Racial Profiling transcends borders
It’s been over three years now and undoubtedly I have shaken off the term of tourist. It’s only then that you can fully understand and watch the country before you unfurl its mysteries, language and in my case, peculiar nature.
Just today I watched as two plainclothes cops harassed a Japanese national on a bicycle. They asked him to pull over to the side of the road and interrogated him as if he were already guilty of the crime. I had to laugh out loud at how much manpower is spent on catching bicycle thieves in this country. But what’s more I made of the mistake of making eye contact with one of the cops as they made their way back to me. So naturally he approached me; me being an American of Mexican descent and proceeded to question me about my nationality. I naturally answered that I was American and asked him why he was harassing me? To which he pointed downwards to the tattoo on my ankle. That alone constitutes a criminal mastermind at work in broad daylight on a crowded street in this country. I then mentioned that I was waiting for my wife and if he didn’t mind I had to get going. He politely retracted his badge from my face and stepped aside.
This sort of thing always happened to me back in the states and so I am accustomed to being harassed by simple minded, authoritative cops. But I had really hoped that by coming here I could have avoided this similar incident altogether. The racial profiling, the sideway glances, the immediate assumption that I’m a criminal because I have a tattoo on my ankle and a foreigner. Sure it’s great to be made felt like I’m home again when I have a cop harassing me for the disorderly crime of standing around on a street and what’s more it’s rather as the Japanese like to say ‘Natsukashi,’ reminiscent of old times.
It’s just incredible to me that racial profiling is no longer just an American trademark, but a trademark that transcends the world and now wholly incorporated by the Japanese police force also.