Racially Profiled In His Driveway

April 15, 2014
Editorial by David Bicklen, Hartford, CT
What Doug Glanville went through is an insult to him, his neighborhood and his city. He could have taken legal action or leaked his story to his friends at ESPN or The New York Times. But this Hartford homeowner instead wrote a thoughtful essay on being racially profiled while shoveling his own driveway. It appears in the Atlantic magazine at http://www.theatlantic.com.
Thus Mr. Glanville is educating legions of readers on a painful experience common to African American men.
A West Hartford officer apparently lost all sense of direction and reason in crossing the city border to confront Mr. Glanville as he dug out his driveway in Hartford's upscale West End. The cop asked him, "So, you trying to make a few extra bucks, shoveling people's driveways around here?"
The officer obviously mistook the man with the dream resume — Ivy League-educated, former Major League Baseball player, New York Times contributor and ESPN analyst — for someone doing what is considered in West Hartford, mystifyingly, an illegality. There were others shoveling snow on the street at the time, but only Mr. Granville was questioned. The assumption was that a black man in an affluent neighborhood must be an illegal worker.
Mr. Glanville perfectly captured the emotion of the intimidating scene:
"All of this ... put me in an extremely vulnerable situation," he wrote. "In one moment, I went from being an ordinary father and husband, carrying out a simple household chore, to a suspect offering a defense. The inquiry had forced me to check my tone, to avoid sounding smug even when I was stating the obvious: that I was shoveling the driveway because the house belonged to me."
The officer left, without an apology.
West Hartford's mayor and chief of police have since assured Mr. Glanville that they're champions of diversity. Well, the message isn't getting through.
Mr. Glanville's essay should be required reading for every police force in Connecticut.
Republished from The Hartford Courant.


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