Witnessed while taking Sandi in to work this morning: In the distance, we watched a cop flash his car lights lights and pull up beside a guy who was walking along the sidewalk part of a bridge.
As our car approached that bridge, the cop talked at the young man (who had his hands up), then turned off his lights and left.
After the cop car passed us, we passed the young man on the bridge: A young Black guy whose expression revealed the combination of resignation, humiliation, and suppressed rage I’m sure he felt.
Imagine how you’d feel in his place.
I have some idea of that feeling. Many years ago, I was stopped by a cop who kept saying I “fit the description” of someone who’d done some ambiguous but undefined crime. I was a barefooted longhair with ripped-up jeans, so I guess that was enough. If my then-roommate Brian Campbell had not walked up right then, I’m not sure how far things might have digressed. Twenty-seven years later, that memory still feels raw.
Imagine that sort of thing being your daily reality. At any time, in any place, you might suddenly “fit the description” for someone who has the legal power to stop you, hassle you, arrest you and perhaps even kill you with few repercussions if any at all.
Sandi and I could read that reality on that young man’s face as we passed.
Nothing about this kid said “trouble” except the color of his skin.
But that’s Living While Black in America.
Or living Indigenous. Latino. Obviously Muslim or Sikh. Maybe even living Asian if you run across some cop who’s seen Platoon or Rambo one too many times.
Imagine how that feels.
Every. Fucking. Day.