The Flipside of the racial slurs being leveled at my husband was a little something that happened earlier that night.
Quick clarification: I don't think Rocco was really all that affected by this high-as-a-kite piece-of-work repeatedly calling him a Guinea. My point was: if Rocco had been spouting off some sort of racial rhetoric at him, it would have been a VERY different story.
If it's not okay---then it's not okay. Period.
Back to the Flipside: Earlier in the night, Roc and his partner encountered a roving band of young punks gathered at a particular street corner. Before you ask...I can still remember going through the radio codes with Roc while he was in the Academy, and seeing that a 10-50 was a call for a "roving band." Back then, we laughed. What the hell was a roving band? Forever the comedienne, I pictured some sort of backwards marching band, roaming around the projects at will, and although I knew better, I can remember saying to him, "When the hell are you going to use that?"
HA! Let's try almost every day!
For those of you who don't know, a roving band is a group of ten (?) or more little punks roaming a particular area, causing general mayhem, the lot of them up to no good. The other night, there was a particular roving band that kept populating one street corner. Every time Roc and his partner asked them to disband or move on, they would comply with loud complaints, but by the time they made their way back around...there they were again. One kid in particular was swinging a pipe, and when Roc and his partner drove up the last time, they jumped out and the kids scattered. Roc grabbed the kid with the pipe.
After a few minutes of trying to get some information out of him, a black housing cop rolled up and jumped out, trying to help out. The kid with the pipe was being particularly mouthy, and this prompted the housing cop to jump in with this:
"You think you're so tough? Is that what you think? WHAT ARE YOU DOING WITH YOUR LIFE, KID? Where are your friends? Do you see any of them out here? Notice how you're in cuffs and all your friends took off?!"
The kid muttered something about "the man" taking him down, and the housing cop exploded.
"OH PLEASE DO NOT GIVE ME THAT BULLSHIT! Do you see how much the WHITE MAN has kept me down?! I have a great job that I love. A white man gave me that job. I have an education. I live on 5th Avenue in Manhattan. I have friends that don't run away when I get into trouble. What are you doing, son? You gotta straighten up, get your education. Get the hell out of here. DO SOMETHING with your life! I'm tired of all you whiny punks going on and on about the man, and all you ever do is come across my desk. Come on, we're taking you home."
He grabbed the kid, and he and Roc rode to his apartment. The Stepmother who answered the door voiced grave concern for this particular kid, and she and the housing cop had a heart-to-heart while Roc (the white man in the room) stood by.
I don't know if the housing cop got through to the kid, but I'm glad he tried. Perhaps the next time Roc encounters a roving band that particular kid won't be a part of it...maybe deep down...I would like to think...that the kid gave him a second thought.