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Merlin sitting in the Van

I have not told this story before. I worry how it will be received. I don’t know the right language to express it other than my own thoughts and feelings. This post is not for people of color because they already know it. This is for white people living in suburbs and small towns who think this is a big city problem.

Before moving to New York City, I drove every where. I got pulled over 3 times in 15 years; two speeding tickets and an illegal left hand turn.

The first year I was back in Michigan, I got pulled over 5 times. Each time it was for impeding traffic and I did not get a ticket.

I drove a dark grey, 1998 Chevy Venture van that was in good shape.

The traffic stops were unlike any I had experienced in the past. The first one was in Monroe County on Dixie Highway near Sterling State Park. I was coming home from the park with my dogs. The sun was setting and it was twilight. My Poodle, Merlin, sat in the passenger seat and Indy, a Jack Russel Terrier, was in the back. I was driving down Dixie Highway at 50 mph, which is the speed limit. Flashing lights popped up behind me. My heart raced. What did I do? I pulled over and tried to calm down; I didn’t want to look suspicious.

It was a Monroe County Sheriff. I thought one of my running lights was out. As the sheriff approached my van, he unfastened the holster of his gun. I had not experienced this before. I wrote it off as the new standard procedure on all traffic stops. Or maybe this guy was a cowboy.

The officer asked where I was going. He looked in the window and flashed his light on Merlin and his demeanor changed. The stern look on his face disappeared, but he seemed annoyed. I thought I was going to get a ticket for Merlin being in the front seat. He didn’t ask if I’d been drinking or had any weapons. He asked to see my license, looked at it under his flashlight and handed it back. Then he explained he pulled me over because I was going 3 miles under the speed limit and was impeding traffic. There were no other cars on the road. I said I was not aware of it. He told me to keep an eye on it and that he was giving me a warning. I thanked him. He walked back to his car.

I remember being confused about it, but since I didn’t get a ticket, I didn’t think to much about it. Impeding traffic, never heard of it.

Same thing happened in Flat Rock and Huron Township. Impeding traffic, didn’t get a ticket. On the third stop, I asked one of the officers if impeding traffic was a new law in Michigan and he got a little snappy with me. The oddest one was the second time I got stopped in Huron Township.

Merlin was a tall dog who often sat in the passenger seat. When he was in the passenger seat or the back seat, he was tall enough to be mistaken for a person, especially at night. When the officer got to my window he asked, “Who’s in the back? I said, “No one. Just my dogs.” He asked me two more times. “Who’s in the back?” And I said, “It’s a dog.” He asked me to take the dog out of the vehicle.

I got out, called Merlin to the front and took him out through the driver’s side door. The officer said, “Is that a Poodle?” I said yes and put Merlin back in the van. The officer seemed mad, like I tricked him somehow and was wasting his time as he explained the impeding traffic law

After that, I had the speedometer on the van checked to see if it was working correctly. It was.

The scariest one was the night I was driving home from my sister’s house at around 10 pm. I was going down Middlebelt Road, again in Huron Township. There was a Huron Township police car behind me since I turned onto Middlebelt. I kept checking my speedometer and I was doing the speed limit. After about a mile, he turned on his lights. I thought, “Again?” It is frustrating to be pulled over repeatedly by the police. Your heart races every time and you are scared. There is the thought, “What if it’s not the real cops?”

This time there were two Huron Township SUV police vehicles that pulled me over. One cop walked up on the passenger side of my van. I saw him in the sideview mirror unholstering his gun as he sidled up to the window where Merlin was sitting. His fingers relaxed slightly when he saw Merlin. Merlin rarely barked at people.

I thought, “Holy crap! Maybe my van matches the description of a vehicle used in a crime.” This is a rural area, it’s about 10 pm and it is dark out. I’m a woman alone. Thank God I had Merlin with me.

I rolled down my window and was asked to roll down the passenger window. I did. I asked the officer, “Did I do something wrong?” because I was at a loss. He asked me if I’d been drinking and if I had any weapons. I said no. He took my license and examined it with his flashlight. He handed it back and asked where I was going. I was heading home and explained where that was and the route I was taking to get there. The whole time the other cop is still standing on the passenger side with his hand on his holstered gun.

The first officer explained I was driving erratically and going 5 miles under the speed limit and went through the impeding traffic law as if I was five years old. I didn’t get a ticket.

It was puzzling and irritating. I felt I was being punished for driving an old van. But what could I do?

One day, sitting at a restaurant having breakfast with my Dad; our old neighbor came in and said, “There’s a black man stealing your van. He’s behind the wheel right now.” I paused a minute and realized he was referring to Merlin. Bells went off.

I was furious. I wanted to go home and rage at every police department that pulled me over. I wasn’t impeding traffic, it’s not my van, it’s not my driving–they thought Merlin was a black man!

That’s why I kept getting pulled over. They thought it was a black man in an old van. I was so angry I wanted to drive to Dearborn at night with Merlin in the passenger seat and create a big stink when I got pulled over. “Call the news!” I’d shout! I wanted to rage at someone. But who? I couldn’t prove any of it. If only I’d realized it as it happened.

There were plenty of times black men pulled up next to me when Merlin was in the passenger seat and said, “Hey, a brother dog.” I should have known. John Steinbeck wrote in “Travels with Charley,” Charley was also a Poodle, that he had to be careful driving in the South. He got in trouble a few times because people thought Charlie was a black man. How could I be so stupid!

I stood behind my van with Merlin in the passenger seat and could see how he was mistaken for a black man. I wish I had a photograph.

This happened to me 5 times in the span of about a year. I cannot imagine having it happen several times a week my entire life. As a white woman, getting stopped by the police is scary; it makes my heart race and my stomach hurt. I’m sure a black person’s fear and rage is a hundred times greater.

Since Merlin died, I have not been pulled over once.

This happens daily to black Americans. It’s not right. The fear is real. The rage is real. Black lives matter.

How do we change it?

For more information on how you can be part of the change, check out this excellent post by Michelle Webber on her blog King of States titled, “Racial Justice, A List of Resources for White People Who Are Not on Twitter 24 Hours a Day”

I recommend the book, “Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City.” By Matthew Desmond.

He recommends some very simple changes to stop the eviction cycle that keeps so many in poverty. The first is changing the law so everyone who goes to housing court is represented by a court appointed attorney. It will enforce the laws that already exist. This is what I’m working on to make a change.

Merlin in his usual doo.
Merlin is sitting in the driver’s seat.

Those interested in reading more about Merlin, read the post, “My Friend Merlin” on this blog.

445 thoughts on “A White Woman, Racism and a Poodle

  1. larry bennett says:

    I’m a white male, 70, living in a rural upstate NY area and I’ve run into bad cops. I have an equal rights sticker on the tailgate of my 2017 Toyota pickup. I’m expect that has something to do with it. Cops are people: they can be bad or good. But the good cops have to police the bad ones. Police training in the US is woefully brief and bad. And requirements to become a trainee are often so minimal they are not enough to let you adopt a rescue animal. This is the fault of our government, not our cops.

    Like

  2. tony fry says:

    beautiful choice of animals. a standard poodle and rhodesian ridgebacks; they’re usually enough to terrify authority

    Like

    1. I did have the Ridgeback when this happened. I had Merlin and Indiana Jones, a Jack Russell Terrier. But I agree with you.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Arn says:

    This story sounds completely made up.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Leonora C says:

      Let’s not gaslight. It’s not made up. It’s too bizarre to be a lie.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Ben says:

        You’ve never met anyone completely oblivious to how bad of a driver they are?

        Like

      2. How do you explain 30 some years of driving, including NYC, with only being pulled over 2 before this, and not once since Merlin died? Was I only a bad driver for that span of time?

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    2. M says:

      You are part of the problem.

      Like

    3. clarkcountycriminalcops says:

      That’s your guilt talking.

