This Is How It Feels to Be Racially Profiled

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While I’ve always been aware that black and brown people are profiled, somehow I thought I was the exception.

The above graphic does not depict the article’s author, her arresting officer, or the incident described in this article.A third degree felony. That was my charge after what I assumed would be a typical traffic stop. I was pulled over while driving to work in my fiancé's car, a Porsche Cayenne new enough that it still brandished temporary dealership tags. I anticipated getting another petty ticket for something I may or may not have done.

Instead of charging me with a standard traffic violation, the officer went straight for a felony charge—bypassing traffic court and forcing my case into criminal court. The charge would require me to get a lawyer, and, if convicted, could affect my ability to get a job. If I couldn’t afford a good attorney, a guilty verdict would leave me facing, at least, three years in prison.

Despite my seeming success in court, I did not walk away from this experience unscathed. Being arrested made me doubt myself and my outlook. For weeks afterward, I grappled with whether or not I was a good person. I was constantly ruminating over new and old mistakes; mulling over every lie I had recently told. I beat myself up for times when I didn’t say the right thing.


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