If I Had a Son, He'd Look like George Zimmerman

By Theroux, Paul | Newsweek, April 18, 2012 | Go to article overview

If I Had a Son, He'd Look like George Zimmerman


Theroux, Paul, Newsweek


Byline: Paul Theroux

'The implication of looks equating to innocence (or guilt) is illogical and emotive and divisive, and indeed racially charged.'

So many stories of racial intimidation in America involve a routine encounter with the police. It is as if the police have not shaken off the taint of their history of enforcing the laws of segregation. Even today such encounters are full of implication, both real and imagined, and often imply an insult. But is this always to do with race, or is the insult found in the impartial slap of authority, by its very nature bigoted and bullying?

Driving down a back road on Cape Cod on a July evening three years ago I saw an unwelcome blue flash in my rearview mirror. After I pulled over, the cop approached my expensive car on foot. I knew what he wanted. Unable to reach my registration in my glove compartment, I undid my seat belt and popped open the glove box, and at that moment the cop was at my window, in a defensive posture, as though he thought I might be reaching for a gun.

His shriek startled me. "Put your hands on the steering wheel! Forty in a 30-mile-an-hour zone! And you're not wearing a seat belt!"

As I explained that I had been wearing it, and took it off so I could reach my registration, he screamed again.

"Did you hear what I said! You're speeding, you're not wearing a seat belt! And you're giving me lip!"

I said, "Why are you yelling at me?"

"Because you're lying!"

This went on for longer than I expected. I noticed that he was young--in his mid-30s, not tall, with a belly full of donuts, and a pale harassed face. But he was not a local cop; he was a state trooper--odd to find a well-armed statie on a side road. I followed the Zen formula, not resisting, letting him scream himself into silence, and when he was done I sat by the roadside with a $200 ticket in my hand. The rest of his scribble was illegible: I wanted to know his name so that I could complain about his rude behavior.

I got out of my car and approached his patrol car, still flashing blue; my arms were raised, the ticket in my right hand, and at this point I walked across the border from Yarmouth, Mass., into China. The cop began bellowing at me through a high-volume loudspeaker. "Return to your car! If you come any closer you will be arrested!" And more--threats, commands, intimidation megaphoned into the summer night.

You get the idea. It was perhaps not an unusual traffic stop--10 miles over the speed limit, a seat-belt issue--and I felt the iron thumb of police authority pressing on my humiliated head. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

If I Had a Son, He'd Look like George Zimmerman
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.