culture

Land of the Free: My First Encounter with Racial Profiling

I’m a first-generation Latina born here in the USA from Cuban & Honduran immigrants; I’m happily married for over a decade to a Black American man, and from our union, we have two beautiful mixed children, a girl & boy. This is my story seeing up close and personal the struggles of a black man here in our beloved nation that we refer to as “The land of the free,” but that’s not the case for our black men, is it? Sadly, I live that plight through my husband. 

The first time I experienced racial profiling was when my husband and I were dating, and we were stopped by cops on the freeway due to my speeding. I was young, very vocal, and pregnant with our first baby girl, so hormones were raging. I never forget how me being confrontational with the cop made my husband so nervous; I was confused. My husband, well fiancé at the time, made sure to tell me to calm down and let it be since I had a slick mouth and attitude with the cop. But instead of addressing my disrespect, the cop took one glance at my black fiancé and made sure to tell him, “to keep his hands on the dashboard & to keep them there so he can see them.” I was baffled why he made sure to tell him anything when he was telling me to obey the cop the whole time; the fear on my fiancés face that afternoon left a forever impression in my life. My husband not once said, nor did anything for him to be taken as a threat; it was merely because of his skin color. Now fast forward, we’ve been stopped after that incident a few times through the years (traffic stops), and I’ve been on the passenger side, and not once have I been asked to keep my hands where they can see them.  

Through the years he’s been racially profiled, he’s been called out of his name, he’s been attacked, he’s been targeted as a threat by “Karen’s.” When we uprooted our family for better opportunities & lifestyle to a different state and all with hard work, we moved to a good neighborhood. Within months living here, he was racially profiled on his way to work because he fit the description of a suspect that had robbed a store not to far away from us, even after seeing him pull out of our residential community and with his uniform on he was still stopped, interrogated. They made him sit outside on the sidewalk on a very hot summer day in the desert until he was identified. Once he got the ok to leave and after making him late to work, do you think that he got an apology? What I shared are only a few incidents over the years. My husband is such a strong KING in my book to endure all of that adversity frequently, and he remains with his head up high & his crown upright. I’m very emotional right now; I’m hurt, I’m tired, I’m angry because what we are seeing and living in our nation today is genuinely disgusting and heartbreaking. But I am hopeful for a better tomorrow. 

As a mother to a little mixed boy in a world that will one day only see him as a black man and threat, if change doesn’t come sooner. I fear for his safety and future. I told my husband that once our Black & Latino autistic son is old enough to comprehend the black mans plight, he needs to make sure that he gives him the full rundown of the ugly and all the injustices that he may face on a day to day basis so he can protect himself and to stay alive. I hope that our fight now for justice and change will prevail and bring a better future for our children of color. They genuinely deserve that future.

“For it isn’t enough to talk about peace. One must believe in it. And it isn’t enough to believe in it. One must work at it.” 

Eleanor Roosevelt 

1 comment

  1. To my grand daughter,
    I just finished reading your column, I now have tears in my eyes and pain in my heart at he thought of what you and my grandson have been facing during your courtship and marriage,as a 73 Y.O. Black great grandmother born and raised in the south (Alabama) who grew up being racially profiled This takes me back to my high school days in the 60’s during Dr.MLK Was marching in Selma and Montgomery, Alabama as a teen ages when we protested by riding the buses to and from school with our lunch monies. I said all of this to say I fill your pain with this racialist stuff that’ going on now is just a repeat of what I’ve lived most of my lifetime.Hold your head up granddaughter and don’t be afraid to fight. for what you believe is right for my two precious great grandchildren and your husband ,remember you are not in this alone, I love you , may God pour out His Blessings in abundance on you and your family. Your ,Grand mommy .

    Liked by 1 person

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