With all this normalized racism swirling around my home state it is easy for one to lose perspective on the personal impact.
A few weeks ago my son was set to hang out at his friend’s house after that boy got off work. The plan was for (let’s call him) Sergio to drive over and pick up the ePrince after 10:30pm. It was a Saturday nite just before school was set to let out for the summer and I am okay with the ePrince staying at this friend’s house because Sergio’s mother is even more protective of her boys than I am!
I first met Sergio when the ePrince brought him home after school. They were in the 6th grade and made fast friends. I remember teasing the boys to “look white” as they went off skateboarding at an empty parking lot in our area. Sergio was a really shy, super smart kid. He is a really nice boy for the ePrince to hang out with and frankly Sergio is a far cry from some of the kids in our middle class neighborhood who began to act like disaffected youth, selling drugs and hanging out on the streets doing nothing all the time. Sergio has always been a motivated kid who gets great grades and doesn’t turn down great opportunities. As a Junior in high school this year, he already has a full-ride scholarship from an out of state university.
Sergio is a native to the U.S., his parents are now U.S. citizens, having arrived to work here, legally from Mexico and since worked hard to own a profitable business and raise their other 5 boys to be as great as Sergio is.
So, when after 10:30pm Sergio didn’t show up on our doorstep, I began to fret. Sergio doesn’t have a cell phone. After 11pm I was just about hysterical with worry. His brother wasn’t answering his cell phone and we didn’t want to wake up the babies by calling their house number so late. After 12pm I finally sent the ePrince to bed and determined that we’d have to figure out what had happened to Sergio in the morning.
When we finally tracked down Sergio we were horrified about what had happened to him during the short 5 miles travel between his house and ours.
Sergio was picked up for Driving While Mexican.
He told us that the police pulled him over, arrested him, and stripped down his father’s truck claiming that “an armed robbery had just taken place, with a truck and a man matching his description.”
I call bullshit.
There was no similar truck with a scrawny, cute, nerdy young Mexican kid driving towards uptown involved in an armed robbery that night.
And the worst part is that this kid is now freaked.
The police scared him. And now he is afraid to be out at night.
For no other reason than that he is a young Mexican male in this racist state.