Imagine how it feels to walk past a vehicle and hear the car doors lock once the driver sees you. Imagine how it feels to see a woman clutch her purse a little tighter at the sight of you. Imagine how it feels to be in line at a store and the customer in front of you drops money, can’t find it and automatically looks at you under the assumption that you took it. Imagine how it feels when you’re shopping and an employee follows you around the store. Imagine how it feels to purchase something you don’t need just because you don’t want anyone to think you stole anything. Imagine how it feels to be asked, in a demeaning tone, “is that you’re real voice or your professional voice?”
Imagine how it feels to be terrified to pull over when you see those flashing lights behind you. Imagine how it feels to think twice about asking for assistance from a police officer. Imagine how it feels to be seen as a threat before you’re seen as a human being. Imagine how it feels to be imprisoned for a crime you did not commit because you fit the description. Imagine how it feels for a moment when others around you are shown a joke about Neil Armstrong and when it gets to you the person asks do you even know who he is.
Imagine how it feels when people are surprised by the fact that you are able to speak intelligently and hold a thoughtful conversation. Imagine how it feels to wake up every day and be inundated with the deaths of people that look like you and their murderers are not punished. Imagine how it feels to hear your fellow countrymen say that those victims deserved to die because of their pasts.
Then imagine how it feels to voice these concerns and be told that you’re imagining things and it’s all in your head. You should get over it and stop “pulling the race card” because your feelings are invalid. Imagine how it feels. Open your mind and open your heart before you open your mouth. We are not the enemy.