      Like

    4. Belle says:

      It’s not made up I’m sure. I’m a white woman who in the 90’s drove a Chevy Nova in great condition. I loved that car, but it was 20 years old, and if you live in the Bay Area, you don’t drive an old car if you are white. I got stopped twice, once when I was close to a town that had a high percentage of black residents–the reason given was that my car matched the description of one they were looking for. Really? The other time the young Officer came up to my window with his gun unholstered and up, pointing at me. It was quite terrifying. It was night time and I was on a frontage road next to the freeway which I was going to soon get onto. I had forgotten to put on my lights, that’s why he pulled me over, which I understand, but approaching me with his gun drawn? His explanation for the gun was that “in THIS” neighborhood people sometimes intentionally drive without their lights off, but I’m sure if I had been driving a more upscaled vehicle I would NOT have been approached with a gun pointed at me! Profiling is REAL, and racism is REAL, and this story is REAL.

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      1. Thank you Belle. It cracks me up when people say I made it up, I only wish I was that of a writer. It is real and the more white people stand up say it, the more white people will know it’s true. I grew up knowing racial profiling was real and find it hard to believe people refuse to believe it.

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    5. Lynda says:

      why would you think such a thing, I think it’s totally obvious why she was pulled over

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  4. Leslie Ehrman De Palo says:

    THANKS for the article…we know it is a very real thing for Americans of Color. It must be awful for all of the law abiding People of Color. The question in my mind is WHY do Police Officers pull over anyone driving who is of Color. UNFORTUNATELY, much of the actual answer is that Black crime is staggering and there is so much of it, that it is very difficult for a Police Officer to see anyone who is Black as not a criminal. This is terrible. As a country, we need to figure out a way to stop so much crime from People of Color. The honest statistics show it is way out of proportion to the general population. We have to get to the root of the problem and not sweep all police officers under the rug and say they are all racist and we do not need police officers. The people who need Police Officers the most are the poorest people in our communities, who are usually the victims of all of the Black crime in their own neighborhoods.

    Racism, hatred and prejudice may have gotten the Black community to where it is, but just shouting racism is not the full answer or solution. We have been shouting racism since well before Martin Luther King powerfully articulated it in the 1960s. Although there is still racism today, it will require the Black community itself to show some pride, keep their families together, stop the drug use, the cycle of poverty and incarceration. Even if there are stronger sentences in some cases sadly due to racism, why does there have to be so many cases?

    Apparently, the statistics show that 75% of all children born of a Black Father, have no Black Father — the children are Fatherless throughout their lives. This is a very tough situation for children — they need a family and all the help they can get. IF we gave each and every Black American $150k, that in and of itself would not solve the deep seated problem. To stop this dreadful cycle, should we remove every poor, Fatherless Black child out of their home and raise them in someone else’s more affluent household, no matter their color and heritage?

    I remain hopeful that finding REAL solutions beyond looting, destroying property, hurting, killing and makeshift signs will one day soon solve this very difficult, challenging problem that we ALL must come to terms with for we are all in this community called humankind together. We must face it together…

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    1. This is a typical white person response. Blame the people of color. I have this argument with my Dad all the time. He used to have to collect the money for bad checks written to a grocery store chain that had 20 some stores in the Detroit Metro area. He tends to characterize all black people by those he had to collect money from or go to court when they were prosecuted for shop lifting.

      We argue all the time when he says things like, “That’s how they are.” I tell him all the time it has nothing to do with the color of their skin and everything to do with economics. It was great when the auto industry needed a cheap work force, but where did they live?

      Black Americans have systematically only been allowed to live in the worst areas with the poorest housing. And in Detroit when they decided to build a new expressway, what did they do? Condemned and torn down the black neighborhoods and businesses. That is the underlying cause of the Detroit riots.

      I notice your statistics do not include the percentage of Black Americans who live below the poverty level as opposed to whites?

      Once you are caught in the cycle of poverty it is hard to get out. It steals your energy and wears away your soul. The biggest factor that keeps people in poverty is housing. And poverty is very profitable to a large segment of the population. How can you begin to pull yourself up, as many white like to say, if 80% of you income goes to keeping a roof over your head and they people keeping it that way have every incentive to keep it that way. People living in poverty often have to decide between paying the rent or paying the water bill. Makes a person pretty desperate. And it’s even worse for mothers with kids. Landlords who deal with poor tenants will evict at the drop of a hat because they have a waiting list of oand can re-rent the next day. So, people living in poverty live in chaos; kids constantly changing schools, often they can’t keep a job because they don’t own a car and are constantly looking for a place to live.

      I believe it is this eviction cycle that keeps so many in poverty often for generations. It is a proven fact that if people have a stable home, they are better employees, the kids do better in school, they invest in their neighborhoods and crime goes down.

      Instead of pointing out the results of poverty, do something about it. I’m working on changing the law in my county, than State, so that all people going to housing court have legal representation. This could have a profound effect on people caught in the eviction cycle and save a lot of government money that currently goes to shelters.

      I suggest you read the book, “Eviction: Poverty and Profit in the American City” by Matthew Desmond. I also suggest you look at some of the statistic included in his Eviction Lab. https://evictionlab.org/

      For an example of systemic racism many don’t see, I suggest reading the book, “Pitbull: The Battle over an American Icon,” by Bronwen Dickey. This book taught me to question the myths I was told as a child and to always, always fact check the source of statistics and not to discount my own common sense when people toss out statistics. The main thing I learned from this book, though, was that excluded breed lists on home owner polices and breed prohibiting ordinances in cities have nothing to do with the dog breeds and everything to do with the people who own them.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Rev Mary Bettencourt says:

        I’m glad you replied to this. Blaming the victims is never helpful or justified. .

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Sarah says:

        Thank you Cynthia!! You said all of the things that I wanted to say, and reminded me that while there are many Leslie’s in the world, there are also many amazing individuals like yourself. It helps me to hold-on to hope.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Nat says:

        Hello! Black woman here. I live in a predominantly Black neighborhood and, although I did not grow up in this area, I can tell you hands down that if the education available to children in neighborhoods like mine does not change, Black people will NOT have better lives after all this turmoil in our country. And just another important note – there are decent and generous police officers that my neighbors and I have been able to call on in times of need. Please don’t contribute to them being taken away from us. We would be the #1 victims resulting from all this “defund” talk.

        Like

    2. Erica says:

      With due respect to the comment by Leslie Ehrman De Paola, it isn’t something people of color have to do. Ending racism is something white people have to do.

      There are other issues facing communities of people of color, but ending racism is our job.

      Liked by 4 people

      1. Simone McKenzie says:

        @Leslie: I love that you asked why at the beginning of your comment. But why did you stop asking why by the very next sentence? And why do you not even realize that by doing that you’re establishing two sets of rules. Ever heard of unconscious bias?

        If I keep asking why, here’s how my train of thought goes… Why is the crime rate in black communities so high? Why are so many black women raising kids on their own? Why aren’t the fathers around? Why is it that Blacks represent 34% of the prison population, yet only 13% of the general population? Why are black people convicted of more crimes? What percentage of the black population in America lives below the poverty line? Why is it that 21% of American kids live in poverty, yet 46% of black kids do. Why do the schools in these areas get bare minimum funding, with not support for teachers trying to teach kids who can’t learn because they’re starving?

        But why can’t these kids just pull themselves up by their bootstraps and build a better life for themselves? Is that really what you’er saying here?

        Give yourself a shake. Certainly some do, but the odds are stacked against them. If you’re going to look at a situation, please look at the entire situation. Don’t cherry pick where you ask why to fit a narrative you’re unconsciously reinforcing. Please do check in on the idea of unconscious bias. I mentioned it twice because it’s important.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Mike says:

        And let’s not ever forget that pulling yourself up by your bootstraps is literally impossible. That got forgotten along the way, along with saying like a few bad apples… spoil the barrel.

        They ask the impossible, and in return promise nothing.

        Liked by 2 people

    3. Leah says:

      Please watch 13th on Netflix, I think it will help you understand why those fathers aren’t there.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. One of the things that made me cry on Netflix is “When They See Us.” Unbelievable.

        Liked by 1 person

    4. brian ramirez says:

      Wrong. Black people do not commit nearly as much crime as they are accused of. They are a commodity for a racist, parasitic culture to use for incarceration for profit. You need to pay attention or better, do research and you will learn a bit about the systemic oppression of black people by white people in the most racist country in the world. Police harassment, lying, provocation, planting of evidence and general terrorising is routine. Apparently you learned nothing from the article you supposedly just read.

