Almanac

Op-ed: How come UWPD didn’t display any of my definitely-not-racist gifts in their office?

Image By: Betsy Osterberger

UWPD came under fire — again — after posting a photo which showed a “thin blue line” flag displayed in their office to their social media accounts over the weekend, a pro-law enforcement symbol that has frequently been used to denote opposition to the Black Lives Matter movement. UW Police Chief Kristen Roman released a statement about the photo saying — and this is a direct quote — that “while many people may interpret the ‘thin blue line’ imagery as racist, in this case it actually means something definitely not racist, like promoting weight loss among smurfs or some shit.”

In her statement, Chief Roman also noted that — and this part actually is real — the imagery displayed was a gift from a member of the community, and that it is one of two definitely-not-racist gifts hung up at the UWPD office. Now, I’ll be honest, this part of Roman’s statement was particularly troubling to me. Not because I felt that it was a shoddy and inexcusable pivot away from the fact that proudly displaying this imagery is tone deaf and wrong. Rather, I took issue with those words because I have, in fact, also sent in a host of definitely-not-racist gifts to UWPD and I find it very rude that UWPD would selectively display definitely-not-racist gifts.

I feel that it’s the duty of police departments across the nation to treat every definitely-not-racist member of their community with dignity and display every definitely-not-racist gift proudly in their office. Now, I do recognize that some of my gifts may have been misinterpreted by those with a less-than-innocent worldview. Thus, in order to ensure UWPD that my gifts are, in fact, definitely-not-racist, I have included a list of them, each with an description explaining away concerns of racism based on what I want to see — much like Chief Roman’s statement on “thin blue line” imagery come to think of it.

Gift 1: Kid Rock vinyl with an image of a Confederate flag

Sure, the Confederate Flag — and Kid Rock himself — are considered to be symbols of racism by some, but what’s more important is that music brings people of all backgrounds together. Also, this was the cheapest record in the store and I’m on a budget.

Gift 2: A bobblehead of George Wallace wearing an Indian Headdress

Some may try to argue that George Wallace was a little racist, but I found this little knick-knack in an antique store and thought, “wow, what a great example of a white person embracing other cultures! This belongs in the UWPD office for sure!”

Gift 3: A framed photo of Emmett Till with a big red ‘X’ over it

After learning about the murder of Emmett Till I thought “Oh my goodness, what a horrible thing.” So I printed out a photo of him and framed it, and then drew a big scary red ‘X’ over it to show that this kind of atrocity is a thing of the past. I sent it to UWPD so that they can help prevent history from repeating itself.

Gift 4: Jefferson Davis’ copy of Mein Kampf

Wow, Jefferson Davis’ original copy of Mein Kampf, a true historic artifact! What’s even better is that Hitler wasn’t even alive during the life of Jefferson Davis — which means this artifact is proof of time travel! I see no reason why UWPD wouldn’t want to display humanity’s best evidence that time travel is possible in hopes that one day, we will travel back in time and eliminate racism altogether!

Gift 5: Nathan Bedford Forrest’s ‘Pointy Ghost’ Halloween costume

Inspired by the same garment that fashion designer Nathan Bedford Forrest wore on Halloween in 1868, this “pointy ghost” Halloween costume was meant to help UWPD get into the spirit of spooky season, and … oh shit ok I see it now. Yeah this one might have been a bridge too far.

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