10 rules every young black boy should follow when they are stopped by the police
Stop Racial Profiling
Rules for surviving a police stop
Getting stopped by the police can be harrowing for anyone, but black males are especially vulnerable when it comes to contact with the police. In the wake of the Trayvon Martin tragedy, some parents are reminding their sons that they do not stand on equal ground in this society and because of race and their sex, they are automatically seen as suspect in American society. So, here are 10 things that we should teach our sons when the police confront them.
- Stop immediately. Make sure you pull over in a timely manner so that you are not suspected of running.
- Never, ever run from the police. It gives them a reason to use violence on you.
- Never return violent police action with violence because you will be hurt. Put you hands up and say, “I am not resisting.”
- Keep your hands visible at all times. Don’t reach in your pocket and don’t appear to be reaching for anything within your car. Keep you hands on your steering wheel and visible.
- Don’t talk back. Be OVERLY respectful even if you feel that you have been unjustly stopped.
- Follow the officer’s instructions clearly. If you don’t understand the instructions ask for them to be repeated.
- Be careful of the way you dress because, in some people’s eyes, your clothing makes you a suspect.
- Be careful walking in groups because you can be considered a gang.
- Make sure you say your name, where you live, and where you work. It makes you more human in their eyes.
- “Always, always do the right thing”—Spike Lee. Your actions during a police stop can mean the difference between life and death.
I've been in the car with White Americans when they were stopped by the police and the things that some of them say could never come out of my mouth. Some people will say that these are just common sense rules, but the truth is they are not. Trayvon Martin was stopped by a Neighborhood Watch captain, detained, and shot because he had on a hoodie and dared to run from someone who was frightening him. It's time to stop racial profiling, but until that happens, this is how I have to deal with police stops.