Monday, July 17, 2006

Slidell's Sheriff Strain

Here's another letter to the editor that apparently won't be published:

[update, 18 July 06--Was published this morning, unedited, above the fold!]

Like many other people, I was alarmed by Slidell Sheriff Strain said that anyone in St. Tammany with dreadlocks or “chee wee” hairstyles should expect a visit from his deputies.

I asked friends and my students what he meant, and very few had heard of a “chee wee” hairstyle, so I’ve decided to give Sheriff Strain the benefit of the doubt and assume that his approach does not constitute racial profiling.

Because “chee wee” doesn’t appear in the dictionary and apparently isn’t in common usage, I’ve decided that it refers to hair that is straight and brown or gray, sometimes with a bald spot in the middle. This would clearly describe such unwanted thugs and criminals as the late Kenneth Lay, Jack Abramoff, and Ted Bundy. Think how much the country would have benefited if Sheriff Strain could have locked up Jeffrey Skilling, Dennis Kozlowski, and Timothy McVeigh before they struck. The list goes on.

I’m so glad that the good sheriff has decided to pre-empt crime by these types and get them off the streets so they can’t torment the rest of us with regular hair. So if you live on the northshore, keep an eye out for suspicious figures with these hairstyles and alert the deputies!

I just saw that Michael Homan had a similar perspective on the mystic coif that Strain thinks is so commonly discussed.

Now, predictably, Strain is saying he was taken out of context, but this is racial profiling, pure and simple. No offense to people who live in the 'burbs, but it's people like Strain (and Gretna's sheriff) and the masses who support them that give suburban living a bad name and make people like me that much more committed not to live there. Sure Nagin's Choco-City comments have given me some 'splaining to do with people from around the country, but I still don't feel much need to distance myself from them, perhaps because I was the "profiled" group in those comments. So I might have been offended (I wasn't), but at least I didn't have to be particularly ashamed.

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