I’ve been learning how to drive every day of my life.
Once, nearly a decade ago, I got pulled over four blocks from my house. I was riding back from football practice with a friend, something my folks weren’t in the habit of letting me do. This friend was a good guy, and my parents had met him before, and they swore their unease hadn’t stemmed from distrust or suspicion — but my friend was black. I am, too. And we lived in this mostly white Texan town. Two black boys in a car will catch problems all over the world, but as far as my folks were concerned, geography wasn’t in our favor.
They let me go, though. I guess we thought, What could happen? And what happened was nothing, at least for most of the drive. We made it across the feeder road, under the highway, and past the gas station before we finally paused at a stoplight and I made eye contact with this cop.
He’d settled across the street. I remember him giving me a stare. I remember the face he made, like he was deep in thought.
I remember not thinking much of it. And the light had already turned. And we hadn’t done anything wrong. Maybe 30 seconds later, the siren popped off.
What the fuck, said my friend.
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