Andrew Burrows: “ Driving While Black In America”

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This was posted on the Facebook page of Andrew Burrows, Director of News at the Broadcasting Corporation of The Bahamas on 9 July:

I’m in America with my daughter while all of this killing and shooting and snipering is going on. It didn’t occur to me until last night as we were coming home from the movies (The Secret Life of Pets is an instant classic!!!!!) that I’ve really been playing it over the top safe as I move about.

My daughter will not sit in the front seat of a car with me until she’s old enough, but unless we are on the freeway, the windows are not all the way up so nobody can claim to smell anything “illegal” in my car; I don’t drink ANYTHING when I’m driving and my wallet sits on the front seat next to my phone so I don’t have to reach for anything if I get stopped. I obey every single traffic rule and even hesitate to right turn on red in case someone gets jumpy. The vehicle has very light tints so again, no one can suspect me of any kind of illegalities other than driving while black.

Speaking of color, I didn’t wear one single stitch of black clothing or anything looking aggressive. I did, however, wear a lot of whites and I did, however, make sure to wear a dress shirt yesterday even though I’ve worn nothing but shorts straight thru. A black 40 something year old man in shorts and an Oxford shirt is about as nonthreatening as it can get for us. If I had a Dr. Huckstable sweater I would have worn that but on account of this heat wave and the fact that even Bill Cosby is being targeted for persecution, I’m glad I didn’t.

We return home today. Our plans are very simple. Grab some breakfast….cereal in our suite….go to Target to get the list of items my mom asked for…..spend some more time at the pool….lunch nearby and then at 3, bolt for the airport to come back to my country where, despite how screwed up we may be, ALL lives do seem to matter.