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10 rules every young black boy should follow when they are stopped by the police

Updated on March 26, 2012

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.

  1. Stop immediately. Make sure you pull over in a timely manner so that you are not suspected of running.
  2. Never, ever run from the police. It gives them a reason to use violence on you.
  3. Never return violent police action with violence because you will be hurt. Put you hands up and say, “I am not resisting.”
  4. 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.
  5. Don’t talk back. Be OVERLY respectful even if you feel that you have been unjustly stopped.
  6. Follow the officer’s instructions clearly. If you don’t understand the instructions ask for them to be repeated.
  7. Be careful of the way you dress because, in some people’s eyes, your clothing makes you a suspect.
  8. Be careful walking in groups because you can be considered a gang.
  9. Make sure you say your name, where you live, and where you work. It makes you more human in their eyes.
  10. “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.


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    • Mickey Terry profile image

      Mickey Terry 2 weeks ago from Illinois

      6 years later it's interesting reading the closet racist comment against your post with disrespecting Trayvon. As we see 6 years from this date how George has been responding and carrying himself. I love when people expose themselves for being trash humans

    • profile image

      dscully 3 years ago

      This is almost like the list of things women need to do to avoid being raped. How about we teach men not to rape and we teach cops not to shoot black people? Seems a lot easier.

    • profile image

      John 3 years ago

      During the fourth of July weekend, over 80 black youth was shot; I wonder how many were at the hands of a Chicago Police Department!?!......Attention needs to be given to the excessive violence that exists within communities of color in this country.

    • pcharboneau profile image

      pcharboneau 3 years ago from Oklahoma

      Habueld, I'm sorry Daniel left an ignorant and hateful comment. It was a personal attack against you and the black race in general and had nothing to do with your article. It shows his own stupidity, so don't take it personal.

    • profile image

      daniel 4 years ago

      You make me sick he got shot for being a punk who assaulted the man and the kid got what he had it coming to him race was not an issue he wasn't even a white boy anyway you people need to pull your head out of your you know what and stop blaming the white man for your troubles or cash in your asset4 leave the country you people wake you make your own race looks so bad you're a disgrace to black people everywhere

    • WD Curry 111 profile image

      WD Curry 111 5 years ago from Space Coast

      Do I look black? The same applies to me in Florida. Come on vacation, leave on probation. I can tell you stories.

      The best advice . . . name, rank and serial number. Be polite, but don't say a word.

    • dpdbadboy profile image

      dpdbadboy 5 years ago from Dalton, GA

      I know some police officers abuse their authority and judge people based on color, clothes, etc. But I also know that not all police officers do their jobs that way. As a police officer, I try to treat people with respect regardless of skin color, clothes, or what they may or may not have done. I do believe the rules you listed are good to follow no matter who you are.

    • William R. Wilson profile image

      William R. Wilson 5 years ago from Knoxville, TN

      Hi Habueld,

      This is a good hub but it's terrible that young black men should have to fear for their lives during a police stop. I have been harassed a few times by police, even had a gun put in my face and was handcuffed simply for walking in the wrong place at the wrong time. Each time I knew that I was doing nothing wrong. When the cops have been aggressive and pushed, I knew my rights and pushed back (verbally) - while maintaining a non threatening attitude, with hands visible, etc.

      The advice you provide is practical and smart. I just think it's terrible to see how some people just don't get the same rights as others in this country based on their skin color.

    • profile image

      idratherbe 5 years ago

      Good advice, it saddens me to think our society has regressed. I say this as a disheartened old white guy, who thought society would change in my lifetime. My prayers go out to the Martins. May we strive as Americans, regardless of race, work together to make the next generation one of love and respect of each other!Voted up!