To Protect and Serve
I was on my way to a club this past Saturday, when I received a text message stating that one of my friends ran into car trouble en route. I told him to send me his location so I could come and help. He was only a couple of miles away, so pulled a u-turn and headed towards him (can’t leave without the wingman). I drove to the location and saw my friend’s incapacitated vehicle and the rest of my crew on the side of a small, city street.
As 8 Black people waited for a tow truck to come pick up my friend’s car, we couldn’t help but notice how many cars had driven by ever-so slowly.
After about ten minutes of wait time, the tow truck arrived and we all got back into our cars. As we got ready to pull off and head to the club, a police car pulled up behind us with his lights on.
I thought to myself, “Perhaps he’s here to see if we’re okay. Given that our hazard lights are on and a tow truck just pulled off”.
I thought wrong.
The cop immediately hopped out of his car with his hand on his holster. Every Black man knows that that’s a bad sign. I sighed, turned down my music and put my hands on the dashboard.
The cop stood with a wide stance, flashlight in hand and his index tapping his gloc. He shined his light at us and yelled,
“Ya’ll got guns!?”
For real? No “is everything okay here?” or “license and registration please”? This dude just wanted to know if we had guns.
We told him that we were certainly not strapped and that we had some car trouble. Then he drove away without even asking us if we needed any help. So, who’s being protected and served exactly? Because it sure as hell can’t be us.
The police think that if Black people sit in cars, they’re plotting something. In fact, police must think Black people are always plotting something. That’s why shit like this happens. It’s also why we see cops who empty whole clips on unarmed Black guys. They shoot brothas for reaching for their wallets!
All because of the stereotype of Black men being dangerous. All the while, well to do Black folk unknowingly walk around with a targets on their backs and “Arrest Me” bumper stickers on their cars. Throughout our cultural history, we’ve had to protect and serve ourselves. The “post-racial” society will have you believe that the tension between the police and Black people is a thing of the past. We’re not getting lynched or getting sprayed down with hoses, but the threat still lingers. That lingering threat could be the difference between a warning and a ticket, freedom and jail-time or life and death. Needless to say, I can’t wait to feel protected too one day.