      Liked by 2 people

    5. leripat says:

      What you have written here could have been a chapter from the book we white people wrote about our culture. Line by line, you have laid out the lies and shadings that have seduced all of us. I’m not going to get into the specifics here. But if you would take the time to do some research and get below that layer of myth, you would find a world of truth that Black people have always known about and that white people are just beginning to see. Read a bit. Have a conversation with a Black person – one in which you ask them what it’s like to be Black in a white culture – and don’t interrupt. Humble yourself. You would be astonished.

      Like

    6. Esther says:

      I second what Cynthia said. Don’t blame the victim. And yes, if the police pull you over for no good reason, or no reason AT ALL, then you’re a victim. In addition to resources Cynthia provided, I encourage you to watch the documentary 13th on Netflix, and then you might think critically about why the black community is disproportionately low income, incarcerated, and fatherless.

      Liked by 2 people

    7. margaret f aeschlimann says:

      you must think harder about causes and solutions. You must turn your attention to economic disparities and the impact poverty has on the lives of people at the bottom of the economic ladder. you might even question why those at the bottom of the economic ladder are so disproportionately black. It is not about crime it is about poverty.

      Like

      1. Daphne Grosett-Ryan says:

        In fact, what the statistics show is a correlation between being poor and being criminal. If you statistically exclude the correlation between being black and being poor there is no correlation between being black and being a criminal.

        Like

      2. editann says:

        White-collar criminals–and I do mean white, also– often skate by unnoticed by the media and the general public; have funds for the best lawyers; have connections through work or social circles, and know how to work the system. I had a white friend tell me she felt bad to see newspaper/TV pictures of black or “Spanish” people who have been arrested. When I asked her why, she said, “Because it reflects so badly on all of ‘them,'” meaning other African Americans or Latinos. I asked what she thinks when she sees pictures of white people who’ve been arrested. She looked startled and said, “I never think anything about it.” We group people of other ethnicities, and individualize ourselves.

        Like

    8. Kelvin Edwards says:

      Once again, I feel to respond to the ignorance peole say the know the problem is with black people., especially, when they had never experienced black life in poverty, literacy, economic woes.

      These statistics you share are so because of systemic racism in the criminal system, housing,access to capital, gentrification, political policies, American amendments. The country was built on a lie, that all people are equal and rights. American experiment is working for only group of people but not so much for another.

      You are generalizing for your justification. You miss the point of this post.

      The point is white people are given many considerations black people are denied.

      The best way to deprive, keep down black people America did with black folk, keep black people down was a flooded inequality policy and policing, through, power of legislation, police to enforce those policies, use the penal system for free slave labor, separate black children from their father’s.
      Best way to destroy a people is erase their identity, dehumanize them, separate them from basic human needs, i.e. capital, housing , education etc.

      Have you ever been desperate for one solution? Black people have been desperate for many solutions for generation after generation.

      White privilege is the consideration you obviously miss and have become complacentinyour enjoyment. .

      Suburbs created in 50’s came from racist socialism

      Federal Government gave 250 billion dollar loans during segregation. Beautiful way to hide segregation but intentionally done in public. Black people could not move there even, if they had the money and money was only given to white people because of segregation for separate skin and have and have nots.

      Look at the Homestead act.
      Who got 100 million acres, for free, hint, not black people.

      Read about reconstruction, jim crow, look at 19th century amendments. Look behind the birth of the nation film and the resurgence of the KKK.

      I remind these ignorant sheet wearers were or are today our public officials, judges, policy makers, police, bank loan officers, cooperation CEOs, supervisors, realitors, to this point this is how red lining was born.

      Black people dont want white people’s stuff for free but equally acess, some consideration white people enjoy in America, around the world.

      Make yourself up for one month , a week as authentic passing black person, go to your places you enjoy without suspicion, fear, or distrust.
      If you tell me you did not experience a sea change of attitude, I will publicly state their is no racism and inequality in America.

      I say this because I know, I will not have to make this statement.

      You cannot be selective when studying history of America and Black history.

      If anyone think black people all do drugs, are lazy, go to jail, steal, have no l control for sex drives for white women, inferior because of their skin I say, this is a person void of knowledge, from their home raising, culture, there political ideas, and void of spiritual knowledge that had led them in these conspiracy theories of lies.

      Some black people are lazy, do drugs , commitment crimes, get divorce and curse from the mouth and are prejudice. But don’t some white people do the same? We make love with our wive’s and our husband’s the same way, cry and weep from pain get frustrated and angry like our white brothers and sisters.

      The protest we see is saying enough is enough. Enough for carrying the burden of being black, explaining our comings and goings; validating we belong, justifying white privilege of their misunderstanding or mission to invalidate what God made.

      Look at human evolution, you may be shocked tiu are my brother.

      You sir, I conclude are obviously starving for more knowledge or you see and don’t want to see.which is it?

      Blessings and many more of the same.

      Liked by 1 person

    9. Lisa says:

      I’ve sadly experienced this many times as a Black woman who lives in a middle class suburb. My heart races as the cops follow me at a distance, sometimes pulling next to me and shining their flashlight through my window as I drive. I have often wondered if there was a report that would show how many times a cop ran my license plate. I make sure that I am never late on getting registration stickers or paying for any parking tickets and when I recently got a tint on my driver and passenger side windows, I made sure to get a fairly light tint. Since Black people get stopped or checked so often, we are subject to getting caught for any of these things. I once read a report in NY times that said despite the fact that the White men who were pulled over by police were more likely to be caught with contraband, Black men continued to be pulled over at a much higher rate.

      Like

      1. patlenzo says:

        I can only imagine the stress that a lifetime of this sort of petty harassment would cause. Each thing you mention seems minor – after all, a cop car following for the few blocks? But when you know that you’re being signaled out, and it can happen at any time, and the tension and fear that you must feel knowing how an encounter could possibly end…. well, I can only imagine. I’m so sorry you have to endure this kind of behavior and we must see that it stops!

        Like

  5. Ron Kuby says:

    Really really well done and well told. The genre “white people talk about discovering racism” is among my least favorite, but you transcend that with a well-told story that his both funny and hard hitting. Bravo.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s a genre?

      Like

  6. Scottie says:

    Reblogged this on Scotties Toy Box and commented:
    Hello FRANKLYWRITE. Wow what more can be said. This is why we need real change in the US, why we need not only political change but a complete change in our view of policing. The change needs to start with the idea that many of the police tactics used today are not needed and out dated. Why with all the cameras do we need to stop a vehicle unless there is risk of life. If it is a minor traffic violation simply record it with the dash cameras, record the plate and send the ticket. Many toll bridges do this. Where I live in Florida we have three toll bridges with no tool collectors, but there are big signs saying drive through, you will be billed in the mail if you do not have one of the transponders. The system works. The idea of the police as catch all who answer every call feeds into the narrative of an occupying force who is used to force obedience. It is a false narrative that needs to be destroyed. To my Toy Box viewers please give this post a read. Hugs

    Like

  7. saitaina says:

    Impeding traffic and driving under the speed limit ARE laws, but start at five mph and slower.

    Sucks this happened and yeah, getting pulled over at night as a woman is terrifying if you can’t see all the details of the car.

    Like

  8. Wow. Scary and disturbing. Thanks for telling your story

    Like

    1. Dina Dashiell says:

      Thank you! The conversations have to happen! Your story can reach people I don’t ever want to talk to, and I can share it with people who won’t talk to you. Appreciate your honesty! Peace & Blessings ♥️

      Like

  9. nemrac71 says:

    Thank you for sharing your story! Although I am so sorry you were targeted, it’s nice when people who are not black realize we are not kidding when it comes to being targeted while driving. Happens to my 71 year old dad. He is U.S. Army vet, served his country and still gets stopped and when they dont find anything they always want to know “why is he on the other side of town so far from his address” smh! It is unreal and frustrating to say the least.

