3. My siblings and I drove cross country from LA to Texas to get my brother’s car registered. It was our first road trip together and a lot of fun. Once again, very young, I was taking pictures of every structure and person. I felt free. On an open road, I believe in Mexico City, my brother was going the speed limit and switched lanes after passing a semi truck. Out of nowhere, a police car rides from the opposite lane, crosses over dirt and other lanes to pull my brother over. He takes my brother out behind our car to discuss why he pulled him over. When I saw the officer’s brim hat, shades, and tall boots through the rearview mirror, I became excited. The officer’s style reminded me of all the Western TV shows I used to watch with my mom. All I wanted to do was take a picture of him with my Polaroid. Without thinking, I opened the door to ask if I could take a picture of him with me. All I remember, like a Western draw, hand to holster, the officer proceeds to yell at me to get that “boy” back into the car. I learned that day I was a criminal with a polaroid camera.
4. I did a year at Boston University as a college senior because I thought my journey to medicine was going to have me in medical school. On the school’s campus, there is a convenient store where all the students go at any time of the night to get their snacks. During my late night study, I decided to go down to get some chips. As I walked up to the cash register and placed my chips on the counter, I reached into my black coat to get my wallet. Before I could pull my hand out, the cashier threw his hands up high, scared. I looked at him and then glanced at the 5 people standing around him in the store looking at me wondering what I was going to do. Once he saw my wallet, he proceeded to laugh. I bought my dollar chips and left. I learned that day I was a robber with an education.
5. Someone that goes unnamed recently apologized for calling me a racial slur in high school during these trying times we are currently in. I honestly do not remember what was said or when it was said; but it made me realize there are probably a lot of traumatic moments I have blown off because in America we are forced too. I learned just recently I am a traumatized amnesiac.
Suburban black kid raised in Austin, Texas who went to an HBCU and a PWI, these are just the handful. Imagine all the other hands of black and brown individuals with similar stories.
So before we denounce and overlook these stories in the media, just know your neighbors, co-workers, family, and friends are the untold ones. Just listen.
What are your Top 5?