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  • Writer's pictureKayla Brock

Black in America

This is what it feels like to be black in America. This is 2018.

My body went cold and my mind began to race. My hands felt clammy and my eyes locked forward and refused to turn around. The cops lights were off and he didn’t move to get out of the car, but all the while I was worried. Any minute I thought I would hear the car door open and I would hear the footsteps and I was just waiting for the sound. Pop. Pop. Pop. Who knows how many times the sound of the gun would have gone off. Would I even be awake enough to hear it?

This is what it feels like to be black in America. This is 2018.

Let me start from the beginning.

It was an ordinary Tuesday or maybe Wednesday and I was walking home at night as I do every day (sorry mom). When I walk my pace is fast, I constantly turn around to make sure no one is following me and I carry a bright blue taser.

Yup, you read that right…a taser (doesn’t hurt to feel a little safer right?)

However, this walk…this walk was different.

As I was walking up the hill, a police car drove along the street I walk, but instead of driving up the hill and passing me he decided to stop by a parking garage nearby and sit.

Anyone else would think ‘Kayla, that’s no big deal. He’s just patrolling the neighborhood,’ and I agree but the fear that rose in my throat didn’t and I’ll tell you why.

I knew the cop could see me from where he was parked and I wondered if he thought I looked suspicious or if he could even make me out in the dark. All he could probably see was a black kid (girl? boy? who knows?) walking alone at night.I was carrying a taser (which is legal), but I feared that far away to that cop it could look like a gun. [Insert multiple black teens dying for items being mistaken as a gun]If number two was the case and if I turned my back on this cop as I walked would something happen? Would he get out of his car to follow me with my back turned? Would he see I was carrying something in my hand?

These are the thoughts that penetrate my mind from the mere sight of law enforcement at night and I’m sure I’m not alone.

What I don’t understand is how people believe this isn’t a reality. Please step into my shoes.

An ordinary night walk home all of a sudden turns into a dark thought of if I will live or die that evening. Will the station I write for be the ones to post about my death first? Or will I be forgotten about years later expect for on anniversaries.

These feeling are like weights. It is not an exaggeration or an afterthought. It is a weight that puts pressure on actions, reactions, movements, and speech.

Has this been the first time I’ve had this fear? No? but it is the first time I was so consciously aware of the situation that I could have potentially been in.

Like the author, Angie Thomas said, "It's dope to be black until it's hard to be black.” 

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