10 Ways To Prevent Getting Profiled By The Police If Driving While Black » VSB

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10 Ways To Prevent Getting Profiled By The Police If Driving While Black



For the past few months, comedian Chris Rock has been documenting his run-ins with the police by taking a selfie each time he’s profiled and sharing it on social media. Isaiah Washington, an actor best known for his role as Mets pitcher Dwight Gooden in the Joe Torre biopic, Joe Torre: Curveballs Along the Way, tweeted that Rock needs to adapt to profiling, even mentioning that once he stopped driving a Benz and started driving a Prius, he received much less attention from the police.

Predictably, Washington’s comments didn’t go over very well. But, I do think there was a lot of truth in what Washington was saying. My only gripe was that he didn’t go far enough. Following Washington’s lead, here are a few tips to remember if you’re Chris Rock or any other Black person and you happen to be driving and you don’t want to get profiled.

1. Don’t be Black

This is crucial. Nothing else on this list is as important as this detail. If you are a Black person and you happen to be driving and you don’t want to get racially profiled by the police, you need to do everything possible to just not be a Black person.

2. Be White

If you’re able to not be Black, it will definitely help your chances if you can somehow find a way to just be White.

3. If you suspect you might be Black before you get behind the wheel, find a way to not be Black before you get behind the wheel

Roughly 100% of driving while Black cases involve Black people who willingly got behind the wheel of a car despite knowing very well that they were Black. If this is you, and you’re thinking about driving, you need to find a way to not be Black before you start driving.

4. If you suspect you might be Black and you’re already behind the wheel, pull over, put the car in park, take the key out of the ignition, and then do what you can to not be Black before you resume driving

Note: It’s crucial to make sure you’re not Black anymore before you get back behind the wheel. Do not cut corners here.

5. Make sure your mirrors are functional and well-lit

Because, let’s say you tried to not be Black, assumed you were successful, but actually failed. How else would you know you’re actually still Black if not for several functional and well-lit mirrors?

6. If you do happen to see a police car in your rearview mirror, don’t panic

Why? Well, it’s not too late. Perhaps the officer has seen your car, but he hasn’t yet realized you’re Black. Police officers are people, remember? They don’t have superhuman vision. Anyway, if the officer hasn’t yet realized you’re Black, you still have time to not be Black.

7. If you do happen to get followed and stopped, again, don’t panic. 

Why? Well, as crazy as this sounds, between the time the officer stops you because he thinks you might be Black and approaches your car, you still have time to not be Black. You’ll have to move quickly, but if you can manage to not be Black in those 15 to 35 seconds, the officer will see that he’s made a mistake, and might even escort you to your destination.

8. If you are Black and you need to get somewhere and you’re finding it difficult to not be Black, find the nearest White person, tell him about your predicament, offer him some cash to drive you somewhere, hop in the trunk, and instruct him to let you out of your trunk when you get to your destination

This is why it’s always good to keep at least two or three White people around on retainer. Because having an available White guy around is like having a gun. You’d rather have one and not need one than need one and not have one.

9.  Be a ghost

If you do happen to be driving and you’re finding it just too damn difficult to be White on such short notice, try being a member of the undead that still walks the planet and exists in shadows. Although some cops might follow, pull over, and arrest you anyway, most will be so spooked that an apparition is driving a car they’ll probably just let you go.

(Please note, however, that being a Black ghost won’t work either.)

10. If you do happen to get stopped, and you’re not able to be White or an undead ghost, call an Uber

And, when the police officer approaches you, just tell him that you have T-Mobile, and you wanted to call an Uber from home, but you can only get a good cell reception in your car.

He’ll understand.

Damon Young

Damon Young is the editor-in-chief of VSB. He is also a columnist for GQ.com And he's working on a book of essays to be published by Ecco (HarperCollins). Damon is busy. He lives in Pittsburgh, and he really likes pancakes. Reach him at damon@verysmartbrothas.com. Or don't. Whatever.

  • iamnotakata

    Okay this explains why black twitter has been talking about IW…Sooo basically what IW is saying is that as a black person, rather than drive nice cars that we worked hard for and can now afford…we should drive a Prius…the car of geris and the future, to prevent racial profiling while black…my response to that is Oh OKAY girl….bye ashy a8s Isiah..