    Like

  10. Anonymous says:

    While I sympathize with every person’s uniquely lived experiences, this one person’s lived experience is not statistically relevant. Anecdotal evidence may or may not be an outlier, an anomaly, or may in fact be representative of what’s going on, but ultimately stories such as such as this one rely upon looking at data and facts to make a significant point. This article is a story with a narrative that does not in any way cite facts or statistics beyond one person’s lived experience (assuming they didn’t make this all up). Just because someone lived through an experience, doesn’t make them an expert in public policy either. All this article does is shame people into feeling bad for others so that they overlook the statistical facts. Unfortunately, humans, in general, are more drawn to narratives than to facts.

    Like

    1. Njphl says:

      It is a narrative that only statistical data is valid.

      Like

    2. Dave says:

      While I sympathize with most people’s skepticism, I do not sympathize with people who refuse to acknowledge systemic racism which has been shown to exist in more police stops of black people and (all when all conditions are considered) much harsher treatment by the entire justice system. It’s interesting that you yourself post no statistics to back up your opinion. Perhaps a little reading would help open your very closed mind: https://www.prisonpolicy.org/blog/2018/10/12/policing/

      https://repository.law.umich.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=2413&context=articles

      Like

      1. Person says:

        Look again. This person’s mind has been opened.

        Like

    3. Amy says:

      If I had to make a guess, I’d say Mr. Anonymous is a white male. Any dissenting opinions I’ve seen in the last few weeks, and really ever, have been white males. Usually older. Always (no kidding) insisting on proof that someone has *actually* lived their life. He wants the receipt that shows this isn’t all “made up”. Not only is your privilege showing, but it’s folks like you that keep this whole nasty business going. I know if you respond, you won’t be polite, but try. How about you open your mind, put down your decades of drilled in stereotypes and opinions and really hear the problem.. It’s real and people are dying for because of skin color. Change should have happened long before this

      Like

    4. Moxie Brown says:

      Whoever wrote this comment should start driving around predominantly white areas with a black man in the car. I am guessing you are a white man. If you are a white woman with a black man in the car, I guarantee you will get pulled over. I am another anecdotal driver who happens to be a white woman who sometimes has a black man in my car.

      Like

    5. Ginger Bowman says:

      Wow. How totally cool to completely dismiss this woman’s experience because she didn’t write a statistical essay. Perhaps you should no longer read personal stories and just stick to peer reviewed journals that meet your requirements for truth. Because, statistics can’t be manipulated or interpreted to meet a biased expectation.

      Like

    6. Eileen Nicholson says:

      I can see why you wanted to remain anonymous…. you are part of the problem.

      Liked by 1 person

    7. Micah Unice says:

      Okay, white boomer. That’s why you wrote this comment under the moniker “Anonymous”, right?

      Like

    8. Maude Chardin says:

      It is your white privilege to remain ignorant of the blatant systemic racism POC are exposed to every single day.
      It is your white privilege to invalidate racist acts by simply turning your back or leave a flippant comment on a blog. It doesn’t pertain you, right?
      You will never be pulled over because of the melanin content of your skin, wondering whether this is the traffic stop you will be killed.
      You will never experience the utter disappointment when you apply for a job, make it through all rounds of applications/ phone interviews with flying colors (ohhhh – the pun is right there – if only it was funny). You get to the one-on-one interview, and feel the sharp temperature drop as you walk into the lobby. This is a white company. Talk to professionals of color, and ask how many have had this experience. How many haven’t gotten a job they were clearly the perfect match for….until they walked into the proverbial lobby.
      Ask.
      It is of course your white privilege to just move on and not give a damn.
      Thankfully most people with an ounce of a brain and compassion had enough of this nonsense, and stepping and speaking up. So, whether you want to hear us or not – We’ll be here – LOUD AND CLEAR to let people like you know what’s wrong in this society in 2020, and that your white silence is supporting racist violence.
      Have a good day.

      Like

    9. Mary H Cummings says:

      So, are you saying that because black people do not collect statistics on how many other black people are…. oh hell, I’m not going to list all of the countless ways that racism manifests in this country. I’d be here all month! You’re saying that no racist acts perpetrated by white people in America over the last 400 years, including slavery, ever happened or ARE happening…. because they haven’t proven it with certi
      fiied scientific analysis and reports. That level of denial and the callousness of your statement exhibit a deeply ingrained racism.

      Like

    10. Gary Page says:

      There has been plenty of data thanks to statistics gathered on stop and frisk. In city after city blacks are stopped disproportionately. Typical is something like 15% of the population, but 75 or 80% of the stops. However, it is true that there are no statistics on how often black poodles are stopped.

      Like

      1. D says:

        Hello! I’m a Black woman in that stop-and-frisk city that you are referring to and living in a predominantly Black/Brown neighborhood. Please don’t be fooled – when that policy was in place, I could walk down the street practically worry free, now everyday life is another story. And please check the statistics – never in the modern history of this city has there been such a reduction of the number of Black men murdered on our streets. Sadly that has all gone away for a while now and they are back to killing each other (with the numbers going up exponentially which is scary and heartbreaking!). PLEASE get your info from law-abiding people in Black communities and not from the mainstream media, Netflix, or celebrities that have made millions from our communities by glorifying drug dealing, promiscuity, and lawlessness.

        Like

    11. ValkyrieMom says:

      The fact that you posted this as Anonymous tells me everything I need to know – you don’t have the courage to actually back your nonsense up with facts. Racist dog whistle BS.

      Like

    12. Flaneuse says:

      I wonder if the writer’s experience IS an anomaly – or not? Maybe other black poodle owners have had similar experiences, but didn’t put the pieces together. I could definitely see this happening, though three times for one person seems like a lot. Maybe the police in her area were particularly keen on profiling. It will be interesting to see if other dog owners report the same happening to them.

      Like

      1. It’s not an anomaly. Remember, the police thought they were pulling over a black man in an old van. They did not know it was a dog until after they stopped me and seen the dog in the car. And I do not think they could tell what race I was until they approached me. It was dark out each time.

        Like

    13. E. Doyle says:

      I can see why you name yourself as “Anonymous”.

      Like

  11. I’d be tempted to put a sign in the back window. “NUMBER OF TIMES MY GIANT BLACK POODLE HAS BEEN MISTAKEN FOR A BLACK MAN IN THE PASSENGER SEAT:” and start keeping a tally.

    Like

  12. Anonymous says:

    As I drove a visiting friend around the area where I live, she commented that I was a very careful driver: observing speed limits, never sneaking through changing lights, full stop at stop signs. She knew this was new behavior from me. Without thinking, I responded “I’m used to having a black man in the passenger seat, so I’ve got to be really careful

    Like

  13. Karina says:

    Great read and even better the way you simply expose the so in-grained racist mentality of the police officers. It is very disturbing that a police officer, who is supposed to upheld the law, will deliberately use the law to justify an act of pure and blatant racism! So much that now even a black dog sitting in a passenger seat will prove the point. There is clearly something very wrong here , and what is more worrisome is that these same officers do it because they think there is nothing wrong with it and they are simply doing their duty!

    Like

  14. Linda says:

    It doesn’t even need to be the color of your skin. My Mother came to live with me bringing her car. I started to drive it periodically to keep the battery up. It was about 6 years old. I found when I drove it I got stopped for weaving, going too slow and once for pulling out in front of a car that had to slow down. ( it was at least a block and 1/2 away.) Since I never was stopped in my car I complained to some friends and what I found out was it was a popular model in the Hispanic population. I do have to say I came to enjoy the expressions on the officers faces.

    Like

  15. Reminds me of long ago when I was pulled over for speeding as the cop let the actually speeding vehicle go past us. The officer had a funny look on his face when he got up to the window and saw me. Then he told me the line about me speeding and made out a ticket for me going 50 mph. When he took off, I was so pissed. He knew exactly what speed I was going. And that I was in a 55 mph zone. So why did he pull me over? I realized then that it was because of my Jesse Jackson for President bumpersticker. When he saw I was white, he decided not to make up a charge that would stick, but he still wanted to punish my politics by making me have to go to court to get the ticket dismissed.

    I never doubt Black people being pulled over for DWB.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Debbie says:

      I love the poodle but very sad to see how ignorant and unprofessional police officers can be. I had to look up what DWB means. Thankfully, I was brought up not to be racist and have always supported ALL colour, race, religion, gays, lesbians, LBGTQ and choice of gender. Too bad EGO (Edging God Out) interferes in these peoples lives.

