Being A Black Mother in America: A Recent Encounter with Law Enforcement

Disclaimer: This post is not about sexuality.

On Saturday, I experienced a very traumatic event. I was stopped by an officer and subjected to what seems to be a common experience between black people in America and law enforcement. At 32, this was my first and only experience with such a situation.

Of everything that I had gone through, the most hurtful things that I heard came from people closest to me. Some in the way of passive victim-blaming.

Thing one:

Did you record it? You should know better than that by now.

Yes, I certainly do. I know that if I attempt to record I could potentially record my own murder and that is not something I want the world and most of all my children to have to watch over and over again. In the midst of the situation, I was truly amazed at how at peace I was. Many things crossed my mind and each one so clear, clearer than ever. The Universe whispered to me be still a few times throughout the incident.

Thing two:

Well at least he acknowledged your son.

It is so sad how we’ve come to view the bare minimum as acceptable and I see this phenomenon everywhere, especially among our youth in school. “Well, at least I did something,” they say of their work assignments.

At least he acknowledged my son? Barely and this is not acceptable.

“You could have been dragged from your car, thrown to the ground, and held at gunpoint until we determine that you weren’t a threat,” the officer says to me in front of my son. “But fortunately that didn’t happen because you have your kid in the car and that would have been a bad thing for him to have to see.”

This would have been a bad thing for him to see? Not a bad thing for an officer of the law to do or not for an officer to even threaten to do within earshot of my son but just a bad thing for my son to have to see.

This officer caused me undue stress and psychological trauma; a memory that will dwell with me for my eternal beingness but we have to find someplace to give him some kind of credit so at least he acknowledged your son.

No, no, no! None of that shit is acceptable. NONE of it. You have no right to threaten a person of bodily harm, especially one that has shown no physical or verbal aggression towards you in anyway.

Thing three:

Be careful out here.

This comment wasn’t as hurtful as the thought that it invoked.

My response was, how does one be careful in such a situation, I wonder. I stopped without incident. I was calm. Yet he still approached me with an aggressive and threatening tone. The scariest thing was knowing that there is no way to guarantee my own safety in such a situation.

Even so, in the midst of this terrifying situation, I recognize this familiar feeling. That feeling you get when you know a person is threatened by you. As scary as the situation was, I felt so empowered by that feeling. Clearly it was not my skin that was threatening to him; it was not my demeanor; it was not my behavior; it was not my actions; it was not my tone, so he was clearly threatened by a presence that could not be physically observed. The presence of a great and immeasurable power.

This was a feeling that I could never figure out. I could never figure out what would possess a person to dislike or hate another person that they knew absolutely nothing about so much so that they would threaten them with physical harm and in the process cause psychological trauma. My mother would often try and help me make sense of this experience.

This officer is clearly threatened by my presence, by my Beingness, by my very physical existence in this world but why is a question I’d often ask my mother.

She’d tell me, it’s because you’re beautiful, because you’re intelligent, and because they want what you have. Those things, those beautiful things my mother taught me about myself are preserved in my soul, eternally. This officer recognize my power, he was intimidated and threatened by that power so he attempted to project them into the world and into me so that I might react in a threatening manner and give him a reason to try to stifle or even kill my power.

You can kill the revolutionary but you cannot kill the revolution. Fred Hampton

But I was on my way to see the Black Panther movie and I was so inspired and so empowered just by the mere thought that I was going to see this movie My Soul said to me, he will take nothing from you today and you will not give him anything. And with those words I mustered up all the apathy I had inside which is not very difficult, and that is what I gave him all while being 100% compliant to his direction.

You think that might help him calm down, nope and his partner’s support of his attempt to justify his behavior and state of mind didn’t help either.

Many questions cross my mind one was, Are police officers trained to subject people to such psychological trauma? Another question was, Would he do this to me if I were a white woman? Why is this even necessary? It certainly qualifies as excessive use of force in my book.

It was quite an interesting social experience that I am thankful to have lived to tell about as crazy as that statement is to me.

“Routine Police Interaction Turns Deadly.”

I don’t even watch the news so I certainly don’t want my own segment. This is just one of those things that just happens to other black people well it happened to me. #theotherblackpeople

This incident may have been racially motivated but it was not about race. It was so clear to me that this incident was about power, the power that that officer thought he had over me, but quickly realized that that wasn’t so and so he came at me in an aggressive manner. Perhaps half hoping to get a rise out of me; to get an excuse for what he might have done. Something that I think he’d certainly planned to do because he verbalized it quite well.

Why did he feel that it was necessary or even appropriate to threaten me in such a violent manner?

I’m still sorting through all my feels and affects. My son is unbothered by the entire situation because I raise him this way.

Thank you to everyone for your kind words and support.

Spread the love & liberation

2 thoughts on “Being A Black Mother in America: A Recent Encounter with Law Enforcement

  1. This is disgusting and unacceptable but I am so happy with your insight and grace in understanding and dealing with the situation. Additionally it’s a major key that you’ve taught your son not to be affected because ultimately fear and inferiority is what “they” want.

    When I hear things like this I feel somewhat glad to live in London.

    Glad to hear u share out of sexual context. It’s nice to have your thoughts as it feels like I know you a little bit more.

    Thank you

  2. Pingback: Ode To Dark Skin - Your Heavenly Body

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