TPD Car

“Tulsa Police” is written on the sides of the new patrol sport utility vehicles, with the Tulsa Police Department badge below a silhouette of the Tulsa skyline. STEPHEN PINGRY/Tulsa World

I’m an early morning runner. Recently, an experience caused me to re-evaluate what it means to live in this country.

I embarked on a run, aware of a car behind me. The car drove slowly behind me and matched my pace.

A spotlight suddenly illuminated me from a police cruiser, and a police officer exited from the vehicle and approached maintaining a social distance.

“Sir, we had a recent call about a suspicious truck in the area,” he said. “We’ve had some recent burglaries in homes under construction.”

I explained that I was out for a morning run at my usual time.

“No problem — just wanted to check to be sure. Be careful,” he replied, and left.

I never gave it a second thought until now. Recent police confrontations with persons of color reminded me of my experience.

The officer was polite and justified in stopping me. I was grateful he was watching our neighborhood.

But, would my experience have been different based only on the color of my skin?

I assumed anyone’s experience would be like mine. I had a hidden privilege not extended to others.

That’s why I support the Black Lives Matter movement. Any life, regardless of race, gender, orientation or religion should have the same experience I did.

We must move to a point where all lives matter: a "privilege" extending to all. I hope by speaking out and asking ourselves “What if it were me?” we embrace our common humanity.

Letters to the editor are encouraged. Send letters to letters@tulsaworld.com.


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