People that I work with tell me to stick to real estate when blogging. They are concerned that something offered that is religious, political or too personal might turn off a potential client. I get that. Of course, that leads to the question of personal values against the need to earn a living. In the service industries, the mindset of the your client is not supposed to matter. You are encouraged to overlook things that you might find distasteful in a client; just do your job and collect your money.
Sorry. I have tried. I just can’t do it. I believe that everyone is touched by their beliefs. And those beliefs reach out and touch everyone around us. I also believe that it is better to be who you are than offer some fabricated version of yourself that is merely attempting to mirror the beliefs of your clients. My beliefs about life, love and the world we live in influence my every act. If being true to myself costs me money (it probably has), well that is just the price you pay.
There is a reason for the preamble. I want everyone that takes the time to read this to actually think about it.
WHAT IS YOUR FIRST THOUGHT IF YOU SEE THIS IN YOUR REAR VIEW MIRROR?
Your answer will certainly be influenced by your actions prior to hearing the siren behind you. Or maybe not. Maybe your thoughts will go to other things. Everyone does not feel the same way. For the purpose of this exercise, I want to preclude the notion that you are being sought by the authorities for criminal behavior. The thoughts of those folks does not concern me right now.
An interesting side note… everyone that takes part will believe that their first thought is normal and they will be surprised at the first thoughts that are not the same as theirs.
Now, I step off the ledge. If you are white, your answer may be along the lines of anger. Angry that you are being stopped when “you weren’t going faster than anyone else.” Angry that your day is being disrupted for some ” insignificant offense”. Possibly cursing, you begin to look for your registration while planning your script for the upcoming interaction with the police officer. Life is like that for most white people I asked.
If you are black, your answer will be influenced by your age and where you are stopped. The under thirty crowd may be angry. Angry that they are being stopped “just because we are young and black”. Angry that their day is being disrupted for “nothing”. Possibly cursing, they begin to prepare for the side of the road, up against the car pat down that is probably coming their way.
If they are stopped below the “Mason Dixon” line, they may also be in fear for their life. Older black’s may hear that siren and see that car in the rear view mirror and immediately feel a tightening in their chest. Memories of a not so distant past will super charge their fear response. Angry? Probably. Probably angry that the fear remains. Probably angry about a unwritten system of profiling that lives outside of the written policies and procedures in the law. If they are stopped below the “Mason Dixon” line, their memories and fears are multiplied ten-fold.
If you are a hispanic, your answer will be influenced by the political climate that surrounds you. In some cases, having a valid drivers permit will not be sufficient. You will have to think…do I have proof of my legal status with me? What will happen to my family? Where will this seemingly innocuous traffic stop lead? Is it possible that a “broken tail light” could lead to me being locked up until I can prove I am here legally? If you are stopped in some areas of the country, you immediately begin to fear the coming interaction with the authorities. You have lived with the hate and vitriol for a long time.
Why do I ask?
Trayvon Martin was shot dead on February 26th, 2012. He was not stopped by the police. He was shot by a neighborhood watch captain (George Zimmerman). His crime was returning from a local store with Skittles and iced tea. Trayvon was only 17 years old. He was not armed with anything more than his dreams of a long happy life. He was shot and killed. At some point, the legal system will deal with George Zimmerman. The aftermath of the shooting has ripped the scab of wounds that have never healed. People have come forward in droves with stories of profiling and police brutality.
It is not a surprise that once again the name of Emmett Till has surfaced. For as much as people think that “things have changed”, some things appear to remain the same. The story has been picked up by the media. Anger is festering in many areas across the country. Celebrities have begun to seize the opportunity to link themselves to a hot button issue. You can read about it on Change.org
NOW, TRY TO UNDERSTAND HOW PEOPLE OF OTHER RACES OR ETHNIC GROUPS MIGHT FEEL SEEING THIS IN THEIR REAR VIEW MIRROR
I would like it if things were as they should be. They aren’t. No one should live in fear of those pledged to protect them. Respect for the law does not come easy if those chosen to enforce the law abuse the law. I guess there will be some that will claim I see demons where only shadows exist. Maybe so. But those shadows are from very ugly images of a yesterday that remains much too close for comfort.