      Like

  16. Judy says:

    Honest to god, how can this be a real thing. Humans do not have long snouts. Seriously?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. They saw him from the back and it was dark so all they saw was silhouette of an Afro. Also, because of the way a Poodle sits and turns it’s head, you would not see his snout. The seat back covered most of it. At night, you may not see the snout from the side window unless you shined a light on him because Poodles will turn their heads and look at you. Merlin did not bark at people. Poodles move differently than most dogs.

      Like

      1. jan says:

        But why would police pull over someone because of their PASSENGER? If it was a green alien it would still be not illegal and not a valid excuse. It’s none of their business who sits next to the driver – and certainly doesn’t warrant a hand on the gun????? !

        Literally unbelievable and unAmerican as well. We are the melting pot after all. What has happened to brotherhood?

        Like

      2. Mike says:

        Because they think they have a chance to give a black man a hard time.

        Yes, it is that bad.

        Like

      3. editann says:

        It is not “literally unbelievable.” It’s very, very believable. And though people may want to think so, we are not a melting pot, either.

        Like

    2. EK says:

      Back of the head is what you see from behind when pulling someone over.

      Like

    3. jan says:

      It is truly embarrassing how ignorance is the norm for American police officers. How can they not be filled with shame for behaving like this?

      Like

  17. Bertram says:

    Sometimes the best response is one of love…what would Christ do…maybe adopt or mentor someone and teach them the right path…or go in and help a struggling family…which there are plenty in poor neighborhoods who work 2 jobs…a bit of compassion toward your fellow man goes a long way…why are they in the situation they are in now ….maybe you will see first hand talking to real people and not looking at images of a distorted media perception

    Like

  18. Pat says:

    Thank you for your report. You have experience what white privileged means. I have a similar experience not for a dog but because I have a black SUV with crome wheels and very dark windows. I was stopped at night the cop came up on the passanger side with his hand on his gun. I wished I had a picture of the cops face when i turned on the llight and he saw a dumpy old white woman. We need to stop this abuse.

    Like

  19. Anonymous says:

    I am leaving this as anonymous because I know I will be attacked if I left my personnel information. If you want real change start with you. If African American people do not want to be profiled, then clean up your image. Wuit letting gang bangers & drug dealers run your neighborhoods. Teach your kids not to rob stores, attack the police, do drugs, etc. Fact is 46% of violent crimes are committed by 13% of the population. You want profiling to stop, you want cops & others to quit fearing you, then change the way you are perceived. Could you imangine if all these looters & “peaceful” protesters had went into these poor neighborhoods & cleaned up, painted, did house repairs, rooted out all the gang bangers & drug dealers? They would have saved more lives than defunding the police ever could. I know I will be condemned for these comments, but I have to speak the truth.

    Like

    1. Do you actually think Black Americans don’t want to do this? Systemic racism prevents them from being able to do this. That’s why I wrote this, for white people to see the problem. You can’t tell a people to do this and that and than say it’s their fault while keeping a system in place that prevents them from doing that.
      Black lives matter isn’t just about black people dying, it’s about quality of life. They deserve life, liberty and pursuit of happiness like white Americans enjoy. Many do not have it. Black men want to work and provide for their families, just like you. Black mothers love their kids just like you and want them to grow up to be productive members of society, just like you. They are denied the opportunity because of the color of their skin.
      Unless white people wake up and see the problem, it is never going to change. Too many white people hide behind Anonymous and statistics. Be brave, start having a meaningful confrontation about this. Stop thinking the problem is “them.” They are humans just like you and they want the same things; a safe home, to drive to work without being harassed, to walk down the street freely. Is that really to much to ask?
      I ask that other commenters do not attack. Try to explain and convince. Any attacks will be deleted. Attacking does not change anything.

      Like

    2. Adelaide says:

      If you are going to express your ideas which you must know at some level are problematic, at least own it and don’t hide behind the anonymous.

      Like

    3. Diane says:

      First, please cite your sources when you provide percentages. It’s meaningless without verification. Second, it is MY job to change my perception of someone, not theirs! They are just them, whoever they are. My perception changes when I SEE them and HEAR them and I do that by engaging in civil, often times difficult and contentious, but healthy conversation. If I judge someone solely on something I see on the news or, in this case, by reading one response to a blog, then shame on me. I don’t know you but I would hope you can look at these issues in a broader way and try to really see what’s happening. This story is repeated over and over and over and the we wonder why folks of color mistrust police. White people like me need to really dig deep and assess our own reactions and feelings and acknowledge that, even if we wished it were otherwise, we have ingrained racist attitudes. Only be admitting it can we move on and become the partners we should be as we struggle to make this country a place for everyone, equally.

      Liked by 1 person

    4. Jo says:

      You need to learn about the cycle of trauma. Anonymity is over used on social media.

      Liked by 1 person

    5. Reginarose says:

      You are using crooked statistics to try to make your point. When white people get caught doing an assault, it often results in a lesser charge. When Black people are caught giving a punch, it is often charged as felony assault. The way Black and white people are treated in the “justice” system starts with the cops and ends in harsher, longer prison sentences. Your 16% of the population doing 43% of the violent crime comes from skewed procedures. White college students rarely go to jail for selling cocaine at frat parties. Black people are sent to state prison for small amounts of crack cocaine, which is still measured and weighed differently. White middle and upper class men steal money every day through shoddy business practices and unfair low wages for their employees. They are so rarely charged, much less convicted, that we don’t see their crimes. When you look at crime so-called statistics again, think more deeply about the white people you know who give friends discounts on merchandise; who shave off percentages for business or home loans for friends; who you go to to get something for a little off retail; because, shrug, that is the way business is done. Then think about pharmaceutical companies who tricked doctors into helping them enslave by addiction thousands of “good” white people in America just to make money and did it legally. All white folks. Those criminals are slowly coming to justice, but they won’t get the sentences a street seller gets. They will pay fines and sacrifice a low official. Route out all those people and those who believe every cop is good, and it will be safer where you live.

      Liked by 1 person

    6. Reese says:

      Wow. Your comment speaks volumes about you. Do better.

      Like

    7. Thendi says:

      Commenting as a black or rather, a dark brown woman, I can see how “Anonymous” came to have that point of view and I have to say that I appreciate the honesty. Thank you for sharing your opinion and speaking your mind. I applaud you. This is how we begin to transform and renew our minds so we can become a better society. I wish I didn’t but, I too, have something to say so please bear with me as I speak my truth.

      I grew up in a multiracial community, in a household with educated parents. My dad was a physician and my mom was a nurse/midwife. As such, the standard was set at a really young age that my siblings and I were to follow in our parents’ footsteps and attend college. I did as my parents pleased and pursued a career of my own. Yes, my parents taught me not to rob stores, do drugs etc. They also taught me to respect police but more importantly, fear and avoid them at all costs because an encounter with them could lead to death. My parents did a great job raising their kids. If “Anonymous” knew them personally it would make this individual proud because they did everything “Anonymous” suggests black people teach their children. Sadly, with all the things my parents did right, society did wrong. The color of my skin, the thickness of my lips, the coarseness of my hair and the Afro shape of my body has followed me all my life. My features, my ethnicity have caused more issues in my life than necessary. From traffic stops with police showing off their guns, white teachers favoring white students, bosses reflecting their unconscious bias to doctors laughing at the shape of my body during a physical exam. I’ve had mentors tell me how to style my hair so I don’t appear too Afrocentric and how to speak so I don’t sound black with the goal of being more acceptable in the job industry. How do you suggest one processes all that Anonymous? How do you learn and love to appreciate who you are? How do you handle the unnecessary PTSD or survivor’s guilt that comes with living life as a black or brown person?

