I’m a Caucasian Male and I Get Profiled, but NOT How You Think

Racial profiling has gotten a lot of attention in the United States, and the world, lately. The Black Lives Matter movement is still strong as is the All Lives Matter responsive movement. There is a lot of tension around this issue. For the better part of my life I would have aligned myself with this thought process:

While racism and profiling is unfortunate, it should not be inherently damaging. We should attempt to avoid such thoughts, but it is ultimately on the group being profiled to rise above it, and prove those stereotypes wrong.

I am here today to say that this is complete garbage. I was wrong. There are a lot of thought processes and feelings around this that are MORE wrong than this for sure. However, I believe that those of you who feel the way I did are the most likely to be a part of the solution. It is to you that I am asking, no pleading, for help. Help for anyone who is the victim of profiling, racism, and the general bad nature of many in the world today.

Before I continue, I want to preface this by saying this post is not about me, please don’t read it that way. I’m sharing my experiences because they lead me to a change of heart that I hope to inspire in others. I also want to share what I believe the solution is:

Love. Outward expressions of love, gratitude, and appreciation for your fellow man. ESPECIALLY, when you witness someone who is the victim of profiling.

My Story

I live comfortably. I’ve been lucky enough to be met with a lot of success early in life. I am able to live the way I want, with plenty of excess. However, I shy away from this aspect of my life and personality. I am not comfortable with it. I don’t know why, I cannot explain it. Perhaps it was my upbringing. My family was not impoverished by any means, but things like going out to eat and the occasional (like twice in my childhood) baseball game, were things my parents saved for. We were comfortable, but money was tight, and a stressor in my parents relationship.

Long story short, I am not entirely comfortable with my success, and only share who I really am with those who are closest to me. Essentially my family and a hand full of friends. Everyone else knows me as a crazy, somewhat childish bloke, who plays entirely too much volleyball. And this is okay!

I’m a Closet Socialist

If I were to vote strictly based on my fiscal feelings, I would vote Republican. Why then is this under the heading Closet Socialist? It is my belief that human nature requires a capitalist economy. Competition drives growth and productivity in a way that no other system can. However, for me it goes deeper than that. Wouldn’t it be amazing if our welfare system were built off of one neighbor taking another neighbor a meal every day? Or, a wealthy woman walking down the street and handing a mother of five $50 instead of just spare change? Is this realistic to apply across an entire country? No probably not, it would never work, but you can’t blame me for feeling that this is unfortunate.

I believe in giving, but I don’t believe the government or charities are the way to go. Sure, foundations for research and such are important, but that’s not what I’m talking about. I’m referring to the mother down the street who needs money to feed her children. To help this person, I prefer a much more personal approach. So, what I do, is:

I give, constantly. I pay for a $3 cheeseburger with a 10 dollar bill and tell the worker to keep the change. I keep a package of gift certificates to Chilis, Olive Garden, Starbucks… in my car to hand randomly to people who make me smile. A while back I shared a pizza with a wounded vet, and sat and listened to his life story.

This is my approach to charity. I like to believe that this approach towards giving creates a different feeling in both individuals. It makes it personal. For the receiver, it takes that feeling of helplessness away. Does it really feel good to get a welfare check? No. But having someone say, thank you for making me smile, here’s $50 for your next trip to the Supermarket. That puts a smile on your face.

Now, to tie this back to profiling! I have done this for the past year or two, and up until recently, received nothing but positive responses. In fact, many overwhelmingly positive responses. Including at least one thank you in a newspaper “letter to the editor” type of thing. However, at the beginning of the summer this all changed.

The Slingshot

At the beginning of the summer, I made a decision that completely changed the perception the world had of me. I decided to buy a fancy car. One that would draw a lot of attention to myself. Suddenly I could not avoid facing the fact that I was successful. I didn’t really realize that it would have this effect at the time. I bought it because I thought it was fun. Little did I know that it would also force not just my friends, but the entire world to respond to me. I was suddenly wearing success on my sleeve and I was not prepared for the response that I would get from, well, everyone!

Me and my Slingshot

This is not something that I am, by nature, comfortable with. I have avoided career advancement in favor of staying secluded and avoiding publicity. To suddenly be thrown into the spotlight the way I have been makes me uncomfortable. I have embraced it and learned to deal with it, but it still throws me off from time to time.

Being Profiled

An aspect of this that I did not expect, however, is the inherent negative perception people have of me. Is it everyone? NO. But it is present, frequent, and palpable. Remember my approach to giving?

