The journey of being a Black Man is filled with ups and downs, joys and pains, sorrows and triumphs. While always a roller coaster of emotions, I would not trade it for the world. Being a Black Man also gives you a lens and perception that has been framed by your daily reality and that reality and experience of those who look like you. While no two experiences are the same, when it comes to stories of racism, social justice, bias and the Black Man’s Journey, my brothers and I have a lot of moments when we say, “That happened to you too?” When we ask the question, most times it is not a question but instead a statement. A statement that is all to familiar and connected with consistent mistreatment and misperceptions of who we are. The bias against us is real and sometimes it is NOT unconscious.
As I journey through the life of being a Black Man, sometimes a situation happens that lets me know that the views of the world towards me and my reality of living in this world has forever changed me. While driving home tonight, I was fast approached by a police car coming up on my right hand side while my daughter and I were on the highway. At first I thought ok where is my wallet? Is it in my back pocket? Do I need to reach for it? Who should I call if I get stopped to identity my whereabouts. What will happen to my daughter? How will she be impacted by this stop? Will she be safe? All of this and more raced through my head. The police car did not stop. Instead, it raced by and approached quickly two other police cars that were on the side of the road with lights flashing. Those police cars were directly behind a black SUV. I saw the driver of the SUV with his hands out of the window with what looked like keys in his hands. The police appeared to be on the side of their respective vehicles with their guns drawn. This I am not sure of, but it is what it looked like to me.
As I drove by, the first things that came to my mind were, Was that another Black Man in the SUV? Is he OK? Will he be safe? My second thoughts were, Should I circle back on the highway? Should I circle back and pull up behind the cop cars and use my camera phone? Will my daughter be safe? Will I be safe. Am I overacting? I also thought I know some good cops. Some cops ate my good friends. These are probably good cops. So many statements and questions running through my head. Made Me Wanna Holler.
As I kept driving home, my 7 year old asked, “Daddy, what would happen if we got stopped?” My mouth got dry. I took a couple of deep breaths and then asked her, “What do you think will happen?” She said she did not know. I knew I could not leave her with that thought, so I said we would be OK. I told her the police would just help us out and make sure we are safe. They would position their cars so no one would hurt us from highway traffic. I said we would be OK. This is is the substance of what I hoped for and the evidence of what could be seen if we were stopped. I have faith. However, my faith is tempered by my Black Man Experience, My Black Man Reality, My Journey with Philando Castile and his family while serving under Governor Dayton and the fear and insecurity and doubt when you see a different experience for you and those that look like you in this country. Made Wanna Holler.
Tonight Made Me Wanna Holler. I don’t know what happened to the driver of the vehicle. I don’t know the probable cause the officers had to stop the vehicle. I don’t know the demeanor, professionalism or bias of the officers. I don’t know what animus was, or could be exhibited by the passenger in the car. I don’t know anything because I kept driving. However, I do know that my experience and the experiences of other Black Me. who look like me Makes Me Wanna Holler because every time this happens, I have to process my angst, anger and fear and my daughter has to say to herself, “What will happen to us Daddy?”
Makes Me Wanna Holler…………