“They found out I wasn’t just, I guess, their perception of what a mixed kid from the south side of Chicago is.”
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Transcript for Pulled Over Probably Twenty Times
When the police pulled me over my freshman year, the officer—it was on campus, and I was on my way to the gym to play ball—it was probably like eight o’clock at night. And I didn’t have my ID on me. I had left it in my room. And you know, at first he didn’t think I went to the university, and like, he didn’t really have a reason for pulling me over. He just, you know, looked around the car and then eventually tried to find something—I think he said, like, there was an exposed light underneath my car or something like that—some BS, like, didn’t make sense. But yeah, he started talking to me, he was like, you know, ‘Do you go here? It doesn’t look like you go here. Blah, blah, blah.’ And he said, you know, he was asking about my vehicle and like, you know, how I got such a nice car, you know what I mean? He was surprised about it in a lot of ways. It really just bothered me, and didn’t give me a ticket or anything—never really, you know, gave me a concrete reason why I was pulled over.
Getting pulled over by the police and, you know, them telling me how nice of a car I had—the reason why I bought such a nice car even—I had worked really hard throughout high school, and I got a car because I needed something to get around. Public transportation isn’t reliable. But then, there are certain things, like, that you take pride of, like from Hispanics’ point of view, you take pride in, like, the vehicle that you drive, for the African American point of view, you take pride in the clothes that you wear. So, when people question, you know, the priorities that people have, and why you buy certain things, that’s something that people didn’t understand. So, when the cop pulled me over, he was like, you know, ‘Why do you have such a nice car blah, blah, blah if you’re from here and from here?’ I’m like, you know, ‘Maybe you don’t understand, you know, this is part of just how I value, like, you know, success, and how I value different things, so…’
It was interesting because my freshman year, I got pulled over probably over twenty times my freshman year. I never got a ticket for anything. I just kept getting pulled over within the city of Valparaiso and also on campus as well, so, that was a different experience. It stopped happening after I started working in the marketing department, and I started, you know, shaking peoples’ hands, and some people started to get to know me, and know who I was, and know my background, know my success, and you know, my performance things, and found out that I wasn’t just, you know, I guess their perception of what a mixed kid from the South Side of Chicago is. After that, then people started being really nice to me. I can go shake the police chief’s hand here, and they know me, and you know, anything I need, I can call them right away, and they’ll help me out. But that’s when it started to happen, is when I started to show ways, I guess, that I can help them, and show ways that I’m not, you know—I don’t know—whatever they want to perceive me as.
Not mad about it, because I know it’s a part of life, and I know that there’s certain obstacles, and there’s certain faces that you have to put on, and certain roles that you have to play, and there’s certain things that you have to do that may not make sense and not be, you know, not even be right, but in order to progress, you have to do it. I know that, and I learned that at a very early age, so it doesn’t really bother me as much. I think I’ve become really desensitized to it over the years.