My first actual face to face with a possible racial attack was not my only one. As the year progressed, so did racism. When I was twelve years old, I went into a Rid Aid store located on the corner where drug dealers and gang violence were common. Inside, I bought myself a Pepsi because it had been a hot day and I had been raking leaves all morning trying to make some money for my sisters and me. Nevertheless, I walk outside and there stood the same cop that checked me that day in the park. I knew it was the same cop because I could not forget the face, since I was still not completely aware of the realism between society and racism. He looked at me and immediately suspected. He started to walk in my direction but I proceeded to walk away. He called me outside of my name, “boy”, he said, in his false Southern accent. I stopped, immediately turning around and talking back. “I didn’t do anything”, I said, not out of suspicion, but rather curiosity. He looked me up and down, beginning to suspect that I had done something wrong. “There has been a lot of drug dealing around here. You aren’t dealing?” He said to me. I got offended and instantly attacked, “no, but if you keep looking, you might find someone.” I knew about drugs since I was ten, but I had never been a dealer of drugs before. He stared at me and then grabbed me by my arm and threw me on the wall of the store and started frisking me for any contraband. Then, I got stereotypical. I started swearing him out of his name and screaming to the top of my lungs. My mom was at home with my grandfather and my sisters and I was a while walk down the road. He finished checking me and let me go. I was angry. By then my mom had told me about how cops handle young “thugs” of the street and they categorize you before you say anything. I held my tong and walked home. An hour later, I walked through my door upset and my grandfather started asking me where I was. I told him I went to the store, eventually getting frisked by a cop because I looked suspicious once again. He stared at me and told me a piece of advice that I have not forgotten to this day. He said, “Be careful because you never know who or what is watching you. Stay alert and always be polite, even when you know they are in the wrong.” At first, I did not understand what he meant. Only until the next time did I truly contemplate those words of wisdom and only then did I realize that racism exist, even when you are too naïve to know about it.
Put yourself in my position. I have dealt with racism and stereotyping my entire life. These may sound likes “stories” but they are reality. It still does exist. However, in this incident, it is more blatant that stereotyping and racism occurred and that I was a victim.