You know our friend, ‘EarthJeff.’ He’s been an awesome addition to the BB&W Crew, and he just shared this story with me last night. I figured a lot of you all can relate.
Racial Profiling? Please…… Hey, I understand.
I am a white man. I have never been pulled over and had my plates or ID run because of the color of my skin. I have never been stared at or given a double-take in a store because of the color of my skin. I have never had anyone call 911 or had the Neighborhood Watch guy chase me down because I am suspicious walking around in a hoodie. I have talked to all my students (I teach in an urban high school) about these things and they have had some of these experiences. OK, I am an educated man so I understand, really, I do. Sucks to be you but I know what you must be feeling…. dont get upset… just go with it. It is NOT that big of a deal. You are just being overly sensitive. I THOUGHT I understood.
We had a professional development event at a venue with really tight parking so we met at a local mall parking lot to leave a couple of cars and share rides. Typical suburban mall parking lot. We got back and a colleague and I wanted to finish a discussion so we sat in the car for a short bit to talk. Dressed professionally, minding our own business, a white male and a black female… both educators.
Suddenly a local police car pulls in front of me and an officer gets out and comes over to my window (Interestingly, a short white female cop) and she none-too-politely “requests” our ID. My colleague nonchalantly hands hers over as I am getting mine and say something stereotypical like “what is the problem, officer”? I get a snarly “we have had some trouble around here lately. Do either of you have any warrants?” she asks.
I assume she means trouble much worse than DWB (Driving while black). I am sure that she means something really heinous like PWWWBWIC (Parked while white with black woman in car). And, wow, I am GUILTY of that. So we get our ID back and the cop walks away. I am pissed and my colleague is calm like she has been through all of it before. She says “Welcome to my world”. The whole experience was one of the most profound I have ever had. Oh, yes, I THOUGHT I understood. Educated man.
I get it. People were just being overly sensitive. And yet…. until I was the one handing over my ID for pretty much no reason at all other than either the color of my skin or that of my colleague….. I guess I did NOT understand. I do now. Parked while white with black woman in car. If I am alone in that car or sitting with a white colleague, does that cop come ask for our ID?