Story of Racism:
The kids and I were out of town and Jacques had just gotten home from a trip, was horribly jet-lagged and sound asleep when the house alarm went off in the middle of the night. It was a false alarm (we believe) and after checking the house and answering the call from the alarm company to tell them everything was ok, Jacques went back to bed. Just as he fell back to sleep, there was a pounding on the door. From the landing on the steps, he could see a flashlight shining in the window of the door and a cop’s suv parked in front of the house. Jacques, in nothing but pajama pants, went to answer the door and was greeted with a gun. The officer demanded to know who he was and refused to believe him when Jacques told him he was the homeowner. He pressured Jacques to say he didn’t live there. The officer demanded ID and didn’t believe him when Jacques said his wallet was upstairs in the bedroom. Where else would it be — he’s in his pajamas, for crying out loud?? So at gunpoint, Jacques went and got his wallet, showed his ID, and the officer called it in to the PD to verify — even though the address on the ID was our actual home address where he was literally standing with a half naked man at gunpoint.
Think that’s just procedural and a little aggressive but overall for the safety of the officer checking on an alarm? Try again. Before letting the cop in, Jacques had to disarm the alarm. Using a PIN. He also had to wipe the sleep out of his eyes and was putting on slippers as he walked down the steps which the officer could see from the window. In a quiet, solidly middle class suburb of a large city. At 3 in the morning.
I ask you who are white, would that happen to you? To your white husband? Or would you/he be afforded the benefit of the doubt and some common courtesy — as in, perhaps not having a gun leveled at you?? This was not for the safety of the officers. This was because Jacques is a black man.
(Edited to add: this happened in Allen, Texas in approximately 2013)
MY WHITE PRIVILEGE:
Today I’m sharing something from Rebekah (our oldest daughter who is 24). I had asked her how she has witnessed my white privilege. “I go out with you and I have your protection. I go out with Daddy and I don’t always feel protected. I feel protected in the sense that he could stop some perv from being weird. But he can not protect me from a cop or a white racist. I feel like I’d have to protect him. He’s darker. I can blend.”
Not going to lie. I’ve cried three times since she told me this yesterday.
Originally posted June 2020 on https://medium.com/@invisibleleftovers