When I hear about a young black teenager walking home from the store, and the man who assumed he was a criminal before knowing anything about him, I can relate. You may not be able to.
Maybe you’ve never been followed around in a department store by a security guard for no reason. I have.
Maybe you’ve never had a convenient store clerk scream at you to leave, assuming that the blackberry on your hip is a gun that you plan to shoot him with. I have.
Maybe you’ve never smiled and greeted people you’ve passed on the street, only to have them avoid eye contact, clutch their belongings, and quickly walk away. I have.
Maybe you’ve never been pushed against a wall, held at gunpoint, and handcuffed by police (who are supposed to protect you) because you “look like a suspect we were looking for.” I have (and I looked nothing like that suspect).
All of these incidents are minor and none of them significantly threatened my life.
Most, if not all, of my black friends have been through similar situations. And countless others have endured much, much worse.
If you’ve never experienced this sort of thing, you may not understand why this case resonates so deeply with us.
But when I hear his story, I hear my story.
And my father’s story.
And my son’s story.
- Tripp Lee,