I am the rich white guy

April 7, 2009

Today I had to go to traffic court to deal with a car accident that I got into about a month ago.  The details aren’t important, all you need to know is that I got hit by an old lady who was (I kid you not) on her way back from church and that the cop wrote me up for reckless driving.  Since in the City of Alexandria reckless driving carries with it a rather severe set of penalities, I thought it best to hire a lawyer, rather than try and navigate the complex legal waters of Virginia on my own, especially since I wasn’t even able to look up the statute under which I had been charged!  So there I was, the neatly groomed, well dressed white guy with his equally well groomed, equally well dressed white lawyer, sitting there watching the rest of the cases go before me.  Now, I don’t make nearly enough money to be considered rich, and my cultural heritage is diverse enough that I am far from a typical white guy, but as each case went by, I became more convinced that, yes, I am the rich white guy.  I’d say that about half of the defendants required court appointed translators and the other half were too poor to be able to hire a lawyer, but still made too much money to be able to get one appointed for them by the courts.  (which, by the way, you have to make absolute dirt to be able to get a court appointed lawyer!  Actually, I think there was a dirt farmer there, and even he had to hire his own lawyer!)   So there I was, watching each one of these defendants go in front of the judge, pleading their case, begging for mercy, and in many cases, being found guilty.  Then they call my name, and my lawyer shouts out, “I (insert white name here) will be representing Mr. Cooper!”  As I marched in front of the judge, I could feel the eyes of everyone else in the room who couldn’t afford a lawyer, and I could practically hear them thinking, “I wish I was a rich white guy!”  (Good thing they probably couldn’t guess I’m Jewish, then they would have been really jealous!)  In the end, my rich white lawyer got me, his rich white client, off the hook – case dismissed!  So, here’s to the rich white guy in all of us, even if he only shows up when requested by the courts.


One comment

  1. Interesting situation, have been there before. You had a lot to protect – your good name,reputation, insurance rates, and other things. In fact, you work to protect the freedom of all those you were standing before.

    I understand your discomfort, and we will put ourselves in uncomfortable situations to assist others not as fortunate. If we traded places permanently we would no longer have the ability to assist others less fortunate. It is up to us to make the playing field fair to all, and that is a responsibility we need to clearly and continually remind ourselves of.

    Another rich & Jewish guy

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