Monday, August 25, 2014

This Doesn't Happen To White People

Kimberly Jade Norwood
Up on CNN this morning is a compelling post "This Doesn't Happen to White People" by Kimberly Jade Norwood, a law professor at Washington University in St. Louis, discussing events in Ferguson, Missouri, just 12 miles from where she lives.  Professor Norwood reports what an African American mother of four fears on a daily basis:

"Driving, I tend to have a bit of a lead foot -- hitting 45 in a 35 mph zone. The few times I have been stopped in my suburb, the first question I'm asked is whether I live 'around here.' Not one of my white friends has been asked that question when they were pulled over by a police officer.

Last summer, my teenage daughter was shopping with four white friends at a mall in an affluent St. Louis suburb. As they left the store, two mall security guards approached my daughter. They told her the store had called them and reported her as a shoplifter, and asked her to come with them. After a search, they found she had nothing. So far in her young life, mall security guards have stopped her on suspicion of shoplifting three times. Each time she was innocent.

I also have three sons. My two oldest are 22. They are 6-foot-5 and 6-foot-4 and each weighs more than 220 pounds. One recently graduated from college; the other will graduate in 2015. The youngest is 13. All three like to wear jeans and the latest sneakers. They love hoodies. They like looking cool. These three young men have never been arrested or even been in a fight at school.  Every time my sons leave the house, I worry about their safety."