Thursday, April 17, 2008

a candid moment (part 2)

If you read yesterday's post about the Google Maps pictures and how people interpret them, here's part 2. I went back and looked at the pictures again to consider the details.

Before you read further, take a minute to write down your interpretation of the pictures.

The simple act of a black man talking to the driver of the car could be just that - someone talking to a neighbor or giving directions. We can't really see the driver.

I took another look at the pictures and thought about why it looked like a drug deal to me. The positions of the pedestrian's hands and plain white t-shirt and dark denim baggy shorts did it. His clothing is the current "uniform" of dealers and gang bangers who want to make themselves harder to identify by looking alike. Most of the guys in the picture are standing around wearing the same "uniform." If they wore clothing that made them look like regular individuals, I might interpret the scene a bit differently.

The pedestrian by the car could be a regular guy, but the style he's chosen has bad connotations for many people. Seeing someone approach a car and seeing their hands go to the open window or seeing two people approach each other and exchange something hand-to-hand says "drug deal" to me, after spending years in neighborhoods where there is a lot of drug dealing. Notice what looks like another hand-to-hand by two guys in the background, then one of them walking away.

If I had never spent time in neighborhoods where rampant drug dealing (and related violence) is an issue, I probably wouldn't have a clue about this. It might just look like a random conversation. After seeing way too much of runners, lookouts, window drops, stash spots, etc., it's hard to view a scene like this with unbiased eyes.

What's your interpretation? Please share a comment on your perspective.

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