In the wake of the murder of Michael Brown and so many other Black children in our country. I have some things to say.
I hold my breath when I see police. I’ve been driving for 16 years and been pulled over only three times. I’d say I actually deserved to be pulled over two of those times. One unwarranted traffic stop in 16 years is damn good odds for a Black chick in this country. But the truth is I was terrified through each and every one of those stops.
Regardless of the jokes we may make, and abrupt “I didn’t do it” at the sound of sirens. A jovial “smile like a white kid” when the cruiser is spotted in on coming traffic. I am terrified of the police. I grew up with an Uncle who was a sheriff. I grew up on military installations where my neighbors were MPs. We had Dare Officers and demonstrations from police dogs in our schools. And still. I am terrified of the police.
As I sat outside the social work building on the college campus where I am currently a doctoral student in broad daylight a police officer drove by, and I held my breath and immediately wondered if anything I was doing could be construed as suspicious.
I know not every cop is racist or violent. I know there are more good cops than bad. But I also know it just takes one moment of bad luck with one bad cop.
After the police car passed I exhaled and again had the thought I’m not proud to admit has passed through my mind way too frequently recently. I am so glad Kidlet looks white. He’s 13 now. No longer a cute little kid, now a handsome teenager, but still protected by fair skin, blond hair, and light eyes. There are so many ways in which I hope he will always embrace his Black heritage, but I am so thankful a fear of being shot for existing isn’t one of them.