Traffic stops and other interactions with police have been in the news a lot lately, and while they don’t always seem to play out equally for black citizens and white citizens, you’ll never guess what happened when a white cop stopped a white woman for not having her 5 year-old in a car seat. Spoiler alert: White people have better luck during traffic stopsandat Walmart.
Michigan police officer Ben Hall pulled Alexis DeLorenzo over last Friday when another motorist reported seeing an “unsecured child” in the vehicle. Instead of giving her a ticket or calling Child Protective Services, Officer Hall went to Walmart with her, and bought her a new car seat. DeLorenzo said her old car seat had been in a car that was repossessed, and she couldn’t afford a new one.
Hall’s heroic deed made it all the way to CNN, which featured Hall’s story on New Day‘s “The Good Stuff” segment, along with a detail that everyone seems too willing to overlook:
“There was a young child that didn’t have a car seat, and was standing around in the vehicle.”
Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad DeLorenzo didn’t get shot, tased, or dragged from her car at gunpoint and cuffed, and Hall’s right, ticketing her would not have made it any easier to get a car seat, but this wasn’t just someone who couldn’t afford a car seat. Making the decision to drive with an unsecured 5 year-old showed dangerously poor judgment, and if this had been a black person, we wouldn’t be watching this on “The Good Stuff,” we’d be getting treated to details about what swanky destination they were headed to, what a fancy cellphone and jeans the mom had, and just how easily she could have gotten a car seat from Michigan’s federally-funded free car seat program.
I’m glad that kid has a car seat now, but even gladder she didn’t have to witness anything like this. Even when you’re poor, it’s good to be white.