      As a dark-skinned individual working in the corporate world for over a decade, you’re expected to work twice as hard with no recognition and speak up for a bonus when your white counterparts never have to because it’s something that they get unconditionally. You work 60+ hours a week and when you ask for help because it’s affecting your health, your request is not taken seriously despite tangible evidence. You are overlooked for promotions and any employee incentives. And then when you get frustrated and decide to look for another job, your resume isn’t usually selected but when it is, you dress professionally for the interview, show up extra early and the moment you sit down, you don’t get a fair chance at getting the job because the interviewer notices your color and decides to handle other important matters on the phone or approve payments so you don’t notice how uninterested they are in you now that they have met you.

      Yes, this story is real and this story is mine. Racism is as alive today as it was years, decades and centuries ago. Anyone with any doubt that racism exists, please take a moment to think again.

      The system, not just in America, but across the globe has done a consistent job of dragging black people and their communities down. Think colonization, slavery, cast systems and so on. Black people have had to fight for freedom, fight for justice, fight for education, fight to vote, fight for equality. Would you rather black people succumb to the issues that Native American communities are dealing with right now?

      Systemic racism continues to beat darker people down. For those of us who are fortunate enough to make it in the working world, we try to support our less fortunate family members and friends through what is affectionately termed, “black tax”. Growing up, we always had cousins, aunts, uncle and strangers living with us or being supported by my parents so we were rarely ever our own little family unit. My siblings and I did not get the prestigious life we could have had. The opportunity cost would have been watching our loved ones suffer.

      The past few weeks hearing talk about inequality has been difficult and somewhat exciting. It has brought some kind of light and at the end of a long dark tunnel. Don’t get me wrong, it’s bringing light to memories and behaviors as well as realization to certain experiences I’ve had masked by denial. Unfortunately, it’s also causing stress-related health issues personally. I have cried for my people and continue to cry for our society as a whole. Until black people can all be seen as equal, a part of our population will continue to suffer. Forget about 13% of the population committing 46% of the crimes. Let us ask ourselves why things are they way they are. No one grows up wanted to be a criminal. As Diana Ross sang years ago, “Reach out and touch, somebody’s hand. Make this world a better place if you can.” As the rest of the song goes, “Take a little time out your busy day to give encouragement to someone who’s lost the way (Just try).
      Or would I be talking to a stone? If I asked you to share a problem that’s not your own.”

      Have a receptive heart and mind, help us make a change for the better and for our future. For equality, for justice and anti-racism.

      Thank you for taking time to read my post. And thanks to the author for being smart enough to recognize a behavior pattern, proactive enough to write this post and brave enough to tell her story as unbelievable as it may seem to most.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Wow! Thank you so much for writing your story👏🤝

        Like

      2. Pat says:

        I, a white woman, was a city prosecutor for years. DWB is real. Over time, my exposure to police training, conduct, and practices made it easy for me to spot when the stated reason for a stop (traffice or otherwise) was a pretext.

        Like

      3. Ophelia Chang says:

        I am so sorry for your experiences and so grateful for your generosity in writing this, in this kind and gentle manner. You were kinder and more respectful than I could have been, and I have not lived your pain. I feel rage on behalf of the black community, pain on behalf of women, and despair as a patriotic American. Here, though, you gave me a little hope, because you shared yours.

        Liked by 1 person

    8. LaKeisha L Page says:

      First, learn how to spell and cite your sources before spewing racist talking points; and learn how to gather all your information from more than just CNN’s myopic perspective. Reprobate racists as yourself are just sad and pathetic. I know you cant help it because that’s more than likely how you were raised. Ok so the “truth” is you don’t get to dictate how my people should express their frustrations regarding police brutality and inequality. Dare I say say it? I sure am detecting a tidbit of “white privilege. As for speaking the truth on “Blacks” on having a 46% crime rate”, the Federal Bureau of Prisons have Whites at 58.2% and Blacks at 38% (2020, June 6).The Pew Research listed Whites at 64% and Blacks at 33% in 2017. I could go on and on with this but it would be pointless as you refuse to see the obvious not to mention we get incarcerated in state prisons at a rate that is 5.1 times the imprisonment of whites. In five states (Iowa, Minnesota, New Jersey, Vermont, and Wisconsin), the disparity is more than 10 to 1 (Sentencing Project). And don’t try the “well we have more people” argument. Population size is not a determining factor for committing a crime. Family functioning, household composition, poor parental monitoring, poor discipline, a family history of criminality, parental conflict, a lack of family cohesion, and low socioeconomic status are. Now I COULD say someone needs to teach their children to not become the ones committing the most crimes but that would be very petty. I WON’T, so moving on. Also, media and propaganda play a very crucial role in how groups of people are perceived. If you only highlight the worst of a certain group whether true or not and you repeat it constantly those like yourself who are easily influenced will believe it to be true. With that being said, I suggest you turn off the tv and start reading books on Race, the Legacy of Slavery, and its impact on all of US. Educate yourself on Economics and Race; Healthcare and Race; Education and Race; Law and Race; and more importantly Social Issues and Race. For now it’s probably best that you keep your truths to yourself because they are baseless unless you prefer staying willfully ignorant.

      Like

    9. Gal says:

      This is not “truth,” but ignorance and hate perpetuated by ignorant, hateful people.

      Like

    10. Anonymous says:

      Tell that to all the white criminals who get away with murder.

      Like

    11. Steve Sather says:

      I can’t imagine you would ask white people to clean up their act. However, most people on welfare are white. Most murderers are white. Most racists are white. I doubt that there were a lot of gang bangers and drug dealers in Huron Township.

      Like

    12. Thendi says:

      Commenting as a black or rather, a dark brown woman, I can see how “Anonymous” came to have that point of view and I have to say that I appreciate the honesty. Thank you for sharing your opinion and speaking your mind. This is how we begin to transform and renew our minds so we can become a better society. I wish I didn’t but, I too, have something to say so please bear with me as I speak my truth.

      I grew up in a multiracial community, in a household with educated parents. My dad was a physician and my mom was a nurse/midwife. As such, the standard was set at a really young age that My siblings and I were to follow suit and attend college. I did as my parents pleased and pursued a career of my own. Yes, my parents taught me not to rob stores, do drugs etc. They also taught me to respect police but more importantly, fear and avoid them at all costs because an encounter with them could lead to death. My parents did a great job raising their kids. If “Anonymous” knew them personally it would make this individual proud because they did everything “Anonymous” suggests black people teach their children. Sadly, with all the things my parents did right, society did wrong. The color of my skin, the thickness of my lips, the coarseness of my hair and the Afro shape of my body has followed me all my life. My features, my ethnicity have caused more issues in my life than necessary. From traffic stops with police showing off their guns, white teachers favoring white students, bosses reflecting their unconscious bias to doctors laughing at the shape of my body during a physical exam. I’ve had mentors tell me how to style my hair so I don’t appear too Afrocentric and how to speak so I don’t sound black with the goal of being more acceptable in the job industry. How do you suggest one’s mind processes all that? How do you learn and love to appreciate who you are?

      As a dark-skinned person working in the corporate world for over a decade, you’re expected to work twice as hard with no recognition and speak up for a bonus when your white counterparts never have to because it’s something that they get unconditionally. You work 60+ hours a week and when you ask for help because it’s affecting your health, your request is not taken seriously despite tangible evidence. You are overlooked for promotions and any employee incentives. And then when you get frustrated decide to look for another job, your resume isn’t usually selected but when it is, you dress professionally for the interview and the moment you sit down, you don’t get a fair chance at getting the job because the interviewer notices your color and decides to handle other important matters on the phone or approve payments so you don’t notice how uninterested they are in you now that they have met you.

      Yes, this story is real and this story is mine. Racism is as alive today as it was years, decades and centuries ago. Anyone with any doubt that racism exists, please take a moment to think again.

      The system, not just in America, but across the globe has done a consistent job of dragging black people and their communities down. Think colonization, slavery, cast systems and so on. Systemic racism continues to beat darker people down. For those of us who are fortunate enough to make it in the working world, we try to support our less fortunate family members and friends through what is termed, “black tax”. We always had cousins, aunts, uncle and strangers living with us or being supported by my parents as we were growing up so we were rarely ever our own little family unit.

