Terrence Walker took his son, Joseph, to take his driver's test. Waiting outside he saw his son come around the corner with a big smile on his face. He passed! Terrence burst into a big smile, and tears. The smile was due to his happiness and pride. The tears were in part because his wife, Tracy, was not there to experience the joy and pride, she never would have missed an event like this.
The tears were also fear inspired. His son would now be another kid driving with all the dangers of driving on the road, plus, “...the liberation he’s attaining comes with the huge danger of him being a black male driving”, Terrence said.
I’m pretty sure that every Black man can tell stories of being stopped while driving simply for being Black. Neil Degrasse Tyson talks about it as does Barack Obama, Johnnie Cochran, Will Smith, Gary Sheffield, and Eric Holder, Chris Rock, Michael Brown, Don Lemon, Serena Williams, and even a Republican Senator.
Senator Tim Scott of South Carolina, the only African American Republican in the Senate, spoke on the Senate floor in 2016 about how he experienced racial profiling while driving in his car, adding "I do not know many African-American men who do not have a very similar story to tell – no matter their profession, no matter their income, no matter their disposition in life." en.wikipedia.org/...
In St. Paul, Minnesota, of 41,000 drivers stopped, 26% were African American even though only around 11% of the city is black.
In Michigan, probable cause searches were conducted on 23% of black drivers pulled over even though the population of the state is 13.8%. courses2.cit.cornell.edu/...
...police statistics showing that along the portion of I-95 through Maryland, 70% of drivers stopped were African American even though they comprised 20% of travelers. www.aclu.org/...
Terrence Walker has those stories. He also tells a story of an accident that occurred in front of an apartment he was living in. A white woman, obviously drunk, hit a fire hydrant with her car. Terrence went out to help. When the police arrived, they were suspicious. A white woman and a Black man, hmmm. Terrence explained that he lived there and had nothing to do with the accident.
Back in his apartment Terrence marveled at the treatment the woman received. No handcuffs, no up against the car. The police had her car towed and drove her to where she was going. The fire department came and fixed the hydrant.
Terrence realized that it was safer to be white and drive drunk that to drive while being Black. How can he teach his son to be safe when, as a Black man, he can’t keep himself safe?
This is a thing every black family knows about and teaches their kids, especially their sons, how to deal with. Comics (the best sociologists around) have been talking about this for decades.
Below is the guy, Franklin Ajaye, who started the gist of the DWB riff, in blue language. Jeffrey Joseph cleaned it up when he was on Johnny Carson. Can’t find a video of that but here is Jeffrey in another routine. (The first 2 minutes of this video below say it all.)
So, how can Terrence Walker keep his son safe when he can’t keep himself safe? That’s a big deep question and the answers are going to be deep and wide, but I can’t help but think having more People of Color, more Black men, in public office will help.
www.bet.com/… Driving While Black APP developers offer advice
Mobile Justice App — ACLU
I keep my wallet in my cup holder and my insurance and registration in my visor. When I’m pulled over, I toss my wallet on the dashboard, roll down the window and keep my hands on the wheel,” he told CNN. “That way, I don’t have to reach for anything.” other tips here
Not only does Driving While Black provide information about civil rights, it also allows users to send an alert to family or friends when they’ve been pulled over and even record interactions with police officers. Driving While Black APP apkpure.com/...
Media and other coverage:
ABC — Driving While Black part 1 and 2
Driving While Black — film
Driving While Black: Race, Space, and Mobility in America — PBS