I give, constantly. I pay for a $3 cheeseburger with a 10 dollar bill and tell the worker to keep the change. I keep a package of gift certificates to Chilis, Olive Garden, Starbucks… in my car to hand randomly to people who make me smile. A while back I shared a pizza with a wounded vet, and sat and listened to his life story.

When I drive my sedan or am going inside to pay, this approach is always (and I really mean always) received positively. However, if I’m going through the drive through in my Slingshot I suddenly get responses like this:

Are you serious? Go away.

Yes I’m serious. Your loss. No, that’s just my credit card, I still have to pay for my food.

(distinctly snotty tone) I’m sorry, I have a boyfriend.

Okay… I didn’t ask for your number did I??? I have a girl I’m into as well, she’s way cooler than you, you’re not my type, so here, don’t feel weird and take this gift card.

That’s kind of creepy, are you gay?

… (Thought bubble: WTF? drives away)

I’m the same guy in my Lexus vs my Slingshot. I ask in approximately the same way. Yet I get these odd reactions. In fact it goes even deeper than this! I am not the type of guy to get kicked out of an establishment. If you told my high school friends that I’ve been asked not to come back to any establishment, they would laugh at you! Let me share a couple of stories with you.

Story 1 — I Love Kids!!!

One of the things I love about the Slingshot is the reaction it gets from children. They love the thing! I figured this out pretty quick, and certainly realized that asking a kid to sit in the Slingshot with me is far across the “creepy” line. So I always take this approach:

I shut it down.
Hop out and walk away.
Look the parent in the eyes.
Say, their kids are welcome to climb in the driver seat.
Invite them to take pictures, as the child runs up and puts their hand on the steering wheel.

A business owner witnessed this process the other day, and after I got done ordering from him he asked me not to come back, pretty rudely. Not going to quote it here…

Story 2 — I Wave at Everyone

One of the things you cannot avoid in the Slingshot is having people wave at you. I was giving a friend of mine a ride the other day, and this lady at a stop sign rolled down her window and said hi. My friend asked:

Friend: Did you know her?
Me: No
Friend: She acted like you were her best friend!
Me: I’m used to it.

The Slingshot forces people to respond to you. Just part of human nature I suppose. People see a cool… whatever, and they just tend to wave, stare, say hi. I’ve become accustomed to smiling, and waving back.

Well, the other day I had a police officer come to my door. I was somewhat confused, but I did my usual thing, hopped out of the house, smiled, shook her hand, then asked her what the problem was. The officer said:

The woman down the street would like to let you know that her daughter is 14 and that she is not impressed by your “dune buggy” and that you should not wave at her again.

I looked at the officer and gave a little chuckle. At this point I’m pretty sure the officer was quite confused. So I opened my garage, had a little chat as it was opening. When the garage finally opened she was like:

Officer: Oh man, that’s cool! You know, you don’t really seem like the child predator type.
Me: No, I pretty much just wave and smile at everyone.
Officer: Yeah, I think I’m gonna go now. You have a good day. Don’t wave at her again.
Me: I don’t even know who you’re talking about, could be one of thousands of people, but an easy way not to get waved at, is not to wave at me first…
Officer: Sounds fair to me, nice car!

The Effects of Profiling

These two stories may seem relatively inconsequential, but the effects they have on you as you are living them are profound. You tell yourself that it shouldn’t bother you. You convince yourself you know who you are. But, those thoughts are part of you. That someone has labeled you as a “predator” or even just that you’ve made them uncomfortable, it sticks with you, eats at you, subtly. Sure you can keep them from controlling you, but you cannot keep them from changing you, even if in a minor way.

You can say it in no other way. When I am in the Slingshot I am being profiled. For some people this is positive, for some it is not. The Slingshot forces people to respond to me, and in most cases, when that response is outward, it is negative.

The effects this has on you are profound. You tell yourself it shouldn’t bother you. You say to yourself:

I am not the person that this individual believes I am. I pity them for not being able to see past their ignorance.

But you can’t do this completely. You cannot erase the fact that this presumptuous individual just kicked you out of his store, when you’ve never been kicked out of anything in your life. It eats at you.

The more often you are profiled as someone you are not, the further it pulls you away from who you are.

