DWB - it's a thing...
Driving While Black...
I remember allowing my brother to drive me around in my 1995 Mitsubishi Eclipse but I seldom let him borrow it. One day I had to run a quick errand to return something to a department store. My brother's friend rode along and I sat in the back seat. When we got to the store, I said, "I'll only be a few minutes" telling him that he didn't need to park. I hopped out of the car and ran into the store. When I came back outside, there was a police car sitting there but I didn't think anything of it. When I got back in the car, my brother had been questioned about whose car he was driving, why he was sitting there and why I ran into the store. Thank goodness I didn't run back out.
Monday afternoon after I picked up Christopher, my first stop was to the gas station. I could drive 30 more miles but my gas light had BEEN on. We stopped by a fast food place and we were on our way home. Within the parking lot of this shopping center, I came to a stop sign. As I am sure it is my habit, I rolled passed it so I could see to make a left turn.
While sitting there waiting for the right of way, a police car came from the left and stopped just before my car. The cop put his hands up in a WTFreak manner. I put my hands up too in a "What back?" manner. He rolled down his window and said, "There's a stop sign right there!" I said, "Yeah?" He yelled, "You're supposed to STOP!" I yelled back, "I am STOPPED!" He said, "BEHIND the white line."
I wanted to argue that I couldn't see behind the white line, but I had already talked back to a cop and yelled.
I put up my surrender hands and waved, "Sorry".
He seemed almost satisfied and then he sat there as if my car was in the middle of the street and he couldn't pass.
I looked in the rearview mirror, put my car in reverse and backed up behind the stupid white line. He hesitated for a moment and it went through my mind that he still wasn't satisfied, but he drove passed me shaking his head.
I sucked air through my teeth, while fuming.
I don't know how I would have reacted if he got out of the car. My first words may have been, "You have GOT to be kidding me!"
But it was over and I was relieved.
I looked at Christopher who was chewing his food in slow motion and said, "I'm sorry. I just set a bad example." I said, "Don't ever talk back to a cop." I explained that the same scenario for him would go all kinds of wrong because he is a Black male and that I should have apologized from the get go and put my car in reverse.
I felt wrong for telling him that because I was not in the wrong and if I happened to me again, my first reaction would not be to apologize. You can't help but "react".
Last night I slept mad. Mad for part one of my speech to Christopher and mad because I apologized to the officer.
I went back to the scene of the "crime" today hoping to see that I really had been in the wrong.
Spoiler alert: I was not wrong.
I present to you Exhibit's A, B and C.
Yes he could see me. My windows were rolled down. From his perspective I don't think he saw a mom and her son. He saw two presumably young Black kids leaving the parking lot of Sonic. I had my hair in a ponytail and I was wearing a baseball cap.
After I showed these pictures to Christopher, I began part two of my speech. I said that people drive beyond that white line, all day and every day. But yesterday, I was the one the cop saw. I explained that even before he's behind the wheel of a car, he's going to experience that same thing in school.
We talked for a while and the last thing he said was, "The most disturbing thing to me mom, is that he had a gun" and I said, "Exactly."
I despise keeping it real in this way, but it's about to get real in his world. I need him to beware and be aware.
Nothing good can come from talking back to a police officer.
Have you ever argued with a cop?