Driving While Black - My Family Travels
“Where are you guys coming from?” the patrol officer asked. “El Paso Texas” answered my brother, Allen. “How long have you lived there?” “Seven years” Allen replied. Then the cop said “That’s far. Well have fun on your trip.” And we drove off. If only that’s how that really happened.
            A three day weekend was coming soon and my mother decided that it would be a good time to go visit some family members. It was going to be my mother, my two step brothers, and me on this trip. The plan on the trip was to drive up towards Dallas and get to a certain city at which my father would pick me up and my mother and brothers would go see their father. It was going to be a pretty long trip since we live in El Paso Texas. So on May 27, 2010, after school we put our stuff in the car and were on the road. My brothers and I are practically grown so we all have license so we drove in shifts and Allen drove first while my mother rested up.
            The drive was pretty normal. I would wake up, ask where we were, and go back to sleep. After an hour and a half we hit the check point. This was usually easy but not this time. We pull up slowly and a trained dog sniffs our car but didn’t find anything so we pulled up to the police officer. The patrol officer had a very heavy accent so it was hard for my brother to understand him. “Are you a US Citizen?” “Yes” my brother replied. “Where are you coming from?” said the officer. “El Paso Texas” “And how long did it take you to get here?” My brother answered proudly “Seven years” Then the patrol officer pointed us to pull over to the side. My mom told my brother that he wasn’t paying close attention to the question. My brother thought he said How long have you lived there but he actually said How long did it take to get here.
            When we pulled over we all had to get out of the car. So at first my mother and I get out and two cops tell us to step over to the side. Then my two brothers get out. Allen, the one that was driving, is a 6’4” basketball player. Davonte, my other brother, is a 6’3” football player. As soon as they both get out seven more cops come out. One cop actually stands in front of Davonte and looks him up and down. After like 5 min. of have the dog sniffing through our car and find nothing they let us go. I personally was confused why we had to get out of the car. My mother explained it to me that they thought we stole the car because the car was nice and my brother is young. Also since he got the question wrong that made them believe the theory even more. My mother said that if she was driving the car they wouldn’t have pulled us over.
            That was the first time in my life I experienced racial profiling. The dog sniffed our car the first time and didn’t find anything so what makes them think that’s going to change because of the driver. I learned a lot from this trip. For example some people will treat you different depending on your age and race no matter where you live. I just hope one day that will all change for my future kids.

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