Why does the black guy lie to the cops when they asked about Manny in Parrot in the Oven?
The newspaper guy lies to the cops when they ask if Manny is "the one chasing (the) guy who stole the lady's purse" because he feels a sense of kinship with him. As a black man, he sympathizes with Manny, as a fellow person of color. Both blacks and Latinos are frequently victims of racism at the hands of the white establishment. Since the purse-snatching which has just occurred involved a white man and a white woman, the newspaper man says of the cops, "let them deal with their own kind as they see fit.
Eddie, a white guy who had at one time been Manny's sister's irresponsible boyfriend, snatches a woman's purse, injuring the woman in the process. Manny and some of his friends had been with Eddie just before he committed the crime, and in the confusion that follows, Manny is separated from the group and asks the newspaper man where his companions have gone. At that moment, a police car drives up, and one of the cops in the car asks Manny if he was the guy chasing the person who stole the woman's purse. The newspaper man interjects, telling the policeman that Manny is indeed that heroic person, and points them in the direction in which the suspect has gone. When the policemen leave, the newspaper guy tells Manny that he knows Manny was with the gang, but that the cops "don't have to know everything." Having been on the receiving end of racism and oppression himself, the black newspaper guy feels that, as a person of color, even if he is innocent, Manny may not get a fair shake. Because of this sense of kinship he feels for Manny, the newspaper guy lies to the cops so that Manny will not be involved in a difficult situation where the odds may be stacked against him (Chapter 11).