The driver from Enterprise picked us up at our hotel in Richmond, Virginia to bring us to the rental car office. We were on our way down south to North Carolina for our annual summer beach vacation with my husband’s family.
Five minutes into our trip, I asked the driver, “Can you believe what’s happening?” Given Baton Rouge, Minnesota, Dallas — given that our driver was black — he didn’t need any more detail to know what I meant. He shook his head.
“Let me tell you a story…”
He proceeded to explain that he was part of a car club and was recently pulled over by a state trooper for going five miles over the speed limit. At which point the entire flotilla of cars pulled over — all 40 of them — and the state trooper got a little nervous. “Who are all these people?” He told our driver that he and his car club friends needed to move along or he’d give each and every one of them a ticket.
“If I was alone, I don’t know what he would have done. I just made sure to show proper respect.”
“Like we were taught,” added my husband, who is also African American.
An everyday occurrence, a racial micro-aggression, but the kind that adds up into overwhelming, ongoing frustration.
“At least you didn’t have a gun,” I jumped in. “Man, all these open-carry states are a recipe for disaster.”
“Yeah, I try to keep my gun at home,” he said.
“Oh, uh, right.“
Welcome to Virginia.
I’m writing this from the Outer Banks in North Carolina, sitting at the breakfast table with my husband’s family. Interspersed between the usual morning chatter — Who’s making the coffee? Where are we going for breakfast? She’s already in the pool? —is a question no one can seem to answer.
“Why does this keep happening…”
My husband tried to explain what happened to Philando Castille and Alton Sterling with our 14-year-old niece. She doesn’t fully understand what’s going on, but, he said, a tear rolling down his cheek, she will understand in years to come.
We had another issue planned this week, but, given recent events, we wanted to take a minute to recognize the gravity facing our country, our families, our fellow Americans.
We don’t have answers.
So collectively, we are sharing what we are feeling — and what you are feeling. TueNight is not a news outlet, but we’re an outlet for emotion and experience. We are opening up our platform to you as a way to understand. We invite you to share your thoughts here in the comments or in video (which you can easily film right from your desktop or phone).
Where are you? What are you thinking?
How are you taking care of yourself and your loved ones?
Dr. Brian Williams, who treated the Dallas officers said in an emotional, incredibly moving talk to the press, that law enforcement are “not the problem. The problem is the lack of open discussions about the impact of race relations in this country…. We have to come together and end all of this.”
Let’s find our humanity. Let’s open our hearts and, more importantly, our ears — listen to one another.