#SandraBland #SamDubose

         The main reason why what happened to Sandra Bland scares me to death is that this literally could’ve been me several years back. A few years ago, on my birthday, no less, my best friend and I were celebrating. We drove from where we live in Dayton, Ohio to the amusement park King’s Island which is about an hour drive south, if that. We went late because my birthday is in October and it’s Fright Fest around that time at King’s Island. On the way back, I honestly couldn’t tell you if I was speeding. I don’t think I was because I was keeping up with the rest of traffic, if not going slower. At one point I see this car tailing the fuck out of me. Whoever it was was dead on my bumper with bright lights, and because it was dark I couldn’t make out the car. Even though it was late the highway was still busy and I really wanted to get the hell out of this person’s way. I sped up a bit to get over and as soon as I did the cop threw on her lights. I was confused because the only reason I was speeding and getting over was to get the car off my ass… just like Sandra. Also, like Sandra I’m pissed. This was the second time I’d ever been pulled over and I can tell you both times my blood was boiling (the first time I was ever pulled over was when a cop cut me off, damn near hitting me, and then pulled me over because I flicked him off, but whatever). So she give the whole “You know why I pulled you over?” spiel and since my friend and I had just stopped to get food before this I just decided to eat with an attitude, give her as many “whatever” facial expressions, and told her I was speeding to get her off of my fucking bumper, until we could be back on our way. She was kind of a bitch to us, but I was just focused on her wrapping up whatever bullshit ticket she was going to give me.
        After what has just happened to Sandra, I’ve been replaying that incident in my head. My best friend that was with me was white. Would things have played out differently if we were both black or if I was by myself? I mean, we were on a dark highway and people were rushing down the road not paying any attention to us. If it was the middle of the night anything could’ve happened. I also think back to the many times when I lived in Chicago and when I wanted to drive back home I’d hop on the highway by myself. I don’t know if any of you have driven through Indiana, but through there from Chicago to Ohio looks like nothing but back roads and through most of it there’s hardly any traffic at all. Often times I wouldn’t see another car for miles. The only thing I was semi aware of is that certain spots of IN. are known to be racist so I took extra care when stopping for gas, but that was it. I never thought twice about it. Now I do have to think about that. I have to wonder if it’s safe for me to get into a car by myself. I have to double check and triple check my surroundings. This isn’t normal to be in this state of fear. I don’t want to live in a world where I’m more frightened to be pulled over than be in a car pileup. That’s fucked up. It really is. 
        What happened to Sam Dubose hits very close to home as well. For starters this happened in Cincinnati which, as I stated before, isn’t even an hour away. The reason Sam was pulled over is one that has caused police to pull over my mom several times. Something as dumb as a license plate not being on the front of a car cost Mr. Dubose his life. Completely unnecessary. When my mother would get pulled over it would only be in one neighborhood and, surprise, it’s a predominately white area. The last time she was pulled over the cop followed us in a parking lot and didn’t pull her over until she pulled out onto the road (which is dumb. Why not pull people over when they’re already out of traffic?). I remember the cop trying to be funny and looked at my mother, uncle, aunt, and I and said “Well look at you guys all dressed up? Where are you going to?” We were just coming from my 16 year old cousin’s funeral. That’s why we were so “fancy” *eye roll*. After that was all said an done since my uncle was in the car he put on the license plate for her. It’s funny how I still see tons of cars everyday without their front plates, but either way it’s still not a reason to ask someone to get out of the car let alone take their life. That scares me, because now we live in a time where cops are trigger happy and nervous because they’re afraid of a retaliation. I remember when this story first broke, my mom and I walked in the house and my father asked if we’d heard about it. My mother said she’d heard about it a little, but didn’t know why Sam Dubose had been pulled over. I just looked at her and said, “License plate.” I could see the look of disgust on her face to just utter confusion because that had been her many times before. I don’t even want to think about what could’ve happened the few times she had been pulled over for this. Black people are losing their lives for minor traffic offenses. Something as small as not using your turn signal will get you killed. I cannot comprehend why these things are happening. Why are we being murdered? Can we live?

-Asia Aneka Anderson

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