#BlackLivesMatter - A Personal Account of Racism
Updated: Aug 5, 2020
A little narrative called, “Rashida Gets Pulled Over."
This is NOT an anti-cop post though it does feature a cop. This is a small example of the systemic racism that exists in this country that others find it so damn hard to believe. This is a simple story. This shows you how quickly it happens. How a small incident in the grand scheme of my life…could have been the end of it.
Get yourself some coffee and settle in.
A few years ago I was on my way to the Lake of the Ozarks for a bach party. I usually take highway 44 and then backroads simply because it seems to keep the drive interesting. This time around I was driving with one of my white best friends…this is important to the story.
We turn onto a back road and before I know it a police officer is behind me with his lights on so I pull over into the first place I can which happens to be the long driveway to someone’s home…also an important detail. The exchange went like this…
Cop: Do you know how fast you were going?
Me: I’m not entirely sure officer [This is a lie. I did know and yes it was fast, but not nearly as fast as he said simply because I had just accelerated from a stop sign and I’m sorry but Chevy Cruz’s don’t pick up speed that quickly.]
Cop: I’ve been behind you on this road over 2 miles and you were speeding the entire time. [This is inaccurate. My Apple maps said I’d barely been on the road for a mile, and again I had just come to a full stop]
Me: [Realizing my skin color and where I’m at aka the middle of nowhere Missouri] I’m sorry, sir. Here are my license and insurance card.
Cop leaves and comes back
Cop: Well it looks like you’re not a criminal. You don’t have a record. But is Dinehart really your last name? [Dinehart is a German last name so he was probably wondering how a black woman would end up with a “white” last name. Now logic and the wedding ring on the finger should have told this officer that I am married…and likely to a white man since he seems to care so much.]
Me: Yes sir, I just got married.
Cop: Now you were speeding and if you had been going even 5 more miles over I could take you to jail. If you’d been a criminal I could take you right to jail. You’re lucky. [Wait….what? I’m lucky I haven’t committed a crime in my past and that my car has shitty acceleration?]
Cop: I’m going to give you a ticket and you’re going to need to appear in court, [No I won’t. Believe or not though I’m black I have resources] and this will go on your record [Again, not likely but sure…]
Me: ok officer
Cop: Now I’m going to let you leave [Gee thanks]. And don’t pull up too far in this driveway to turn around. They’re not nice people…..[GEE THANKS!]
Me: ok thank you, officer.
Anyone who knows me well knows that biting my tongue is actually not something I make a practice of. Rarely in my adult life have I let someone speak to me in any kind of demeaning manner (like I’ve quit jobs for less). But in this moment, in this middle of nowhere Missouri, I knew that I was not safe. I knew that this was not the time for normal-I’m-sorry-what-Rashida. I knew that in this situation the only goal was to get out safely. Looking back I also know that if my white friend hadn’t been in the car with me….that situation would have likely gone a completely different way.
For the record, I am top grad from the University of Missouri Journalism School, I pay my taxes, and at the time I worked in a corporate office, but all that cop saw was a black girl in a place she didn’t belong….but sure, racism doesn’t exist.
Now is the time to raise your voice against systemic racism, people! Now! Educate yourself. Do the work. Get uncomfortable.