When I married a black man, It was a crash course in racism.
I lost family, I lost friends.
I love him. So much.
Watching him interact with the police is just another thing I wasn’t prepared for.
When he was pulled over (in our Lexus) for speeding, he told the cop each and every move he was about to make. “I’m going to reach in the glove box and get the insurance card.”
“My license is in my wallet. Do I have your permission to get it?”
The cop’s response? “Do you have a handgun in this car, where is it?”
“You need to tell me if you do.”
“I don’t have a handgun, sir.”
“Are you sure?”
“We don’t have a gun in this car. I’m very anti-gun.” I piped from the passenger side.
That ended the conversation.
When I was pulled over in the same car, on that same stretch of road, but going much faster a couple of months later, I was a bumbling mess. I didn’t ask if I could reach for stuff. I dug all around, nervous-laughed a lot.
Nobody asked me if I had a gun. Nobody hassled me.
The cop gave me a warning.
“Slow down, ma’am. Be safe.”
Little moments like this define what it’s like to be black every single day. Sometimes huge things happen, like George Floyd. And people ask why “they” are so mad.
What many don’t see is that, all day every day, tiny things happen. Those tiny things add up. And they make you mad.
Injustice and inequality are infuriating. Day in and day out, they’re igniting. When a huge log gets thrown on that low burning fire, it gets really big.
And when that log burns down, that fire will still be there. People will choose not to see it, but it will still be there.
Black people will know it. Their white husbands, wives, and best friends that hang out with them every day will know it. But the rest of America will forget, because it’s too awful to think about.
It’s not okay. It’s never okay to treat a person differently than I’m treated because I’m white and they’re not.
None of this is okay.
When does it stop? Enough is enough.
When the looting is over. When this isn’t in your face in the media, be an ally to these people and stand up for them.
Not just when their fire is roaring.
Do it every day. Be better. Know better. And fight the people who don’t.