I consider myself pretty non-threatening. I barely weigh 120 pounds. I usually have a baby with me, and I’ve always been a girly girl.
As a black woman, however, I frequently have to snap myself out of that thinking. No matter how harmless I think I am — or how harmless I think my toddler, Donovan, is for that matter — that may not be how others perceive us simply because we are black.
Two recent news stories drove home that point for me.
In one of them, a pregnant Black woman was seen in viral video footage telling a Colorado police officer to “stop squishing” her stomach when her complaint over a $1.50 coupon led to a pat-down involving three police officers Aug. 23 outside the Briarwood Circle Target in Aurora.
In the other incident, a 10-year-old black boy from Canton, Mich. was charged with aggravated assault when he hurt another student during a schoolyard dodgeball game April 29, according to NBC News.
Both incidents served as harsh reminders that it doesn’t matter how well I present, how gainfully employed I am or how harmless I perceive myself, black is black.
Although prosecutors ultimately dropped the charges against Bryce, it wasn’t before his mother Cameishi Triplett Lindley so feared the legal expense of having her child properly represented that she took to Facebook to raise money for the child’s legal fees.
She raised more than $15,000 of a $4,000 goal.
Lindley told the Appeal her son is still dealing with the effects of being treated like a criminal.
She said she is continuing to press the Wayne County prosecutor’s office to find him treatment for trauma.
“I definitely would like to see some kind of change,” she told the Appeal. “I would like people to be held accountable and responsible for what they do.”