People think racism is a minor problem here in Maine, or not a problem at all. I’ll share some experiences I am aware of.

Confederate flags all over the place.

White people in trucks swerving at bikers, walkers, menacing, threatening, harassing.

Inordinate police attention demonstrated by being pulled over because “one side of the car was lower than the other.” Or you crossed the street to avoid a police interaction but get dragged into it anyway just because you are a black pedestrian.

False arrests. I am aware of two resulting in days of unwarranted incarceration.

Things like slamming a meat or fish package on the counter in a disrespectful manner.

Getting Tazed or pepper sprayed in the jail intake room while already in custody just because they could.

Threats and slurs hurled from vehicles: “Go back where you came from!”

A friend being pulled over for no stated reason. The trooper specifically stated I should move on. I told him I knew the driver and would wait. He searched the trunk then left.

I was pulled over because I had black passenger — a stop that ended with no other than the statement from the officer that he wasn’t profiling.

It’s all clear to me. People are treated with varying kinds of respect, from none to unwarranted.

Priscilla J. Jenkins

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