Crowd-Sourcing Phrasebook for Non-White Visitors to the USA


#1

In light of recent police violence against visitors to the U.S., it seems like a good idea to crowd-source a phrase book for nonwhite visitors so they know how to respond to encounters with police. Here are a few phrases that we might need to translate, as well as come up with responses for;

Common phrases that police might use in a stop;

Hands up!
Hands out of your pockets!
Lie down on the ground!
Turn around and put your hands behind your back
Spread your legs!
Wider, I said wider!
What are you doing here?
Are you a U.S. citizen?
Let me see your passport!
Let me see your immigration papers!
Why can’t you speak English?
Do you have any weapons on you?
Do you have any drugs on you?
Do you have anything in your pockets that might stick me?
You are under arrest.
Stop resisting arrest!
I will shoot you.
You have the right to remain silent.
You have the right to an attorney.
Do you understand these rights?

Things that a person should say when stopped;

Don’t shoot!
I am complying with your order.
I am committing no crime (when applicable)
I am just out for a walk (jog, drive or ride)
I do not speak English.
I am not a Muslim (when applicable; esp. Sikhs)
My name is [insert name] and I would like a translator for [native language].
I do not consent to a search.
Am I under arrest?
Am I free to leave?
I wish to remain silent.
I would like to contact my embassy.
I would like to talk to a lawyer.

More phrases? Make suggestions below. Then we’ll figure out the most imortant languages to get translations for (Mandarin, Hindi, Arabic, Bengali, Swahili, Somali, Urdu, Persian, French…)


#2

So if someone’s any skin colour but white, they’re automatically presumed non-English speaking…?

There’s a cluster of islands, right next to the US the majority of which have English as an official language. 90% of the inhabitants are black. It’s called the West Indies, you might want to consult an atlas some time. I could give you a list of ‘non-White’ countries where English is an official - and sometimes the only - language. I could also give you a list of countries where the people are Caucasian and don’t speak a jot of English.

The first predominantly White, non-English speaking country that springs immediately to my mind is America.

My, my, what a lot of closet racists there are around here! And I joined because I thought Boing was open-minded and liberal, but I never was a very good character judge.


#3

Fair crack of the whip - does the OP really need to specify that a phrasebook is for folks who don’t speak English?


#4

As @Kimmo rightly points out, a phrasebook is for non-English speakers, hence the need for translation. A phrasebook for English speakers would be kinda pointless.


#5

Doesn’t work.

That’s irrelevant, Might make you seem less than deferential, and therefore dangerous.

If you get to this part of the conversation you have a good chance of getting out alive and of sorting things out. From what I understand from news reports, the initial encounter is the most dangerous time.

This ones pretty good, though it requires above average English language skills to be well understood in a high stress situation, you might want to shorten it to " embassy, I need to talk to embassy" (Don’t forget to smile, play the naive foreign tourist card)


#6

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