    • h.h.h.

      i think he worded it wrong…but i think his point was….


      • iamnotakata

        Naw he knew what he was saying… “adapt to profiling” the h*ll does that even mean..and why should one have to adapt to being consistently wrongly accused..naw

    • Val

      Or better yet, just take the bus. Lol

      • If the police just got paid more they wouldnt be bother about blacks in cars they cant afford

        • I dunno about your neck of the woods, but cops get PAID in the NYC tri-state.

          • LMNOP

            I think cops make good money pretty much everywhere (not at NYC levels in lower cost of living area, but still), AND if they do something terrible and get suspended or put on desk duty or have a forced early retirement, they get paid for that too.

  • Sometimes I wonder if these black folks preaching respectability politics are getting paid under the table. And if so, how much money are white people giving them to take a hot, steaming pile of s*** on their ancestors and such.

    • Val

      Hiya, AP!


      Their pay is being in the good graces of racist Whites for a short period of time. In other words, they work cheap.

      • Hey love!!

        I wonder how much I’d sell my soul to white folks for. I’d like to think no sum would be enough but I feel like I can put a price on it if I had to. $1 Trillion seems like a good place to start.

        • cryssi

          Naw, you have to go with made up numbers. Like eighty hundred thousand katrillion godzillion christinamillion billion × my birth year.

          Basically all the wealth of the entire 1 percent.

    • iphone300

      Honestly I wonder the same thing, I feel like there is a conspiracy… *Plays x-files music*

    • Nicholas Peters

      very simple…to keep continuously keep getting those checks…occasionally they have to cape for white people to attempt to maintain the veil of a post racial America…illusion of inclusion

      • “illusion of inclusion”

        I like this, I like it a lot.

    • HairFliponthatAzz

      Gurl! You get 1000 internet hugs. Your comment is Every-Fing-Thing!
      On that note, I’m going to end this day with some Wine and dessert! Mmm, Mmm, Mmm!

  • weethomas

    Hmm, though given the recent experience of an Uber driver with police, you may want to ensure that your Uber driver. . .is white.

  • Lola

    i find that it’s best to just stay at home and practice not being black. so if you have to go out… you’ll have a better chance at being white.

  • IsitFridayyet?

    I kinda understand Isaiah, sick of dealing with the same thing, he made a drastic choice to change his lifestyle in hopes to change the situation. That sounds like a proactive solution. It will work for a while, but when he realizes that he will never be able freely to enjoy the fruits of his labor is he going to become resentful? What is the point of working hard, if you can’t enjoy the results of your effort?

    The car he was driving was not the problem, so changing the type of car he drives is not going to make the problem go away.

  • Well, 3 priuses explains why Isaiah Washington looked like a hipster in the CNN interview.

    I do wonder what were the reasons the cops said they were stopping Chris Rock though, surprised no one even asked. It’s also telling that we live in an age, where CNN has outsourced it’s investigation department to twitter.

    • Nicholas Peters

      autographs?…if I was a cop I would always stop him for that…

  • I should have a comment but I don’t want the white man to know I can read or write #adapt

    • cryssi

      That’s some good adaptabilities, but can you sing or dance?

  • Tonja (aka Cheeks)

    My tweet responding to Chris Rock’s latest police stop was quoted in the CNN article about it. Mama, I made it. Can’t wait til Don Lemon asks me some racially or gender-ly insensitive question!


    • Sigma_Since 93

      I reported it first!!! :D

  • XYZ

    Things that make you “hmmm”.

    As one who has been pulled over by the cops for something that I did…

    If Chris R. has in fact been pulled over in that picture why is the cop’s car not directly behind? It looks like the car is passing him on the left side.

    AND if it’s that he is BEING told to pull over why are the lights on the cop’s car not on. Every time I have been pulled over I knew to do so because the cop’s turned his lights on to signal for me to pull over.

    Again it looks like he noticed the cop behind him and saw it as an opportunity to play the social media race card.

    Racism is very real. So real that I fear for my two black sons and teach them how to handle themselves in a situation where they may be pulled over by a cop one day. However, I also teach them to not lie about something when it really did not happen. All that does is fan the flames of a fire the is building on its own.

