Something Needs To Be Done…With Me

fearSomething Needs To Be Done…With Me

When I was about 8 or 9 years old, I was in the backseat of the car when my father, the driver, was pulled over for a traffic stop. My father was guilty. He knew he was guilty.

The police officer came up to the car and asked my father for his license and registration.

I don’t know what was going on inside my father at that point. There was probably a mixture of anger and embarrassment. His license was inside his wallet in his back pocket. (He used to say that no one could ever pickpocket him because even he had a hard time getting it out!)

He got out of the car and stood up reaching into his back pocket for his wallet. He was a large man. He could easily be intimidating.

I don’t know what was going on inside the police officer at that point. I imagine there was some anger and a bit of fear on his part. My father had unwittingly placed him in a vulnerable position. Could my father have been reaching for a gun? Why did this big man get out of the car?

The police man ordered my father back in the car, wrote a ticket, and we went our separate ways, my father rightfully chastened by the infraction.

This could have ended very differently – and by recent statistics, based on the color of my father’s skin.

I don’t think this is solely or even primarily a police problem. I think it is a human problem. We are more anxious, suspicious, and fearful of people who are different from us than people who are like us.  I know I am. When I am walking by myself in DC, I am more wary of people of color who walk near me than others. I wish it wasn’t so, but it is.

Something needs to be done with our justice system – I plan to join other faith leaders on the march in DC on December 13 to speak out for racial justice.

But something also needs to be done with me.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s