I start medical school next Monday. My job ended last Friday. So today I went to the office to return the computer and monitor and mouse I had from work so I could work at home during the shutdown. There was no one else there. My car was the only car in the parking lot. The irony of a Black person in a mask carrying a computer INTO a building was not lost on me! But it wasn’t until I walked out with personal items from my desk and a garbage collection truck drove into the parking lot that things changed. I was carrying 2 water bottles, a mug stuffed with small items, a bottle of lotion, and… a very colorful pair of Beats knock-off headphones. Immediately my thought was: What do they think of me? I’m an employee who is cleaning out her desk. But is all they see a Black person looting? I know my light skin and long nose won’t protect me. My hair is too “ethnic”. I put the items in my car and then stayed by my car until they left, just in case. As I went back inside to get my desk lamp, pictures of my kids, and a book, my thought was: “I’ve got to get out of here before the cops show up.” Because I don’t know if they decided to call the cops instead of confronting me themselves. It won’t matter that I have a key to the building, and know the alarm code. The police don’t know me. They will only have institutionalize assumptions about me, unless I’m really lucky.
And just as horrible as all of this experience is for me, is the fact that I now have to think I can no longer trust the police. I’ve always been able to trust them where I live. It brings me to tears, to not be able to feel that way anymore….