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 is the editor-in-chief of VSB, a contributing opinion writer for The New York Times, and the author of What Doesn't Kill You Makes You Blacker (Ecco/HarperCollins)



This comment or account was deleted on Disqus before Very Smart Brothas' comments were migrated to Kinja.