Hey, my name is Dexter, I’m black, and I’m from southern
When I was in college, which was a few years ago now, a lot
of friends used to make fun of me because I was really strict about how I
drove. If you got in my car, you couldn’t ride without a seatbelt, I wouldn’t
speed – I would never go over the speed limit – I wouldn’t make illegal U-turns,
things like that. And so my friends would kind of joke with me and say, ‘Oh you’re
a goodie two-shoes’ or whatever. Which is especially kind of funny for them, I
guess, because I had this sports car which, it wasn’t expensive, but you know,
I kept it clean and it looked nice.
And one of these friends who used to kind of poke fun at me –
I won’t say what she was, but young lady my age, and I’ll just say that she
wasn’t black and she wasn’t brown. I don’t remember where we were going but it
was after dark and I think picked her up from her place, we were driving, and I
think we got about two blocks before we were pulled over.
So I saw the flashing lights and the sirens and I pulled
over and they didn’t say I was speeding, they didn’t say tags were expired,
anything like that, they just said they were checking, they were just checking,
that’s what they said.
And they pulled the flashlight out, they shined it on me,
they shined it on her, they asked if she was OK, and she said yeah. And then
let me go once he saw my license and registration.
So I think she was a little confused, but we kept driving.
And I think I got maybe another 10-15 blocks or so before I got pulled over
again. Same thing happened — I wasn’t speeding, I wasn’t doing anything wrong,
they just pulled over and they said they were just checking, this was a
different officer. And again, I showed my driver’s license, I showed my registration,
I was very police — ‘Yes sir, no sir’ — and eventually they said ‘OK. Sorry for
taking up your time, go ahead.’
As I was driving, I realized that the person sitting next to
me was shaking, and I looked over at her and she asked me, ‘Is this what
happens? Is this what it’s like?’ And I didn’t really know how to answer her
because yeah, it is. And black people, black men do get pulled over a lot for
no reason, and I’d been profiled constantly, and it was to the point where actually
it didn’t bother me anymore because I was so used to it. But it really affected
her, she was actually furious — she was saying ‘I can’t believe they’d do this,
this is wrong, we have to do something about this, can’t we call somebody, can’t
we go anywhere.’
Maybe I was a little insensitive but I said no, I don’t
think so – I can’t think of anything to do right now, let’s just go to wherever
we’re going. And she started crying and I didn’t know what to do, and so we
went wherever we were going – I don’t remember at this point – but she never
rode with me anywhere ever again.
- Dexter Thomas
Share your story of a time you were pulled over.