Sandra Bland’s refusal to be subservient in the face of her impending arrest was behavior too defiant for the Texas Trooper who arrested her. Truth be told, had Sandra Bland been white her refusal to put her cigarette out while smoking in the privacy of her own car in a public space would have been a non-issue, quarrelsome at best, but not criminal in act or intent. Instead, Ms. Bland’s confident response arguing that there was no lawful basis for her to extinguish her cigarette as she was not under arrest proved more an affront to the officer. The result, an “adrenaline testosterone” cocktail rush that caused a trained State Trooper to lose it.
Clearly the officer could not handle her returned feminine gaze, a black female challenging the one demographic entitled to own and execute the male gaze of machismo patriarchy. Sandra had pushed a “good ole boy’s” wrong button, she had over-stepped that invisible but hallowed line of “white male privilege,” the cherished perceived authority and privilege that was not to be challenged irrespective of any degree of civility heard in her initial objection. The viral video of Bland’s arrest shows that 30-year-old Texas State Trooper Brian Encinia lost it; for totally ambiguous and seemingly irrational reasons.http://www.nytimes.com/video/us/100000003813646/police-video-shows-sandra-blands-arrest.html
Tragically, Sandra Bland, at age 28, is now dead, her death classified a suicide. Certainly there is no cause and effect suggested or inferred. Ensuing investigations will take weeks if not months. What is immediately apparent, however, is that instead of accepting Ms. Bland’s explanation of why the officer might perceive her to appear irritated, he himself then became annoyed as though she had no right to feel such an emotion. Certainly one would think that such agitation or annoyance is a fairly common reaction, given the millions of summonses regularly issued (lawfully or unjustified).
Apparently Ms. Bland being issued a questionable warning ticket for a minor traffic infraction carried no such privilege to harbor feelings of being either irate or irritated. The presumably highly trained Texas State Trooper overreacted to an ordinary citizen’s very common and human response to a hostile, intimidating, and brutal manner that only escalated an avoidably tense situation. Houston we have a problem! It’s up to us as a nation to fix it! D.Day 2015