"Okay, before you go out, what do you do if you get pulled over?" The proper response? "Keep your hands on the steering wheel, look straight ahead and answer, 'Yes, sir' or 'No, sir.' Don't give them any lip." This was the gist of the conversation my close friend's mother routinely had with her then teenage son when he took the car to hang out with his friends. It wasn't a matter of if he'd be pulled over, but a matter of when and how often. Rather than being guilty of a DWI, he'd be guilty of DWB, or "Driving While Black." Being pulled over (or hassled in others ways), often for no apparent reason, is a recurring experience for many African-Americans who are minding their own business. But it's not just African-Americans.
My friend Eve Nunez and her husband Joseph told me that law-enforcement officials in Arizona routinely hassle Latinos (both documented and undocumented). One friend of theirs was chased down the highway in his SUV and actually called them while it was happening. He was ...1