The Post Game Show

Saturday, February 09, 2008

"You know, the cops are giving you a hard time for some ignorant reasons, and it's not fair," my co-worker said to me a couple of weeks ago. "Believe me, I know," I responded with a laugh. I didn't bother telling him the ignorance I've encountered in four months in St. Mary's County is fairly new to me, and while Delaware is in no position to declare itself a beacon for racial harmony, two incidents with county deputies and a Maryland state trooper have heightened my sense of "hell yes, it's still out here." The it would be racism, and while I never was one to believe that it didn't exist, I'll just say these two incidents opened my eyes wider than they already were.

I briefly highlighted the first incident in November when I bumped into a parked car, left my information and tried to wait on the woman whose car I hit, but I HAD to go back to the office. So I get an anonymous call on my cell phone from the deputy saying that my actions were "an arrestible offense," and that I should come back to straighten this out. Mind you I LIVE at the complex where the accident took place, I couldn't skip town, you know?

So I go back to my building, nervous as hell, and he says "well, there's no cause to arrest you, we just wanted to straighten this thing out and have a switch of information." He went on to say most people wouldn't even leave a letter or contact information after hitting someone's car, and that my action was "admirable." Yeah, but you were threatening me with lock-up 15 minutes earlier.

Act 2, December 11th. I'm driving along 235 North, a stretch of highway where EVERYBODY is doing above the posted speed limit of 55 MPH, and this state trooper in a black car on 235 SOUTH, makes a U-Turn and pulls me over for doing 74 in a 55 and no seatbelt (I take the heat for the seatbelt). So he takes my DE license and says "you've been here how long?" At this point, it's one and a half months, so I say I've been here since Mid-to-late-October, and he says "you've been here a few months. Not changing your license is (y'all guessed it) an arrestible offense, but you're fortunate your license is valid."

After being made aware by a former member of county government that NEITHER instance would involve me being in a holding cell, it just made me that much more suspicious of white people in general. Granted, we could be less than nine months away from electing the first black president in this country's sordid history, but it will not stop the ignorance and fear from projecting itself on to the skin of people of color, especially us nigras.

Totally reminds me of a time-worn essay I've read from high school to college called "Black Men and Public Space," by a brother named Brent Staples. He highlights an incident in Chicago in the mid-70s, where he was a grad student, minding his own business in Hyde Park when a white woman HAULS ASS at the mere sight of him. The general gist of the essay, unfair as it is, that black is the code color for all things negative, criminal, sinister and fear-inspiring. While some people run away in fear, others use means of authority to try to put the scary darkie in his place. Enter Maryland's finest. I grew up knowing Wilmington DE cops and as dangerous as that city is, they still try to maintain some semblance of affability and open-mindedness as they do what they're paid to do.

St. Mary's County is about as dangerous as a ladybug, so apparently a black man on his way to work in a red late model Bonneville poses a threat to the dull way of life this place provides. I see now.

And with my vision cleared up just to bit, wherever my travels take me in life, fair or unfair, I'll have my knowledge of traffic law in each place handy so I won't end up as another Rodney King. Sad to say, we CAN'T all just get along.


  • At 3:17 PM, Blogger memphiz said…

    They know they love putting somebody in jail i tell you..a shame!

  • At 4:32 PM, Blogger jameil1922 said…

    that is that BULL!! that's why i ALWAYS tell people to know their rights. don't just believe everything those people tell you! same as everyone else. people will bend the truth to get their way. make sure you're on the right side of that fight!! ridiculous.

  • At 12:42 AM, Blogger CNEL said…

    LoL my friend from Bmore lives in St. Mary's too and works at Honeywell, LoL. He comes to Bmore every weekend haha.Hmm. I wonder why.

  • At 6:53 PM, Blogger La said…

    That's so ridiculous. I had a friend that was a cop that told me that they actually count on you not being familiar with obscure traffic laws that they can "quote" with authority so they have the chance to actually see if they CAN get you on something. So pathetic

  • At 9:01 AM, Blogger Chris said…

    Yeah Memph, the shit's crazy, isn't it? I've been real careful because now it's been four months since I've been here and I don't want no drama from these racist-ass jakes.

    I know Jam, I've actually started researching policy and procedure for traffic stops in this state, and I might even apply for a legal defense fund if things get crazy, LOL

    CNel, trust me, when I leave St. Mary's County, it will be for good!

    That sounds like some foolishness they would do down this way, La, so I'm definitely going to be on my Ps and Qs from now on.


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