Recently, a black woman named Dorothy Bland, the Dean of the School of Journalism at the University of North Texas, wrote an opinion piece for The Dallas Morning News that she was detained for “walking while black” by white police officers. She claimed flashing lights and sirens stopped her from a routine walk and made further statements such as this:
Knowing that the police officers are typically armed with guns and are a lot bigger than my 5 feet, 4 inches, I had no interest in my life’s story playing out like Trayvon Martin’s death. I stopped and asked the two officers if there was a problem; I don’t remember getting a decent answer before one of the officers asked me where I lived and for identification.
Invoking Trayvon Martin, guns, and the white police officers’ size is clearly meant to convey a sense of danger. Interestingly, she didn’t remember getting a “decent answer” for her question. Additionally, she portrayed the cops as being insulting:
I guess I was simply a brown face in an affluent neighborhood. I told the police I didn’t like to walk in the rain, and one of them told me, “My dog doesn’t like to walk in the rain.” Ouch!
She just got compared to a dog. Racists!
Again, her intention is to convey a palpable sense of fear and danger by the implied threats of these white cops:
Although I am not related to Sandra Bland, I thought about her, Freddie Gray and the dozens of others who have died while in police custody. For safety’s sake, I posted the photo of the officers on Facebook, and within hours, more than 100 Facebook friends spread the news from New York to California.
However, in the face of such clear and present danger, she is brave:
I refuse to let this incident ruin my life.
Good for you. Too bad that the police department responded with a video of the incident that made her entire account go up in smoke (the response and video is attached to her article, though it of course was not originally there when she first wrote it).
If you watch the video with the tiniest shred of objectivity, it is clear that no racial profiling occurred and no threats were implied. The police stopped her because she was walking down the wrong side of the road while flapping her arms despite the fact that there are sidewalks for her. Apparently, a truck driver had to stop because of her, so the police came up to her from behind (without sirens) and spoke with her. Politely. They told her exactly why they stopped her from the very beginning (convenient that she forgot this), and they were the ones to initiate the conversation; she did not ask them because they were flashing lights and blaring sirens at her. If they were nit-pickers, they actually could have ticketed her for walking in the street, but they merely told her to get on the sidewalk. They did ask for her I.D., but that’s pretty standard fare for officers, and many non-black people will testify that they have been asked for identification by cops in a host of situations that were not confrontational. Heck, they even got closer together to make it easier for her to take a picture and had no problem with it. Oh, and the dog comment? Clearly small talk. As a dog-lover, I used to talk about my dogs all the time when they were alive and would respond in conversations like, “Oh, my dog doesn’t like to do X either.” The listeners’ response has never been, “What, did you just compare my human value to a dog?!” Because they aren’t trying to create tension out of nothing.
Dorothy Bland, a professor no less, exaggerated and lied about an encounter to create a racial incident in order to make a statement. That’s why she took pictures. That’s why she wrote about it in a dishonest manner. That’s why she posted those pictures on social media. Do you know what the effect could have been if her account was not refuted? These officers could have lost their jobs and gone through the same media vilification that others have. Interestingly enough, because her embarrassing article was exposed as garbage, the national media has largely stayed quiet on it. As far as I have tried to search for it, I have seen no articles on her lies from mainstream outlets like CNN (though there is a transcript for a TV segment on it), MSNBC, the NYT, etc. It’s a bit uncomfortable when something doesn’t fit the liberal narrative of wanton police racism and brutality and someone is caught lying about it, huh?
The most astonishing thing about this situation is how many people are trying to actually defend Dorothy Bland despite such clear evidence that she twisted the truth. They are a minority, to be sure, because most people, including African-Americans, seem very critical of what she has done, but such defenders still exist, mostly people who are trying hard to preserve race narratives. The most common defense, in the face of such clear video evidence, is to claim she didn’t insinuate falsehood because it’s a matter of interpretation. Jacquielynn Floyd at The Dallas Morning News was non-committal and called the incident a “Rorscach test” that depends upon one’s race and background. This is nonsense; Rorscach tests allegedly say a something about our psychological leanings because the ink-blots are fundamentally unclear and open to basically any interpretation. There is nothing unclear about how Dorothy Bland’s account completely misrepresents what happened in the video. At least Floyd was not trying to be overly defensive of Bland; Leona Allen stooped so low that she not only said that she doesn’t doubt that Bland was stopped simply for being black, she ended her piece with this doozy:
Bland did the right thing and left the scene without putting up too much of a fuss. Because of the manhandling of Sandra Bland and the deaths of Eric Garner and Walter Scott at the hands of police, I’m frightened about what could have happened had she protested then and there to the indignity of being placed under a cloud of suspicion.
Holy smokes, did she just imply that this situation would have become life-threatening if Bland, say, started to be rude? Look at the video and those cops. What the heck is threatening about what they’re doing? Allen is a graduate from UNT’s school of journalism, by the way… she probably should have pointed that out in the article on the basis of full disclosure and fairness. But clearly neither she nor Bland are interested in that. Bland herself tried the defense of “My column simply reflects my perspective and experience,” as if her perspective can’t be wrong and her interpretation of her experience can’t be flawed or flat dishonest.
Another low? How about Snopes.com, that left-leaning website that pretends to be an objective-fact checker. The author states that the claim that Dorothy Bland lied is “mostly false” and her reasoning boils down to this:
Although Bland described the incident as “racial profiling,” the content of the editorial she wrote fell into two categories. One was subjective: whether or not one believed Bland was stopped based on her race hinged solely on individual interpretation. The other was incident-specific: Bland claimed she was asked for photo identification shortly after she encountered the two officers in the video.
Basically, it’s the same excuse as above: “Well, it’s her opinion/interpretation of the events, so that can’t be wrong, but the actual stop happened so she didn’t lie!” Too bad nobody is disputing that the actual encounter happened, they are criticizing her portrayal of the events as racial profiling and dangerous. And once again, interpretations and subjective opinions can be wrong. The Snopes article is so pigeon-brained that it is amusing that it tries to portray itself as objective and rational.
There is nothing to defend here. Bland got caught doing something wrong. If you can’t call it for what it is, you are either not very bright or, more likely, so desperately biased that you can’t see straight. It boggles my mind how liberals can even begin to defend this. What she did helps nobody and does not improve race relations, nor does trying to defend her. There are actual racial incidents that happen in this country that deserve some attention, and it muddies the waters when sensationalist media garbage constantly comes up and grabs national attention. As the story goes, when you cry wolf too many times, people stop believing you, and that only hurts those people who are actually victims of racism.