All Things Bubba

Because how can you not love a baseball player named "Bubba"?

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Bellaire police shooting unearths unease

A follow-up on the Robbie Tolan shooting, which I posted about before. The Houston Chronicle has an article about it today, which includes a section about Bellaire's minority athletes. Jose Cruz Jr. says he moved away from Bellaire because of the way police treated him.

Celebrity residents have not been immune from police contact. Tolan's father, Bobby, was a major league baseball player, and the son starred at Bellaire High School.

Jose Cruz Jr., a former Bellaire High School and Rice University baseball standout and son of the one-time Astros star hitter, told a Houston television station last week that he, too, had been stopped by Bellaire police as an adult in 2002, an incident he said prompted him to move from his old hometown.

He said he was in a new car with his pregnant wife when a police officer stopped him because of an absent front license plate. He said he believed he was racially profiled.

"The officer proceeded to arrest me," Cruz told KHOU-TV (Channel 11). "He told me that there were warrants out for my arrest. I told him that I didn't have so much as a ticket, much less a warrant."

Because of the mistake, Cruz said, he ended up spending the night in jail.

There are hundreds of comments about the article. Obviously, feelings are running high.

We are soon to have a black president, which I wasn't sure I'd live to see. We've made a lot of progress over the last few decades. It's hard to imagine anyone today having to go through what Jackie Robinson had to put up with. But we've still got a long way to go.

And not just in Texas. In my town in upstate New York, there are still neighborhoods where minorities are not welcome. And not just blacks, Hispanics, and Asians; certain types of whites are not welcome, either. If your last name ends in a vowel, keep going. (That is, if you're Italian or Polish.)

I was reminded of that this week, because I was taking a class on mapping software, and zoomed in on one such neighborhood. Of course they don't actually say "No Italians allowed." The locals just know it. Including the real estate agents, who steer their clients accordingly.

Ironically, this neighborhood has attracted a lot of white professors from a nearby college. It's a private college, expensive and artsy. These professors tend to be very politically correct - the kind who go out of their way to give their children black and Asian and Hispanic dolls, as well as blue-eyed blond ones. They'd probably be horrified to know they were living in a segregated neighborhood.

posted by BubbaFan, 7:20 PM


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