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Further Reflections: STOPPED BY A POLICEMAN

 A persecuted Tibetan living in Tibet.  Photo by Elaine Jean Cooper.

A persecuted Tibetan living in Tibet.  Photo by Elaine Jean Cooper.

Nothing like a direct experience to give one white person a tiny taste of what it feels like to be a black driver.  It was 10:00 pm and I was driving in a low income, West Oakland neighborhood.  I was getting onto the freeway.  It had a red arrow- light but I was on a one-way street, turning into a one-way on ramp.  No other cars were around.  I made my turn.  I was happily driving on the freeway and saw lights flashing.  It never dawned on me that they could be for me.  The lights persisted and then I heard a booming male voice on a loud speaker: “Get off at next exit.”  He kept repeating this in case I didn’t understand.  Then I thought: “Maybe I wasn’t supposed to make that turn since it was a freeway on-ramp.  Yes, that must be it.”  I got off at the exit and he kept yelling at me with a menacing voice.  “Stay in your car and roll down all of your windows.”  He took my ID and went to his car to check on me.  I was terrified.  Then he told me to get out of the car and he did all kinds of tests on me.  He kept asking me if I was drinking.  “No”.  “When was the last time you drank.”  “A year ago.”  I wanted to say: “You are talking to me as though I am a criminal and I am not used to people talking to me that way.”  I didn’t dare say a word; I was afraid I would be arrested if I made a false move.  His voice finally softened and he said alcoholics get mixed up with red lights or something like that.  I was shaking and he let me go. 

P.S.:  I am a little, old lady.

© 2017 Elaine Jean Cooper All Rights Reserved