men In Black: travels back in time to 1969, and immediately steals a car. Since the scriptwriters don’t know that in 1969 there were already lots of blacks in New York with (a) suits and (b) Cadillacs, he’s stopped on suspicion of theft:
1969 NYPD Cop #1: Where did you get the car?
1969 NYPD Cop #2: And the suit?
His immediate reaction is to racially insult them:
Agent J: I stole them both.
Agent J: [to Cop 1] Uh, car from your wife...
Agent J: [to Cop 2] ... suit from your grandmother.
And then he tricks them into using a magic device that will cloud their minds:
[J is held by two 1969 cops]
Agent J: Look man, I have my rights, and I demand to see a lawyer before you press the red button on that device!
[the cops neuralyze themselves]
Agent J: That was a standard grade neuralyzer, but you're not going to remember that. Keep in mind, just because you see a black man driving a car, does not mean he stole it!
Agent J: OK, I did steal this one - but not because I'm black.
He was being profiled—the cops are forced by the script-writer to make overtly racist comments to the black man in the Cadillac convertible—but he actually stole the car.
And a final case of department store profiling—possibly imaginary, but again not unjustified.
There are very few African American men in this country who haven't had the experience of being followed when they were shopping in a department store. That includes me. [Remarks by the President on Trayvon Martin, July 19, 2013]
The President has no known history of actual theft or real thuggery. He is, however, a former regular drug user: “Pot had helped, and booze; maybe a little blow when you could afford it," to quote Dreams From My Father. (page 93)
Do you think the store detectives would have been reassured if they’d known that the sentence after that one was “Not smack [heroin] though"?
Or would they have thought, quite reasonably, that a young male drug user who can’t quite afford the drugs he’s using was a good person to watch as long as he was in the store?
Obama may have profiled, but it wasn’t just his race—he really was a bad risk.
Except in the White House, of course.
James Fulford [email him] is a writer and editor for VDARE.com