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Opinion
Palm Coast Tuesday, Jan. 5, 2016 3 years ago

'That black male happens to be my son': Racial profiling targets son of former Miss America

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A resident of Grand Landings questions neighbor who rushed to judgment.

By Marjorie Vincent-Tripp
Guest Writer

This is particularly for the resident of Grand Landings subdivision who called the Sheriff’s Office on a recent morning to report a black male walking in the neighborhood who looked like he didn’t belong there. That black male happens to be my son. Let me tell you about him and his family background.

He graduated high school in 2012, and attends a private college as a presidential scholar. He is a talented actor, who will graduate with a bachelor of science in computer science next May. He is highly intelligent, well-spoken and well-read. He is highly respected on campus and is active in many leadership roles.

By the way, when you saw him walking down the street, he was reading a book by Frederick Douglass.

I am his mother. I graduated with a bachelor’s degree and was accepted to the Duke University School of Law. During that time, I became Miss America. I had a successful career as a broadcast journalist before I decided to return to school to complete my legal studies. I am now a practicing attorney. My son’s aunt is a doctor. His two other aunts are nurses. His cousin is an attorney. Cameron’s step-father, who happens to be Caucasian, has a master’s degree in business administration and is a senior project manager. I could go on and on about my family’s educational and professional background. You get the picture.

When you decided to call the Sheriff’s Office this morning, which resulted in four sheriff’s vehicles responding, I wonder why you felt my son didn’t belong in the neighborhood.

Was it because of his attire? Was it because of his hairstyle? Or, was it simply because he was a black male wearing a hoodie? I suspect it was the latter, which truly is a poor reflection on who you are as a person.

And tell me, how should one look to appear as if they belong in the Grand Landings neighborhood? Must they have the appropriate skin color, dress as you personally would, and style their hair in what you believe is an acceptable manner? Granted, my son has not been to the house since we moved here several months ago, because he is attending school. So, you likely haven’t seen him. However, your judgmental attitude displays what is endemic in our society today: If you’re black, male, and you don’t look like you belong, I’m calling the cops, or worse.

Marjorie Vincent-Tripp

I watched “Selma” last night with my husband. I told him I didn’t want to see it because it would upset me, which it did. He said that had he been old enough back then, he would have done something to help change the poor treatment of African-Americans back then.

Well, the poor treatment continues. I hope that you will think twice the next time you decide to judge someone based on how they look. But, I highly doubt it.

Marjorie Vincent-Tripp is a resident of Grand Landings, in Palm Coast.

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