“There are very few African-American men who haven’t had the experience of walking across the street and hearing the locks click on the doors of cars. That happens to me, at least before I was a senator.” ~ Potus 44
Don’t Patronize Me Bro
- By: Larry Walker, II -
Whatever you do, don’t listen to anything Potus 44 says, period. The truth is that there are very few Black men who haven’t experienced an auto theft, or an attempted carjacking. Both have happened to me, twice in my early 20’s and again in my late 30’s.
This past week, diving headlong into Bizarro World, Potus 44 fabricated a story berating the clicking sound of car doors locking as somehow hurtful to the feelings of Black folks. No, seriously. And although it may not have been his intent, in so saying, he affirmed that he really didn’t know what he was doing when he took the job of President, and that there is really no need to take anything he says seriously ever again.
I don’t know who he thinks he is, or what glass bubble he’s been living in, but leaving your car doors unlocked, giving the benefit of the doubt to an approaching stranger, regardless of the age, race or sex of that stranger, is advice only a person completely devoid of common sense would fathom. The impression that the clicking sound of car doors locking is (or ever has been) in any sense racist must rank among the top 10 dumbest notions any Potus has uttered to date.
True racist experiences that I haven’t faced on my own, I have been taught by my father, who grew up in Harlem in the 40’s and 50’s, and lived in Detroit in the late 50’s and early 1960’s. I don’t have any use for the race-baiting rhetoric of Potus 44, who appears to know very little about the Black experience. It’s like listening to an alien, from a Galaxy light-years in the past, trying to explain to me what it’s like to be human. Sometimes I just have to shake my head and wonder whether this guy even believes himself.
Now I don’t know how your car doors operate, but in every car I’ve owned for nearly the last two decades the locks have engaged automatically, either when all the doors are shut, upon ignition or when placed into gear, and fortunately so. I say fortunately because of an incident I experienced in my own life.
An Average Day in 1997
The year was 1997, and the incident which follows occurred inside of the Atlanta Metropolitan Area. I had just gotten off work and decided to stop at the corner gas station to fill up. After filling the tank, in an afterthought, I decided to get something from inside to carry me through the meeting I was headed to. Not wanting to hog up space at the pump, I decided to park at the back of station and walk to the store. After the purchase, I returned to my car, got inside and sat for a couple of seconds, a thousand thoughts racing through my head. Then suddenly, a suspicious person emerged from the bushes at the front of the car, and passed by the passenger side. I gave the benefit of the doubt that this was just some harmless guy heading to the store from some sort of shortcut. But I was wrong.
As I observed through the rearview mirror, instead of heading into the store, this lunatic headed straight for my rear passenger door and proceeded to pull the latch two or three times. I literally couldn’t believe it was happening, especially in broad daylight. Luckily the door was locked. But then, before I could even react, my mind still half engaged in where I was coming from and where I was headed, he quickly moved to the front passenger side door and started tugging at the latch. Fortunately that door was locked as well.
I had no idea who this man was, but it was clear he represented an imminent threat. When he couldn’t open that door he scurried around the back of the car, heading for the driver’s side doors. That’s when my survival instincts kicked in. I fired up the engine and jolted the car backwards attempting to scare him away. I didn’t want to run the guy over, because that would have only led to my detainment at the very least, and possibly jail time. After backing up just enough, I shifted into drive and sped off, frantically, tires screeching. As I did so, like a zombie this fool was still grasping for my door latch.
Can you imagine what you would do if some violent looking, drugged-up, crack zombie, without warning suddenly jumped into your backseat? I didn’t know whether this guy had a gun or a knife or what his intentions were which is precisely why I fled the scene. I wanted to run into the store and warn them, but the perpetrator was standing in between, with that I don’t give a damn look on his face. He looked like he didn’t have a care in the world, like he was just going to help himself to whatever he wanted, whenever he wanted it, and when he couldn’t get to me, he simply headed towards the next unsuspecting victim.
Exiting into the street, I made a right turn and headed for an auto repair shop two blocks away to call the police. Cellular phones were uncommon at the time, so if you needed to make a call you normally had to find a pay phone, but I didn’t have time for that. I raced into the shop and told them to hurry and call the police, because some lunatic just tried to jack my car and was still out there, just down the street. The manager promptly dialed 911 and handed me the phone. I explained to the operator what happened and provided a description of the suspect.
After the call we all went outside to see what was happening. We could see the same guy, a tall thin Black male in his 30’s or 40’s wearing a white t-shirt and dark pants, out in the middle of the street walking from car to car trying to enter vehicles that were stopped at the traffic light in front of the gas station. People were backing up, turning sideways, running the red light and doing whatever they could to get away from him. It was too surreal.
Well, the police finally arrived, zeroing in on the suspect from all directions. I spoke briefly to one officer while the others took care of the miscreant.
When I was just a child, my father taught me that when heading to your vehicle, always have the keys in your hand ready to insert straight into the lock, open the door quickly, get inside quickly and close and lock the doors. Some lessons a father teaches should never be forgotten. Fortunately I listened, and have practiced this method ever since I started driving. I hope that anyone who hasn’t heard this before will get the message and do the same. Stay safe; keep your windows up and your doors locked, especially in crime-ridden, progressive-run, urban areas; and whatever you do don’t listen to Potus 44.
Word to the Race-Baiter in Chief
Don’t patronize me. It wouldn’t have mattered whether the individual in my story was male or female; black, white, brown, yellow or red; that’s not the point. Now this may hurt your feelings, and the feelings of fellow race-baiting rabble rousers, but that little lecture you gave the other day was the dumbest, sorriest, most pathetic waste of breath I have ever heard in my entire life. As Potus, you have a responsibility to promote the general welfare, but when you stray from your true purpose, as you so egregiously have, and begin sharing your own fears, insecurities and paranoia, which may just be byproducts of your own warped upbringing, as though all of America should be able to identify, you not only make yourself look like a fool, but complicit in the needless loss of young lives.
So here’s a suggestion for you. Since you don’t have any earthly idea what you’re talking about, you would do well to just keep your big mouth shut. As for me and my house, unless and until you come up with a solution for reducing Black-on-Black murder, and the Black crime rate in general, absolutely nothing you mutter about race, or anything else for that matter, will be taken seriously.
Photo via Fox5 San Diego: Two Men Accused of Carjacking Mustang Arrested
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