Sunday, April 1, 2012

DWB...Driving While Black......

Jamie's "baby," the El Co
DWB....."driving while black." Sounds crazy doesn't it? I thought so too when I first heard the expression. However, when Jamie and I started dating 20 years ago he shared stories with me about always getting pulled over for nothing. I said, "Why would you get pulled over for nothing?" "Because I am a black man," was his answer to me. I said, "Ya right!" We have all heard the stories, but I thought he was exaggerating.

Well, within a very short time I had my first DWB experience with him. We went through an intersection and all of the sudden police lights turned on behind us. Jamie said, "Here we go again." I looked at him and said, "Why are they pulling us over?" He said, "Hello, black man driving." I gave the police the benefit of the doubt and thought they made a mistake. They came over to the car and said, "You ran a red light." Jamie said, "No I didn't, the light just turned yellow when we were in the intersection." The cop proceeded to say, "No, you ran a red light." Then I looked at him and said, "No we didn't, it was yellow after we got in the intersection!" I was not happy at this point and Jamie of course was not surprised. This went back and forth for a bit until he finally let us go with a verbal warning. Jamie said if I wasn't in the car it would have gone very differently. That was my first experience with DWB and there unfortunately have been many since then.

One incident happened just blocks from our house. Jamie was coming home after a co-workers get together. Ironically, he jokingly told his co-workers he should get home before dark otherwise the black man in the El Camino will get pulled over. No joke...he said that! Well, what do you know, on his way home he got pulled over! Seriously! Of course he knew he hadn't done anything but he pulled over and waited, while laughing inside.

The cop got out of the car and asked Jamie where he was going like he didn't belong in the neighborhood. He said, "This is my neighborhood, I have lived here for years! Where do you live?" Then Jamie asked him why he had been pulled over and the cop told him he didn't have a front license plate. Jamie laughed and said, "Yes I do, go look!" Then the cop proceeded to ask him in a sarcastic manner to turn off his car because he said he didn't want Jamie to run him over! Jamie said, "Oh, if I was gonna run you over you would have been run over already, but if it makes you feel better I will turn the car off." Not something you would normally say to a cop, but as you can tell he was quite irritated at this point. Deservedly so! The cop went to the front of the car, and oh my gosh, it's a miracle.....there was a license plate! Wow! He came back to the car window and Jamie said, "Are we done?" The cop said, "Oh sorry man I thought you didn't have a plate." Jamie said, "No you're not, you pulled me over because I'm a black man, in an El Camino, in a nice neighborhood." The cop said, "No man it's not like that." Jamie..."Whatever, are we done?" Off the cop went and Jamie came home with yet another DWB story!!!