It's 9:40pm. I'm writing this from the comfort of home. Shirley Brown's "Respect" is filling up the space with good energy.
I've spent the last few hours at the local chain coffeehouse known for it's expensive coffee concoctions. As I prepared to leave I hear "Hello....., may I speak to Barbara" on the sound system. And I'm thinking... awwww snap, they're playing Shirley's "Woman to Woman"! Before leaving I download her album to Spotify so that I can listen to it on the quick ride home.
So I'm driving down McKee road less than 5 minutes later and as I'm thinking to myself "maaaan, I wonder what's the backstory to this really dope album though..." my headlights catch "Fitchburg Police" written across one of their SUV's going in the opposite direction. And just as soon as the police passed me I became aware of my appearance. At the same time I pulled off my Milwaukee Bucks snapback and tossed it in the passenger seat. My thoughts quickly turned to how I could easily be mistaken for a Black man and that alone could have them turning back around. And just getting stopped could lead to madness. As I ran my fingers through my short hair in frustration I questioned if I remembered to put on my '18 tag. And I focused my eyes even closer on the traffic and surrounding streets as I approached the cross section near Target. I had that thought that many Black folks get when driving after dark.... "just let me get home without these folks (police) pulling me over". And just like that, I went from wanting to learn more about Shirley's album to having my peace of mind interrupted by just the sight of the police car.
and instead of pulling out my to-do list right away, I'm just thinking about how many times in a day the impact of racism robs us of our peace of mind....