It causes this weird kind of depression. You can fight this by being self aware, but you can never fully remove its effects. You are different. All you can do is embrace these differences and hope they don’t change you too much. Now, I am fine. Those of you who are my friends, this hasn’t had a significant impact on me. But, what it has done, as made me think of the effects this could have on individuals not as well equipped to handle it as myself. I can’t even imagine how difficult this would be to deal with every day of my life. Extrapolate these effects across a group of people and the effects would be extraordinarily damaging.


Now, I consider myself to be an exceptionally self aware individual. I have taken many philosophy, sociology, and psychology classes. I’m also a very logical thinker. So, I feel like on the scale of handling these effects, I’m approximately a 9 out of 10. Yet, they still have this minor, but profound impact on my overall happiness, and I certainly imagine these experiences have changed who I am. Positive or negative, who knows. This being said, I can only imagine the effects these scenarios would have on an individual who is not as well equipped to handle them as I am. Then, to make matters worse, take this effect and apply it to an entire culture.

Racism is little more than profiling applied to a culture or entire group of individuals. Imagine this mildly depressive effect, this idea that someone assuming you are something you are not, gradually pulling you away from who you want to be, applied to an entire category of individuals, those assumptions being profoundly negative, and the duration of this treatment being centuries! The negative effects this would have on this culture would be huge! It would hold them back. It would make them feel isolated from the rest of the world.

No matter how much we say:

They should be responsible for digging themselves out.

This is not fair. We’re dealing with minor subconscious effects. We’re dealing with elements of human nature and personality that even the most self aware individuals cannot handle completely. The level of self awareness required to avoid these subtle messages of worthlessness, doubt, fear, hate, is unfair to expect from an entire group of people. Hell, when encountered every day, it’s unfair to expect it of a professionally trained psychologist! These messages are fed to these people as CHILDREN. They hear it their entire lives!

This happens every day. We have a world of profilers. A world full of people who make assumptions based on the smallest details. Details that have NOTHING to do with who a person is. Is it everyone? No. It is, however, enough of the group to have profoundly negative consequences, if only because the tendency is for those with negative opinions to be more vocal. It’s easy for a bad apple to ruin the bunch when it’s the biggest, most annoying apple.

Can we really expect an entire culture of people to be as self aware as professionally trained psychiatrists, from infancy until death? Can we really expect an entire culture to just be able to brush this off? This is ludicrous! What exactly happens when an entire culture of people is subtly told, from birth on, that they are worth less than another group? Might this group tend to gravitate that direction? If they don’t, might they start to feel isolated, trapped, like everyone is against them? What happens when you back someone into a corner? What happens when you back an entire race into a corner?

I honestly cannot think much more about this without becoming emotional. The things people of the world do to each other, that have just become socially acceptable… not even the obviously atrocious things, but even just the little ways in which people hurt one another, WITHOUT EVEN KNOWING. It’s disgusting. Humans suck. If you’re thinking: “Well, I mean, generally, yeah, but not me…” YOU’RE WRONG. This one is really a case where, if you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem.

Fighting It

How do we fight this? How do we, as a society, undo the damage we have done? Personally, I hate both the BlackLivesMatter and the AllLivesMatter movements. I think they are both taking the wrong approach. If I were to start a movement it would be VocalLove.

This isn’t a problem that can be solved by one group treating another group just a little better. We can’t just wipe a few issues aside, and pretend like we don’t have a societal problem. What we need is a complete change in the way we think. No longer can we let one bad apple ruin the bunch. We have to be pro-active about being kind. It’s easy for one bad apple to ruin the bunch when it’s the loudest, most pain in the ass apple. We have to fix this. We can no longer allow obvious profiling to be met with indifference. When you see someone being profiled, don’t assume they can handle it, call out the profiler, but not in an aggressive way. Don’t fight fire with fire. Just lift up the victim. Even something simple, like complementing the victim in front of the profiler can have a dramatic impact on the long term effects of the situation.

This is not an issue that society can change on a whim. Any “revolution” that happens that appears to fix this problem, will just leave it broken for the next generation to deal with. We need to evolve. We need to reshape society’s thought process on every level of societal interaction. We need to ensure that, on social media, there are more positive viral stories than negative ones. We need to stop relying on the government and 3rd parties to care for those who need it, but rather give personally when we have excess. We need to be more open about our love for our families and friends. We need to evolve into a society where expressions of aggression, hate, and malice are fought NOT with indifference, but with outward expressions of love, compassion, and kindness. We need to share this love and kindness, vocally, with everyone, especially those that are different from ourselves.