them, me, you

For my last diary entry, I have decided to write about something I have noticed over the past... maybe... 3-6 months... in my area of East London. I haven't written it before because it's been slow and cumulative, this observation. A brief reminder about my immediate neighbourhood - it has a population that is about 50% Bengali, people from Muslim Bangladesh. I noticed the other day some new grafitti - "POLICE EVERY WHERE, JUSTICE NO WHERE".

True, I thought, over the past months there have been cops everywhere in my area. Everytime you go outside there are cops lurking about, in cars, on the streets, everywhere. They are not stopping the drug dealers. They are patrolling for something else. They particularly hang around on Fridays near the closest Masjid or Mosque. But they are generally just everywhere.

I spoke to a white neighbour from a Christian / dominant culture background about it. When I said I was feeling harrassed just by their presence, she said she did notice there were many more police suddenly but police don't bother her.

Later when chatting to S, a Bengali friend, she said she definitely felt harrassed by them eventhough she hadn't personally been stopped. "The boys are being stopped all the time".

I know the police aren't looking at me and thinking, "terrorist" - but still I feel uncomfortable about being under their constant scrutiny. I guess I know they're not here to protect me or the people in my community. They're doing nothing about the drugs. They're here for reasons that have nothing to do with serving and protecting us.