Terrence Walker’s son just got his drivers learning permit. Most parent’s nightmare, really. Terrence is the father of a Black child and has several nightmares about his son driving. One thing he is certain of is the kind of car he wants to get his son — a hooptie.
An old beat-up Chevy S10 that can handle the “bangs and bruises” that it will have with a new driver behind the wheel, says Terrence.
The definition of a hooptie is an old beat-up car. They are well loved in some circles. There is a Hooptiex every year and a Hoopticon. NOT for beginning drivers!
Sadly, Terrence’s wife isn’t here to join in the excitement and worry of a son first learning to drive. She died of colon cancer before her 50th birthday. She was the driver of the family too. She grew up in a rural area driving tractors at a young age.
Terrence grew up in the inner city using public transportation and didn’t learn to drive until his 30’s. He tells a story of his uncle deciding to teach him to drive.
He had me get in behind the steering wheel, which I did. He got in the passenger side, and I asked, “Which is the brake and which is the gas?” His uncle said “MOVE”!!
There is a lot to be said for public transportation being a safe way for teens to travel. Virginia isn’t a place with a lot of public transportation so Terrence’s son will have to learn to drive a car. That’s a scary thought, so of course you want your child in the safest car possible.
The safest car for a black child in America is often one with a white driver. Short of that, most parents want a big, strong (steel if possible) car for their child to learn in. Wanting a Hummer or some kind of tank is not going too far.
Price needs to be considered also though. At the very least, curbs are going to be run over. Terrence thinks $600 to $800 is a good place to start. Something you’ll be ok replacing if, heaven forbid, something bad does happen.
These are the kinds of things that a single parent with a teenager thinks about while also running for political office in order to try to help other folks and their families.