Riding While Black or Just Riding?
From Robert Jones’s blog This Is the Diaspora comes a disturbing tale (well worth reading in full) of how a beautiful bike ride on a sparkling fall day turned into a humiliating encounter with the police — all because Jones detoured onto the sidewalk of Malcolm X Boulevard in Brooklyn for a few seconds to avoid traffic:
My head started to pound. I was terrified. Were they going to arrest us for riding our bikes on the sidewalk for less than ten seconds? I’m not a Christian but my Jesus! Was I dressed "inappropriately?" Did I look like a thug? Did we look like criminals? Did we resemble some other black people they were looking for? Maybe we should’ve worn bike gear: helmets; knee pads; elbow pads; tight, non-threatening biker pants. Were we smiling? Maybe we should’ve smiled? Or maybe not.
Jones and his partner have court dates at the end of January. We’ll follow up then.