Funny thing about English professors. They spend a lifetime explaining to their students about “perception” and “reality.” It’s easy to understand why they do: literary masterpieces through the ages have been built on the premise that things are not always what they seem.
So Minatu Roychoudhuri, an associate professor at Capital Community College (Hartford, CT), can perhaps be forgiven her failure to discern truth from fiction during the drama of her recent encounter with law enforcement.
Professor Roychoudhuri had the bad luck to cross a solid white line while being followed by a police officer, who signaled her to pull over. She did. And that’s when reality melted into a kaleidoscope of perceptions for the English teacher, as she describes in a letter recounting the incident.
According to Professor Roychoudhuri the encounter begins:
I was traveling to Wethersfield on Route 15/5 to attend a meeting 9th May. I was on the left lane on route 15 and had to take exit 85. After the Brainard Airport exit, and after the merging lane ended, I signaled and went to the right lane to take exit 85. An unmarked police car with flashing light stopped me on the ramp after I had taken the exit. The policeman asked me if I could speak English and if I knew why he had stopped me. I said, “yes” to speaking English and “no” to why he had stopped me. He then asked me for my driver’s license and registration. He returned with an envelope and said that I could simply mail in the infraction.
Truth, or perception?
According to the officer’s dash cam/video:
Officer: Hi ma’am, do you know why I’m stopping you today?
Officer: OK. There’s that big gore area with white lines painted across it and you cut in front of it, in front of me, thinking it’s a lane or something. You have to wait until it’s a dotted white line. License and registration.
As the encounter ensues, it becomes terrifyingly clear to Professor Roychoudhuri that her perception of the world she inhabits, the one in which she teaches “diversity and the negative impact of racial profiling” is of a place where she has “now become a target of the same insidious behavior!” Of course, the professor concludes, “It is easy to connect the dots with the nationwide racial profiling which has led to serious consequences.”
When confronted by a stern ticket-wielding state-trooper, Professor Roychoudhuri must have cowered in the driver’s seat, aware of the racial indignity she was forced to endure. There is a long history, after all, of Connecticut state police harassment of Indian Americans, understandable what with the dots on their foreheads, their smelly food, and their obsessive devotion to cricket. A bad lot, eh what?
Truth, or perception?
Once again, the dash cam helps us decide:
Officer: Ma’am. So I wrote you the infraction for that improper lane change that you did.
Roychoudhuri: Please, you know, I probably crossed over there, and that’s why I did it.
Roychoudhuri: Obviously I did that.
So profoundly affected by the travails of the racist world in which she lives, Professor Roychoudhuri decided that enough is enough, and dropped a dime on the racist flatfoot who unfairly profiled her. Worse yet, the racist didn’t even get her race right! He checked “Hispanic” on the ticket he handed her! Talk about insulting!!! Her letter to the Connecticut Commissioner of Public Safety concludes:
I request that my infraction charges be dropped and action be taken against the officer. I have talked with the Senator and Legislator of my constituency regarding this matter and I am sending a copy of this letter to them as well.
The Hartford bureaucrats hop to when in receipt of such requests, and invited Professor Roychoudhuri to testify in person. She did and FoxCT picks up the story:
When interviewed in person in regards to her letter on June 15, [Professor] Roychoudhuri repeated the same claims of racial profiling and that the officer did not explain why she was stopped, and then she signed a statement that it is a crime for her to make any claims that she doesn’t believe to be true in an effort to mislead a public servant.
At the interview, Roychoudhuri also said to the investigator she hates to think she was stopped due to her race, “But what should I presume? I hate to say this in academia, but I’m in academia and teach about diversity all the time.”
Of course you do, my dear. Otherwise, you would never have been hired.
The hard truth is, an internal affairs investigation concluded on the evidence provided by the video of the incident, Professor Roychoudhuri’s version of events was a complete fiction.
She was subsequently arrested on a charge of making false statements. Sometimes the truth hurts.
Do you want to bet that Professor Roychoudhuri is still telling her colleagues and students that her version is the accurate one? And that they probably believe her instead of what their eyes and ears tell them? Sad, isn’t it.