I live in a part of town where I’m a racial minority. I’m white, most of my neighbors are black. Tonight as I was walking home from a friends‘ place, a police car rolled up next to me and the officer rolled down his window.
I was totally vibing to a new song I’d discovered on my craigslist-purchased ipod. I’m embarrassed to say what the song was. But I was listening to it for the 10th time that day.
When I noticed the police car driving slowly along next to me, I took out my headphones to listen to the cop.
“Do you live up here?”
Here I should point out that I’ve heard of other white folks in my neighborhood being given a hard time for walking down the street- presumed to be in the neighborhood to buy drugs or sex- and I always imagined that if I were in their shoes I’d be witty, brilliant, and totally put the cops in their place.
“On W St.,” I said.
Witty. Biting sarcasm. Oh well. He was a cop.
“What’s your address?” the cop pressed further.
Here’s the part of the story where I should tell you how I put the cop in his place, pointed out his stereotyping behavior, and totally remade the social order in Richmond.
Instead, I told him my address.
He drove off.
Maybe next time…