My friend recently posted a unpleasant story on Facebook about a police officer stopping two young black men who are real estate investors while they were working in a $250-thousand-dollar neighborhood. The officer was suspicious about what they were doing.
The men were simply comparing other properties to a home they were trying to sell in the same community, but the officer decided to checkout their story. After the driver leads the officer to the home, the patrolman leaves kind of embarrassed as the offended young men needle him and invite him to come inside and ask him if he’d like to make an offer on their property.
The video is a great example of people not trusting other people based on their own experiences dealing with the people they don’t trust. Cops and the rest of the public. Blacks and the rest of the public. And whites and the rest of the public. the list can go on and on.
Anyway, my friend is the mother of two of my former wrestlers, and she is the kind of person I really admire. She and her husband have raised three fine young men who have risen above the obstacles of race and everything else that goes along with raising children in one of the country’s most dangerous small cities.
My friend’s second son is now a member of the United States Navy, and my friend is now an assistant manager for a large member-ship warehouse retail club in the Washington DC area.
I decided to write her a note and offer her my thoughts on the video because I have the unique experience of being pulled over by a cop for “Driving while white,” and also knowing what’s it’s like not to be trusted by the people around me. It takes time to earn people’s trust when their experiences with people who look like you have been generally unpleasant and negative.
I have changed the names of the people mentioned for privacy purposes, and I have revised some of my own note to clarify the point of my message for readers who are unfamiliar with my experience. I simply hope that publishing my experience will help other people look at their own racial-distrust-issues from a different perspective, and to expose the stupid and annoying liberal idea that white people somehow enjoy dealing with cops or just receive free passes when they are suspected of breaking the law because they are white or because they are doing something police regard as suspicious based on police experience.
My FB message to Kia:
Hi, Kia. I miss you guys. I watched the video you posted, and it is disturbing on a number of levels to me personally.
The cop was wrong [he went too far]. And I empathize with the guys in the car. Dealing with police officers is usually not enjoyable for anyone when you are suspected of a crime, regardless of the reason. Trust me.
However, moving to RM opened my eyes to where we still are as a country [in some regions]. I honestly feel like I have traveled back in time 200 years, and it disgusts me to realize that I haven't. The level of racial hostility both ways makes me sick. I am disgusted with the entire human race, and I am often disgusted with myself, as any Christian might be.
However, I know those guys in the video would have appreciated that cop stopping a criminal from robbing their house by investigating something he thought was suspicious. And two guys driving around slowly in a neighborhood looking at houses is kind of unusual.
A white guy [me] who used to drive around the hood picking up and dropping black kids off (sometimes after midnight) can assure you that police officers think that is unusual, too.
I was stopped near Clark St. one night after dropping off JB. The cop said I didn't stop at a stop sign, which was untrue [in my opinion]. He asked me why I was over there. I assumed he thought I was a drug addict or some sort of criminal. I almost always carry a gun because it is a right all law-abiding Americans have, and I am a former Marine who accepts that bad things can happen at any second. Although I didn’t have a gun that night, the cop might not have appreciated my rights considering the circumstances of where I was.
But anyway, after swallowing my pride and just trying to help him verify I was just a high school coach trying to ensure a kid (whose mom I have since learned sold the kid’s identity) that there truly are people in this world that actually love him and want to help him be successful, the cops let me go.
I realized that it is white people who do drugs and other crimes that made me look suspicious, and I figured the law-abiding black people in JB’s neighborhood probably appreciated the cops were looking in to what I was doing there.
I didn't hold a grudge. I just accepted the fact that white criminals who look like me made my life unnecessarily uncomfortable that night. It did not feel fair, but I know that life's not fair. It just a lot more unfair when a lot of people who look like me commit crimes in places I go and happen to be the minority.
I sincerely hope my experience helps you to look at this story a little differently.
The cop was wrong and went way beyond what he should have done. Some people are just racist assholes. But we all make judgements about other people based on our own experiences.
All I can do is try to be the sort of person I expect other people to be. Love you guys very much. Lee
Kia’s FB response:
Hey this is very inspiring. I appreciate you so much. We all miss you too. We still have conversations about what you mean to our family. I'm sorry that you experienced this type of treatment being the type of loving and caring person that you are.
My FB response to Kia:
Thanks, Kia. Yes, our team truly is family to me.
On the other note, my experience near Clark St. wasn't your fault or the officers who investigated me. It was the fault of criminals who look like me. I have nothing in common with them other than skin color, but they are the reason something really bad could have happened to me that night with the cops. The cop was just doing his job, and I was just in the wrong place at the wrong time. The cop didn't trust me at first for a reason [his experience with white people in that neighborhood late at night], but I just told the truth and behaved respectfully, and they just let me go.
He didn't even write me a ticket for the violation he said he stopped me for. I know why they stopped me, and I just appreciate that they were trying to look out for the law-abiding people in that community.
I will be straight with you. The reason I'm going on about this is because the kids who do crimes make life unnecessarily hard for the good kids I love.
I know a lot of kids who have been shot and I know the guy who shot the other kids on the church basketball court. [He sat in the passenger seat of my car all the way to Atlanta, Georgia to compete in a wrestling tournament. I know him really well.] And here are the lessons that I've learned:
Good kids don't get shot, and if they do, it's because they were doing something illegal or stupid. LT is a kid I respect so much, but he was shot because he was acting like a hoodlum and selling weed. Kids in rough neighborhoods just can't afford to make mistakes, not financially or any other way. They will end up paying with their lives sitting in jail or lying at the morgue. I do not know one kid who is dead, scarred by bullets, or sitting in prison who was being a good kid when things went bad.
Shyheim shot those boys on the playground because they were rival gang members. The 13 year old boys' mom might not want to accept it, but her son's FB confirmed it.
LT was celebrated for the great things he is doing after being shot, but the press left out the part about him dealing drugs when he got shot.
Yet so many people act like a Michael Brown [or Freddie Gray] and these other hoodlums are just like any other black kid, but they are not. To me it's insane and it makes me furious when hoodlums make life more dangerous for the kids who are trying to do the right thing and people defend the hoodlums. I know I don't understand it perfectly, but I understand it a whole lot better than most white guys [I actually meant liberals] who pat themselves on the back and tell themselves they are helping by actually believing all black kids are like Freddie Gray and Michael Brown. Talk about racist.
The exact opposite of what many people choose to believe is often actually true. Think about that.
Anyway, thanks for listening, Kia. I really do miss you guys.
P.S. ALL of the following is true, but ask yourself "why did they leave out the what he was actually doing when he was robbed?" [Attached video of LT’s news story deleted for LT’s privacy.]
LT and I have talked about this at length. I told him to always be honest about why it happened because that is how he might save another kids' life.
Racism, prejudices, and distrust will always exist between different groups of people as long as human beings inhabit the earth. It helps to consider the experiences other people have had and why those experiences might cause them distrust.
It took me a while to overcome the obstacles and distrust many of my wrestlers initially had about me. But Martin Luther King Jr. had a dream. It just didn’t have anything to do with distrusting people simply because they are cops or anything else. I think it was all about character. And character is something that just takes time to recognize.