I have two sons, they are 25 and 21. They are not black. They are tall, 6’3 and 6’4, dirty blond hair, one has a crew cut, one’s hair a tiny bit longer, one with hazel eyes and one with sea green eyes.
Last year I arrived home from my yearly trip to Manila. I went alone in 2011 and spent time with my parents. I arrived home February 21, 2011. The next day I was beat, jet lag, everything that goes with the trip home. I asked my son, who was 20 at that time, if I gave him a list and some money would he do some shopping for me, I was much too tired to be driving to the store let alone trying to shop. As usual, as he is a sweet boy err ummm man he said, sure mom.
He brought home the 2 gallons of organic milk, jazz apples, veggies and salad. It was a small list, not much. He got home, and he I said thanks and he went back to the basement.
I’d gone out in the garage I still had a big freezer out there and just outside I saw a cop drive up and he seemed to be looking at my Tribeca. So I instinctively opened the garage door. He’d gotten out of his patrol car. He asked me if someone else had been driving the Tribeca and I said, yes my son, because I’d sent him to the grocery store, I told him my story about just getting back from the PI, etc. He had a strange look on his face, but he stayed outside on the porch. He asked if he could speak to my son. I was getting somewhat apprehensive but I said Okay. I called Max up. The guy asks Max why he ran out of the grocery store. As usual, he wasn’t dressed appropriately, to this day I bitch him out about this, but what can I do. And he’d run to the car with the groceries after paying. It was cold around 40. My son had a strange look on his face. I said to the officer, what is the problem officer? He said someone at the store had accused my son of stealing groceries. I said, umm excuse me, he brought my change home. He did not steal those groceries. The officer tried to isolate my son away from me, something I did not allow. I also invited the officer in and I told him to take a look, here are the groceries etc. The officer had a strange look on his face, I live very close to the Puget Sound, it is a very nice area, we’ve lived in this house for 19 years at the time. I showed the officer my groceries. But none-the-less he said he had to arrest my son. I just stared at him, and I said what for? He didn’t steal anything. I went into mom mode for sure. I said to him, what kid steals organic milk, apples, etc. Seriously. The officer then commented that our house was warm, I said of course it is, we pay our bills buddy. And he asked about our financial status, I showed him that I just arrived home from Manila, and I handed him my first class plane ticket stub. Suddenly the officer seemed to believe me and he called the store.
So, I said to the officer, okay, we will return to the store with you, I want to talk to those people and I want them to pull the video. I remained calm and friendly but firm, inside I was freaking out. Seriously.
Suddenly the officer not only believed me, but began to advocate for my son over his communication device from my house. He said, I don’t think this guy stole anything and he asked them to view the video before we left. He received the call back and my son was cleared. I was relieved, but when I told my husband what happened on the phone he was outraged and angry as hell. After he got off work he went straight to Albertsons and complained, wait, he yelled at the manager of the store, we’ve been shopping there for 19 years. He asked the manager, how many times have you allowed your employees to make accusations about people without checking anything. They’d simply seen my son running to the car from the store and took our license plate down. My husband was livid. The manager at Albertsons, bought us dinner than night, they gave us a prime rib and french bread. They wanted to keep our business. It doesn’t work this way for Americans who do not share my skin color. They don’t share one thing, whiteness, they get no privilege.
I am white, so that cop advocated for my son. He advocated for him. When does that happen for a black American? When? I have sons, they don’t look like Treyvon Martin, I am privileged.
Treyvon Martin didn’t’ get that, in fact for Treyvon’s father, he wasn’t allowed to claim his son’s body because he was tagged a John Doe. Even though the evidence shows through those police reports that they knew who Treyvon was. What? They were prevented from being with their son, a 17 year old boy. Which person in power stepped up for Treyvon that evening, certainly the cops who let Zimmerman go did not, hell they let the guy walk away with a loaded gun.
I am happy to see the outrage, but saddened that it took the murder of one more black teen to draw our attention to the injustice many of our citizens are subjected to because of the color of their skin.