On a 2014 Wednesday in November, I was working, delivering food. That evening, I delivered to a house. It was hard to see the address, and I had to drive around the neighborhood to find the address number. I finally see the destination, and I deliver the food. After doing so, a woman approaches me, walking on the front lawn, asking me if I knew where I was. I told her what I was doing, and I asked her if I was blocking her way, since I was in the driveway. She replied that I wasn’t, so what she was doing was questionable. She was on someone else’s lawn asking me about what I was doing. She told me that there where people driving slowly around their neighborhood and something about burglary or suspicion of burglars in their neighborhood. I suggested that they have a neighborhood watch and something else. As I was leaving, she along with an SUV that was out of the driveway across the street was having a conversation on the side people exit from, and I wanted to leave that area. I was about to give them cards to the church I go to.
That Friday, I was coming home from an event at church. As I was turning into my neighborhood, I see police lights flashing, and I pull over. The police officer does his procedures, asking me why I was stopped, which I was uncertain of. He said I didn’t use my turning signal. As the procedures continue, he notices my little bat in between my seat and the door. He asks why I have the bat, and I said it was for protection in my unexpected way. He asks if I was in a gang, which I said no. He goes back to his car and checks my license and things. He comes back, and I ask for clarity of why I was being pulled over, and I ask him if I need to get rid of the bat, which I didn’t have to. After he drives off, I drive off.
The first thing I want to say about the first situation is that the woman who approached me walked onto property that wasn’t hers. I would have thought it was her house by the way she was moving, but it wasn’t, so unless it was her property, I don’t think she had the right to do so. Another thing I want to say about it was that whatever was happening between me and the residence of the house was of our concern. She had no authority whatsoever to know what was going on. The woman was curious in an area she really wasn’t a part of. And since she mentioned her concerned of burglary in that area, I would highly suggest that she check her family first before thinking it could be people not living in that neighborhood. It’s possible that she won’t consider her own family stealing things. I didn’t know this area existed until I delivered from here, and some of their residence didn’t have a good visual house number, hence the reason why I was driving slowly. Drivers need to make sure they are at the right place, s we don’t just rush into where we need to go. I don’t rule out discrimination, whether by color or class. I would think that she saw a person like me, someone she wouldn’t think of interacting with, and assume I would do things like burglary. I know who I am, and because I wasn’t brought up to do such things, but it is possible her eyes doesn’t see that.
The first thing I want to say about the second situation is that I believe more than 50% of the people going into my neighborhood don’t use the turning signal, including the police. I thought it was a weird reason to pull me over. Another thing I want to say is that out of all the things in my car, he notices a bat which was in between my seat and the door. I had a lot of stuff in the passenger seat, including a Bible, but the bat was a focal point. And since it was a focal point, he asked if I was in a gang. That was weird to me, because I don’t see gang-affiliated people, and if I did I don’t think they would be carrying little bats. I believe he was looking for drugs, and for me not to use the turning signal gave him a reason to pull me over.
When I think of those situations, I find it weird that these things happened all in one week. There may be people who experience these things every week. There are places in Kentucky, Florida, Maryland, Missouri, and other states where people fear others in their place of residence and visitation because of the skin color, class, or something else that was taught. I do believe these things were taught, and it’s started off at a young age. I don’t know why some of us can’t look past the physical appearance when some of the biggest crimes in America were done by people on the inside who people favored and/ or respected. Meanwhile, some look at Black men as dangerous, and that’s not the case. It is dangerous men who are dangerous. It’s a matter of who the media highlights. I even was told by a person how his parents, before he came to the states, told him not to trust Black people based off of how we were portrayed, which turned out to be misunderstood.
That week wasn’t completely messed up. Before I was pulled over, I was in church at a dinner for the international students who are experiencing Thanksgiving, possibly for the first time. Before the dinner, I was talking to some folks from Mexico who was in an English-based program at the University of Kentucky. Some even took pictures with me. It may have been their first time interacting with a Black person. And if I’m to be one of the representations, I pray to be a blessed one.
And I’m just getting started.