      The past few weeks hearing talk about inequality is like music to my ears. It has brought some kind of light and at the end of a long dark tunnel. Don’t get me wrong, it’s bringing light to memories and behaviors as well as realization to certain experiences masked by denial. Unfortunately, it’s also causing stress-related health issues. I have cried for my people and continue to cry for our society as a whole. For until we can all be seen as equal, a part of our population will continue to suffer. Forget about 13% of the population committing 46% of the crimes. Let us ask ourselves why. As Diana Ross sang years ago, “Reach out and touch, somebody’s hand. Make this world a better place

      If you have a receptive heart and mind, help us make a change for the better and for our future. For equality, for justice and anti-racism.

      Thank you for taking time to read my post. And thanks to the author for being smart enough to see a correlation, proactive enough to write this post and brave enough to tell her story as unbelievable as it may seem to most.

      Like

      1. Lola Barello says:

        You said it ALL….#TRUTH

        Like

      2. patlenzo says:

        You spelled the life experience out beautifully! I’m white but have lived in Black towns, graduated from a Black college, and taught predominantly Black college freshmen. I’ve watched and listened to many young folks with exactly your background. White people reading your post need to read it again and imagine themselves and their lives in your experiences. Thank you and keep on keepin’ on!

        Like

      3. Karen says:

        BRAVA!!!!

        Like

    13. Anonymous says:

      “The truth” you speak of is your own need to justify your racism. And you know it, thus you speak as anonymous. I know you enjoy your privilege.

      Like

    14. KailuaBeach says:

      Imagine that you are playing Monopoly and your opponent has all the land, railroads, runs the police department and has the vast majority of the cash. Oh, and they run the bank. Now I tell you to pull yourself up by your bootstraps and win the game, darn it!! It’s your fault if you don’t win! Sound fair? Sound like you have a good chance to win? Of course not! You would be angry, feel despair and maybe make bad choices out of desperation. Please have some awareness that we do not play on a level playing field in the US.

      Like

      1. Lisa says:

        I love your Monopoly analogy. To borrow your analogy, being Black is like landing on the board and all of the property is already owned with hotels on them and instead of one corner Go Directly to Jail square, that square is on every one of the blocks. All of the people you know do not own any of those properties either and are in the same boat as you. Additionally, all of the community cards are also stacked against you. Pretty soon you run out of money and find your token cast sitting in the Jail square indefinitely or on the side of the road homeless. The only place you get a small break is on the ghetto properties of Baltic Avenue and Meditteranean Place but eventually, even those places become out of your range.

        Like

  20. PW says:

    I really enjoyed your story and you are right on. I was stopped as a law student late at night on a pretextual stop after studying for hours. The officer said I drove through a red light. I had come to a full stop. He flashed lights and sirens after I pulled away from a full stop. I lived in a mainly white area and drove a little economy car – well maintained and with law school emblems.I was held by the side of the road for 45 minutes. I am a black woman. My driving record was unblemished. The officer looked and could find NOTHING so let me go. It was terrifying. It’s not right.#BLM

    Like

    1. Sonya says:

      He pulled you over because you ran a red light which is illegal. Stop turning everything into a race issue.
      The officers do not know who you are! You know that your trust worthy but they don’t.
      Look at the officers and Sheriffs and Hwy Patrol that have pulled over people for traffic violations and have been gunned down and killed.
      Where is the justice for them? Most of them are just doing their jobs!

      Like

      1. Jay says:

        So you automatically assume she is lying? Did you not read her account? You are the problem, Karen. Take your whatabouts to your racist friends, hold hands and console yourselves. Your time is over. The end is nigh. Oh, and have a nice day!!

        Like

      2. Anonymous says:

        Please re-read the comment. She said she was stopped on the pretense of running the light bit had actually stopped and after being detained for 45 mins, was let go.

        Like

      3. MIke says:

        Where is the justice for cops killed on duty ? Their killers get prosecuted and convicted.

        Like

      4. Steve says:

        By definition, if you are stopped at a stop sign, you did not run it. Clearly pretextual.

        Like

    2. Jackie says:

      I’m curious, when you stopped for the red light, was it still red when you drove forward? If not, that was wrong to have stopped you. If so, you ran a red light.

      Either way, respect should be given both ways and 45 minutes it a long for a simple traffic ticket . That’s an unnecessary inconvenience.

      Like

  21. Anonymous says:

    Thank you for sharing this. I live in the UK…I‘m not going to pretend such things don‘t happen here…they do…but, our police do not routinely carry guns…which is…at the very least..one problem removed. There are certainly enough routine stop and search incidents reported, though! I could feel your fear and I salute you for your courage and the way you handled these incidents. I really hope you stay safe.

    Like

  22. Nunya Bidness says:

    You should have asked the cop to just write you a ticket for “impeding traffic” and then fight it in court so they have to go to court to see it dismissed. After 2 or 3 times the word will get around and they’ll stop.

    Like

    1. If I had realized at the time why they were stopping me I may have. I did not. I also worried that if they detained me for any reason, what would happen to Merlin? He could not go to the dog pound. He developed a bloating issues whenever he was left anywhere like that. It’s a $175 dollar ticket I could not afford to pay. I was happy not to get a ticket.

      Like

  23. Mary says:

    I always get a sinking feeling if i see lights flashing behind me day or night. I tty to think if i did something wrong, and what will I say. i respect the police and support them and know they put their lives on the line….but still I get that knot if pulled over. It’s always turned out ok, driving a bit fast, expired plates, brake light out, etc. But as a woman alone (white), it’s scary to me…I can’t begin to imagine what it’s like for black men especially and black women. Great story, thanks for sharing

    Like

  24. Anonymous says:

    My white friends didn’t believe our cops in our town would ‘profile’ a young man. Their 18 year old sons had been stopped once in a year. My interracial son got stopped once a month. Do the math- that’s 12 x more
    .

    Liked by 2 people

  25. Faye Arcand says:

    This is so sad. I don’t live in US but spend enough time there to have seen the profiling. Thank you for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

  26. Juno says:

    Cops have a quota to make writing trafic tickets in NYC so they constantly pull people over lying about an event that didn’t happen. Then they start in with everyone in the car looking for any excuse to do illegal searches. And then from there, thing’s turn bad.

    Like

  27. Lise Shaw says:

    Great illuminating piece, pretty scary and eye opening Cynthia. We have NO IDEA what Blacks have to endure, not just from police BUT all of us…..thanks for writing.

    Like

    1. Anonymous says:

      I was pulled over 5 times in one year in my town if New Paltz, NY. I didn’t have a dog in the car and I am a white woman. WHat I did have was a white subaru that was as old as the hills. A friend gave it to me when she got her new vehicle and my Forerunner had just died.

      I worked out of the country in Iraq for 2.5 years after I had gotten the Subaru. New Paltz is a college town and I suppose according to the police, who else would drive such an old car except for a student or a poor person.

      I didn’t get a ticket until the last time, when I argued with the cop. I knew I was being targeted at that time bc of the car and told him as much. The judge dismissed it when I went to court.

      Stay safe out there…

      Like

      1. I have been to New Paltz!

        Like

      2. FrugalCzech says:

        It’s similar here in middle of Europe. There are no black people historically (although we have one in the parliament just now), so the racism part isn’t the problem here. When I drove my 40 years old East-German car, cops stopped me 3 times a month. When I have switched to 30 years old West-German car, they stops me once a year. And they has quota of how many fines they need to get back to their cop-hive to please their cop-queen-bee.

        Like

  28. Theresa says:

    What a story. Impeding traffic indeed. Such nonsense, and as you said imagine this happening every day.

    Like

  29. christine smith says:

    I wonder if small groups of us who are shocked by police and their harrassing of innocent people, such as in this case, worse in the case of people of color, would meet with police chief and a few of his men by appointment. About fifteen years ago a wonderful black friend I had, said she was often driving a closed van early at night for errands, and continually got stopped in our small community on Long Is. She learned to keep a pad and a pencil over her ear, and she would initially say to the cop, I need your badge # please. She figured they assumed she was moving drugs.

