So last week I had an interesting discussion with one of my co-workers that had me heated. Quite frankly it urkes me to see people continue to take advantage of the disenfranchised and vulnerable populations for transactional purposes.
There is an article that refers to a man getting life in prison after offering an undercover cop $20 worth of weed. I will call him man #1. Now, man #1 who offered the drugs, was homeless and hungry. I must add just a little bit of context – yes, this homeless man was previously charged with robbery and cocaine possession and therefore was incarcerated twice. But that was in the 90s and early 2000s years before this incident happened and since his release, he struggled three years to live well. Trying to get food, resulted in life in prison.
After sharing the article, my co-worker continued to tell me a story about someone he personally worked with that had a similar history of previous charges from the 90s that resulted in incarceration and he also became homeless after leaving prison. I will call him man #2. The difference here was he was not asking for food, he was asking to do work, of any kind, in exchange for food. He winds up in a conversation with an undercover cop, talking about services he can perform – all which were legal. The cop asks man #2 if he knows where he can get drugs, and man #2 asks him ‘if I get you drugs, will you get me food?’ The cop leaves to go get money and man #2 leaves to get the drugs, meaning he did not have them on his person the whole time he had to go SOMEWHERE to get them, all with the hopes of getting food at the end of it all. But no, what happened? He was arrested and charged. But thankfully his case was dropped.
If you look at Pavlov’s hierarchy of needs, food is at the bottom meaning it is essential, something we must have within our daily routine. To have energy, think straight, maintain a regular metabolism, and a nice waist line, you need to eat 3-5 meals a day. When you don’t have that luxury like man #1 or man #2, but you still need to survive day to day, you’ll do just about anything just to eat. You’ll lie, cheat, steal, and peddle for food.
And while knowing all of that, my whole issue with these situations is the fact that these cops did shit to help these men who were just looking for food. They stigmatized them due to the fact that they were homeless and have previous criminal histories. They assumed that they were involved with drugs, coerced them into getting drugs and mislead them to think they’d get a meal out of the transaction all to just fulfill some stupid quota. Yes, a quota folks. We must remember even if you have never been to jail or prison, you are still just a number to these people out here that are supposed to “protect and serve”. When it comes to mass incarceration, the majority of those who are incarcerated are there due to non-violent or drug related crimes. These people were not at risk for inflicting harm on the public. And the majority of these incarcerated people, are people of color. But that is just common knowledge that, for some reason **side eyes**, people of color for hundreds of years have been profiled and assumed to be engaging in criminal behaviors. I pretty sure that that was part of the situation for man #1 and man #2 as well.
Talk to me.