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Space for Rent: Presumption of Guilt


You heard the phrase, “Presumed innocent until proven guilty,” right? It should apply to all citizens, hell to all human beings.

Alas….

You want to know the face of racism? It is not the old white guy with a sheet over his head, or his younger son raising his hand in a Nazi salute.

It is the presumption of guilt. You are presumed guilty of theft or murder due to the color of your skin. You are presumed to be planning horrific acts of violence due to the clothes you wear, the god you pray to or your last name. Same goes for some with other last names which brand you a drug trafficker or even an illegal human being.

How do you think over one-hundred thousand men, women and children ended in concentration camps in the United States?

They were all presumed guilty.

But of course you don’t see it. You who are never stopped for “Driving while black.” It is not you who gets ejected from a plane, spend hours in limbo in an airport interrogation room, or get called out, over a PA system no less, for “random” extra screening. You are not followed around a store by security, cameras and clerks fearing you will bolt for the door with an item from the shelf. Hell, you don’t get arrested for buying an expensive item, with your own money, in a fancy store.  You don’t fear beatings, torture or deportation every time a police officer approaches you.

That is white privilege, the privilege to be presumed innocent unless proven otherwise.

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