Most mornings, I am fortunate to take a relaxing drive on the George Washington Parkway when I am on my way to work. The drive is filled with beautiful trees and a manicured country club golf course. This picturesque trip could be on the cover of any Town & Country, Better Homes and Gardens or The New Yorker Magazine.
I get lost in the beauty of my commute. This morning was no different with the exception of my lead foot. The United States Park Police took notice and governed themselves accordingly. “Driver’s license and registration please,” the officer requested. “Do you know what I am stopping you for?” Not having experienced being pulled over in more than a decade I could only think of a Jay Z song as my response. “Cause I'm young and I'm black and my hat's real low or do I look like a mind reader, sir? I don't know
am I under arrest or should I guess some mo?”
Though my inner thoughts were heading in this direction I chilled and took a different approach. Besides, that response would have only created 99 more problems for me. Fortunately, my grandfather and mother gave me the police talk when I was a young lad. This conversation happened way before the Black Lives Matter movement. The conversation was just a natural rite of passage. It was like leaving my grade school and heading over to high school. You just took this conversation as being. Millions of other African-American families have had this conversation long before mine was delivered.
So, when pulled over I had both hands on the steering wheel. I was pulled out my license and registration; making no sudden movements when he approached my car. I was polite and respectful. I remained calm. Most importantly, I did as I was taught. I made the overall process as short as possible.
I have many friends in law enforcement and they do a wonderful job. Their goal, naturally, is to return home safely to their families. My goal today was to do the same. America, going home alive is the reason this was the best part of my day.
Mark Ausbrooks is the Academic Tourist. He occasionally blogs about colleges and universities that he encounters.