I've been sick the last couple of days; cooped up in my dark basement apartment. I've been dying to get outside, but it's misting and cloudy, so I went to Starbucks drive thru and drove to a...
I've been sick the last couple of days; cooped up in my dark basement apartment. I've been dying to get outside, but it's misting and cloudy, so I went to Starbucks drive thru and drove to a nearby park to sit and read. I opened all the windows and reclined my seat in the park's deserted parking lot. After a few minutes, a police car came up the driveway, pulled into the parking lot kinda fast and drove up to my car. I got ready to talk to him, but he averted course, drove around my car in a circle, glanced at my face (pleasant smile) and drove off again.
The whole situation left me feeling a little pensive. I'm a young-ish white woman in a ten-ish year old car, drinking tea and reading a book (though i doubt he got close enough to see that part) in a parking lot of a deserted park on a rainy day. How could the story have changed if I was a darker color and/or/and a different gender? Would that cop have still driven off? Possibly. Hopefully. Or would he have inconvenienced me? Questioned me, demeaned me, dehumanized me? Would he have given me the benefit of the doubt? If i got scared because of a lifetime of tense police encounters, would he have hurt me, tazed me, shot me?
I get the basics of managing risk. But having dark skin does not predispose us to be risky. Systemic oppression, un/official smear campaigns, mistrust, xenophobia, unequal opportunity, gerrymandering, propaganda have taught us that white girls in cars drinking coffee in a parking lot on a rainy evening are less risky than a black man in his home or his neighborhood or in his car drinking coffee in a parking lot on a rainy evening. And it hurts us all.
I haven't posted in a while, and I want to do my part; also, I wanted to tell this story, but not on Facebook. Thanks.