Conversations with a Black Man in America: “You’re Not Going to Believe This, but…”

I’ve been asking my husband (Don) random questions about different things, and lately he’s been relating some stories that sound mind-blowing to me (a foreigner to this land of dreams), but apparently they’re SSDD to him and most Black men in the United States of America. Oh, SSDD means Same Shit Different Day.

You should know that Don is a 6’5 tall Black man. Well, he is mixed. With Black.

One day, in the early 2000s, on the hills of Tallahassee, he was riding with his friend Jonathan. Now, Jonathan looks Asian or Hispanic (Whose panic?), but is the sum of a few ethnic groups. As they were riding from the grocery store to their friend’s house, they were pulled over by the police. Shining lights, guns drawn, officers yelling…it was going down!

As Jonathan and Don got out of the vehicle and leaned on the hood of Don’s truck as instructed, one of the police officers went back to their patrol car as one stayed with Don & his friend. Lo and behold, the police officer came back to them and said:

“You’re not going to believe this, but you fit a description” both explaining the stop, and having realized Don & Jonathan were not who the cops were looking for.

Jonathan immediately responded with: “Oh I believe it!”

Thankfully the officer gave them back their identification, acknowledging his mistake, and let them go on their…merry…way? Yeah, we’ll pick the word merry.

If you’re like me, and you’re not used to this experience, the point in sharing it is that it is a very common experience for many African American males in the U.S. Some have ended in imprisonment and fatalities, so yes: merry is the perfect ending for Don and Jonathan’s encounter with the Tally police.

***Disclaimer: This post is not meant to paint all police officers as bad or racist. It is only one of many stories of a system that needs to be changed for the better; for both civilians and civil servants.

Photo Credits:

Police lights: <a href="http://Highway Patrol Images, CC BY 2.0 Wiki Commons

Tight rope: this post’s author

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