    • Wild Cougar

      New Black alert.

    • Pinks
    • KMN

      just to the question of the car not being directly behind him: so that folks can move over and not hit him and the person pulled over…that’s a safety tactic…lots of folks don’t pull over when a cop has someone pulled over…this way they HAVE to…IMO lol

      • LMNOP

        They do this all the time. I’m pretty sure they’re supposed to do it that way, for everyones safety.

    • Rachmo

      I don’t want to “well actually” you but in the original selfie you can see the blue lights coming from the cop car.


  • First libertarian shade, now TMobile shade. Tsk tsk my ninja.

    Ironically I am reading this on a bus down the east coast to collect my child from her grandfather. Despite the fact that a round trip on a Chinatown bus is somehow less than the tolls alone I pay driving down, the whole lack of humiliation from profiling is a big one. Nothing says proud father like your daughter seeing you profiled. ????

    I swear that cops don’t think we Black people should own cars. We should just stick to our hoods and designated work sites. After all, work and friends is just a cover story for f*cking White women mercilessly. Amirite? LOL

    • “I swear that cops don’t think we Black people should own cars.”

      I don’t know what #3Pruii Washington is doing but it doesn’t matter if you’re driving a beater or Caddy you will get pulled over and you will get asked “Were you at the mall earlier Mr. Young?”. There’s no way to adapt your way out of that.

      • Personally I think they’re trying to do what the Birth of a Nation author did when he said “that one purpose of his play was to create a feeling of abhorrence in white people, especially white women, against colored men … to prevent the mixing of white and Negro blood by intermarriage.”

        • Well they are going to take an L on that one.

          • Though there are plenty trying to keep hope alive on that front. Sigh…

        • Yeh, the author Thomas Dixon, saw a play of Uncle Tom’s Cabin, and was so insulted by how it portrayed the South that he decided he was going to create a fictional series that displayed the Klan as a story of white aristocrats trying to restore the great chain of being (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_chain_of_being)

          It’s the ironic thing about propaganda, you can come up with the idea, but those who will execute it, will always take it farther than you do. Nietszche had the ideas, Hitler executed them; Marx had the ideas, Stalin executed them. Thomas Dixon Jr and DW Griffith had the ideas, Williams J. Simmons executed it. People worry about the ideas, but it’s the people who act on them who usually destroy the world in the process.

          • Interesting. But I would argue that Nietzsche’s ideas were misappropriated and misunderstood by Hitler and Nietzsche’s sister. Nietzsche had no use for anti-semites as he made clear to his sister when he cut off relations with her and his brother-in-law.


            Nietzsche also left a publisher because he disliked the person’s anti-semitism. He was a complex guy but imo there’s no direct tie between Nieztsche and Hitler the way there was between Houston Chamberlain, Gobineau and Hitler.

            • I think it’s one of the aspects of 19th and 20th century German philosophers that they are often said to be misunderstood. Nietzsche is indeed a part of this; the philosophers had this way of making profound quotes, but backing them up with ambiguous/obscure arguments and logic, thus why they are constantly misunderstood. Historically, it was done for practical purposes: the more convoluted your ideas were, the harder it was to criticize and the more likely you were to get a job in Academia to explain it to your students. These are the people who invented the PhD system, which we practice in America today for the record.

              In general, he did say great things about the Jews, but he also implied that a. they had the power to rule Europe and b. that Germany could find salvation in the pursuit of war.

      • Sigma_Since 93

        “I swear that cops don’t think we Black people should own cars.”

        This cat back in the day used to have a license plate that said YESIWORK back in the day.

      • Amber

        Right… stop and frisk policies show us that we don’t even have to be in a car. Walking while black is just as dangerous.

        • Epsilonicus

          I got stories about random weapons checks as a middle schooler.

      • uNk

        I remember one time being at the mall, and i had forgot exactly where i parked. So im roaming around pressing my unlock buttion repeatedly searching for it and eventually mall security and a police officer showed up asking me what i was doing and if i even owned a car. I was already frustrated too, it was peak summer and blazing and now i have to deal….i could not deal

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