A story about my friend Travis Jackson
Summer, 2014 – It never dawns on you at 17-years old that society lives by its own rules. I never saw color, never saw abusive treatment toward one race … before I opened my eyes. My parents did a great job of shielding me from that hatred, but my eyes and mind were made aware of what was right in front of me, from that moment on I could not be silent.
It was a long day in the summer, as my best friend Travis and I were out doing deliveries for my uncle’s bounce house company. We had one last delivery in Ellington, CT. We had to drive through Enfield, CT (neighboring town) to get to our destination, but then we were halted at a traffic stop.
Once we come to a complete stop, a white officer pulls up the passenger side window and already something seems off. I’m no expert, but when one gets pulled over don’t the majority of officers approach the driver’s side window?
Travis rolls down his window and immediately the officer says “License and registration … boy”. If anyone who doesn’t know the loose term ‘boy’ it’s considered a racial slur and very offensive which was used back in the Jim Crow era and even further than that. I noticed that his full attention was on Travis and he barely had any eye contact with me. I sat up in my seat and asked “Don’t you need my license as well since I’m the driver”. The officer nodded and he took both our license back to his squad car.
“License and registration … boy”
When the officer returned to our truck everything took a turn for the worst. As there were no issues with our licenses, he kept his full attention on Travis. He put his hand on his belt and looked at Travis and said. “notice you don’t have your seatbelt on” the officer said. “You should learn the rules of the road” he went on. I looked over at my side and had noticed that I didn’t have my seatbelt on either, so without hesitation, I told the officer that I wasn’t wearing mine and he told me that ‘This did not concern me’.
Mind you we are at a traffic stop where these stops take a minimum of five minutes. The officer went back to his car for a second time and by the time he got back Travis was given a ticket for $92 for not wearing his seatbelt.
Let me paint a clearer picture for anyone out there who doesn’t understand what is going on as there is a lot that went wrong here. Although it didn’t get violent, Travis was targeted because he was Black.
The officer approached the passenger side window, asking Travis for his license and registration yet I’m the one driving the truck. Used racial slurs to justify his actions and to get his message across that he is superior. Charges Travis $92 for not wearing a seatbelt that could’ve easily deserved a pass on a citation as there was nothing wrong with his driving record. The worst part about all of this is I was just as guilty as travis, but it didn’t matter because I was white.
I had every intention of losing my temper and standing up to the officer, but Travis told me to keep my cool. Travis told me to stay silent because he didn’t know how this would all play out. In retrospect, Travis was looking out for me and creating a balance; the same thing that the Black Lives Matter Movement is demonstrating yet people fail to realize that.
Now this issue isn’t as bad as getting beatdown or even worse, losing your life.This is an example of the prejudice that continues into today’s society. Police brutality has always been an issue and Black Men are the primary target. It may not have gotten violent, but what if I wasn’t present? What if Travis was alone doing deliveries? Would it play out differently? Looking back I probably wouldn’t have my best friend.
It was there in 2014, it was there 400 years before that, and now we are experiencing the same tactics and issues now.
I don’t know what it is to be a black, nor will I ever know, but what I do know is this type of behavior by police is unacceptable. All Lives don’t matter until Black Lives do. Imagine fearing for your life every time you step outside, sleep in your own bed, buy skittles at the store, go for a jog, etc.
Am I painting a clear picture for all you “All Lives Matter” people? Am I making my self clear to the white people who push their MLK narratives until their blue in the face? We simply do not live in a safe environment. Any chance of a better life in America has completely and utterly left the building.
As I’ve said many times I will not be silenced. As a white man with a platform, I refuse to let others dictate how this will all play out. There needs to be a change in the system. I stand with the BLM movement and won’t sit down until justice is served!
This article is dedicated to my best friend Travis Jackson who is alive and well. I love you bro!