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Traffic stop analysis

The perils of driving while black (DWB) have been a concern of mine for some years. Though the bad old days may be over when Black drivers were stopped because they were driving really nice cars and must therefore be drug dealers, I still worry when I see a police car stop a Black driver on a Birmingham street.

Kevin Elliott’s excellent analysis of data demonstrating that Black citizens are stopped out of proportion to their percentage in the population (By the Numbers: Police Traffic Stops/December) reminds us that this disheartening practice is still going on.

What can a white person who cares about the quality of life and the safety for Black people in the Birmingham area do? The example of the teenager who stood witness by making a video of George Floyd’s murder gives me an idea: when we see a Black driver pulled over by a police car, let’s get out of our car and video what is going on. Yes, the police officer is going to be furious, but we might add an extra layer of protection for the Black driver and perhaps a disincentive against unfair racial profiling.

Dr. Annis Pratt



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