    Like

  30. TBaildon says:

    I think you might consider submitting this story to Upworthy. It is exactly the kind of story that they like, a way to show perspective in a personal story.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Carrie adams says:

      Omg …to begin with ..’it scares a white woman” being pulled over by policed! Have you lost ur mind lady. I’m a whitewoman I’ve never been SCARED when pulled over by the police. I WASNT doing anything to be scared ….iamwhite and blonde and have had 2 black standard poodles in my lifetime. No one stopped or made comments to me about my dogs……you are making a racist. Story out of BS …oh and BTW …Charley, was a light brown miniature poodle!
      Stop being a pot stirrer it doesn’t work on everybody!

      Like

      1. Thank you for reading and taking the time to comment. I am afraid every single time I get stopped by the police and I have never done anything wrong. I always think they are going to accuse me of something I didn’t do and then what would happen to my dogs while I’m being processed at the police station and waiting to prove they have the wrong person? Also, I always worry it’s not the actual police.

        You cannot tell someone how they feel. I wrote this story as honestly as could. If you don’t believe it, so be it. No one is forcing you to believe it.

        Like

      2. Carrie must be a short version of Karen.

        Like

      3. mlrmm says:

        White woman are abused by the police.
        I have been abused by the police. A year and a half ago I was detained and I have permanent injuries from the abuse. Everyone (all state employees) lied and the cop was absolved.
        Several years before that I had a traffic stop in Dallas where a psychotic officer terrified me. I was staying at a hotel for a job I was on and had no friends or acquaintances there. I was all alone. I did not report the man because I was afraid of his reaction if he knew I filed a complaint.

        Like

      4. Kathy Howard says:

        You have never heard stories of men impersonating a police officer and stopping women in remote areas? It has even happen here in VT. The police advised people in that area to not stop, but drive to the police station or at least a place where there were people around. Rural VT. has some roads where there is very limited traffic.

        Like

      5. Heather Minor says:

        Have you ever heard of anecdotal evidence? Your personal experiences do not invalidate the other’s experiences. Go back to your all white friends and discuss.

        Like

      6. Rebecca Stanton says:

        Carrie Adams, why don’t you listen to the COUNTLESS stories told by black people about their experiences being pulled over. I have heard enough of these stories to know the are true. I teach black and latino high school kids in NYC, and work with black and latino teachers. EVERY ONE OF THEM have similar stories.

        Like

      7. Pax says:

        Charley was a chocolate standard poodle and, may I add, how wonderful it must be to be the one who sets the standard for the police experience in all of the US. Do you honestly believe no one anywhere may have a different story than you? Merlin co-piloting lead to traffic stops where there were no traffic stops without Merlin, coincidence? I think not.

        Like

      8. Anonymous says:

        It scares me. My heart pounds. I’m a white woman. Never been in trouble.

        Like

      9. Not at this time , thank you. says:

        Not very imaginative of you. Try saying that to the WOMEN that got pulled over in our town by a fake police officer a few years ago. He raped and killed them and tossed them down embankments.
        He and family moved to our town so that he could be MANAGER OF a popular fast food place. I suppose he left bodies wherever they lived till he was caught.
        The last Woman he raped wasn’t dead like he thought and managed in time to crawl up the embankment onto the Highway where she was found. He was prosecuted and sent to prison. I do not know how many women were his Victims.
        I remember he lived at that time in town ACROSS from my Grandmother! No body had any idea till he was caug ht.
        All women
        Should proceed cautiously to a safe , lit area with people around before stopping.
        The Law Officers in our family would expect you to respectfully do so and not have a problem speaking to you there.

        Like

      10. Sharon Torres says:

        I am white as well and I get scared being pulled over by the cops. I live in NY and every time the cop has been really rude, one was completely condescending. Maybe blonde and blue eyed helps, maybe you know you have nothing to fear. If I get nervous, I can’t even imagine what a young black man who has done nothing wrong must go through. Have some empathy….what you are describing is exactly what white privilege is. She wasn’t stirring the pot. She was telling a story about not getting white privilege until it affected her….now she gets it.

        Like

      11. Anonymous says:

        Carrie ! your comment shows the kind of person you are , you are rude and you have no compassion , you are not a nice person

        Like

      12. You don’t know that. You never know what a person may have been through in their lives. Shouldn’t Judge an entire person on single comment.

        Like

      13. PAULATWHIT says:

        Don’t deny another’s experience because it doesn’t fit your narrow view of reality. Do you honestly believe that because something has not happened to you it doesn’t happen to others? Learn to show a bit of empathy and to gain knowledge and perspective through the lived experience of others.. Otherwise, you are doomed to a life of having to learn everything through your own mistakes. Not a welcome thought.

        Like

      14. Sheryl says:

        Carrie, I am a blue-eyed, blond haired woman (okay, fine…it’s gray on top now, don’t judge) and I shake like a tree leaf on a windy day when a cop pulls me over. My blood sugar levels drop & I have heart palpitations when a situation stresses me. You don’t know others’ personal experiences. A person wearing a gun on their hip & a badge that says they can use it can be very unsettling. Years ago, before I knew I had the right to refuse to get out of my car & before cell phones, I had a cop pull me over on a long, lonely stretch of highway in another state, making me leave 3 little children alone in the car to join him in his car, wanting me to prostitute my way out of a bogus ticket. Just as pedophiles are often drawn to jobs that give them access to children, Sociopaths, narcissists, wife-beating misogynists & abusive authoritarians are drawn to the police force & we don’t know what could happen when we find ourselves having to deal with them.

        Liked by 1 person

      15. Marcus says:

        In case we forgot, privilege is “Well, it’s okay for *me*, so it’s not a real problem.”

        Like

      16. Eric Jean Petrov-Lévesque says:

        This is the problem. Because it never happened to you, you think it doesn’t happen at all. That is YOUR problem. Makes as much sense as saying I’ve never been to the UK. It doesn’t exist.

        Like

  31. CareBear says:

    WOW. Thank you for sharing this story, it’s an eye opener

    Like

  32. Kit Dunsmore says:

    This is horrifying. I can’t being to imagine what it’s like to live with this level of harassment all the time just because of the color of your skin. And the people harassing you have guns and authority behind them! A perfect example of racism in action. Thanks so much for sharing this story.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. editann says:

      It’s exhausting, infuriating, heartbreaking, never-ending and affecting all parts of the lives of people of color. As white people, we better start to “imagine what it must be like” if we intend to work to create change instead of lamenting and maintaining the status quo. There are plenty, plenty of ways to educate ourselves.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. Kit Dunsmore says:

        I agree. I’m working on that myself.

        Like

  33. Cops Lie, People Die says:

    A former co worker of mine who was previously a cop in Miami let me in on a few bits of lingo that shocked me.
    ‘throwdown piece’ or ‘drop gun’
    ‘testelying’
    I will let you look these up yourself. I’m sure it’s only the tip of the iceberg. The point is lying and deception are built in to police culture. The ‘us vs them by any means necessary’ mentality is disgusting. Protect and serve? No. No one believes that anymore!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Jami says:

      I believe in protect and serve. I see it. My son is a police officer, I see him doing good things every day. he was even videod by a community member while he was playing basketball with some teens in his patrol area – the community member was commenting on how great it was to have police helping in the community. My son makes a point to get to know the people in his area and looks after them.

      Please stop taking a wide brush of hatred across a group of people who are there to protect and serve us. There are bad cops and ones who became a cop just so they can show their muscle and be jerks, yes, but most police officers took that job to make a difference and help, like my son. It’s talk like this that only exacerbates the situation. We need police reform, but it needs to be done in a way that brings the community and police department together – working to make things better, not pitting them against each other.

      Like

      1. Mike says:

        Ask your son this. “If you made a full accounting of everything you’ve seen during your career to Internal Affairs, the DA, and the Public Defender’s office, how many fellow officers would be facing felony charges and how many convictions would be overturned.

        If the honest answer isn’t zero to both, he’s a bad cop.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Lisa says:

        You should ask your son whether he has ever looked the other way on another ‘dirty’ cop. Its not just whether it is all cops arent dirty, the problem is that the culture discourages the good ones from stopping or reporting on the bad ones. And because police are the ones who police themselves, things dont change. Sometimes the bad behavior flows from the top such as when commanders tell their cops to shakedown people in the colored areas. So how does a good cop report anything when the top might be corrupt?

        Liked by 1 person

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