It was two o’clock in the afternoon on a beautiful sunny Friday in 2011. After spending office hours with my adviser, I crossed the university campus on my way to the bus stop. There was a UCLA—University of California, Los Angeles—Police Department car parked ahead, with a police officer standing outside. As I passed by, he stopped me and asked if I was a student. For a moment I thought that I was getting an international stop and frisk by the Brazilian police. Between ironically laughing to myself and trying hard to keep the anger from showing in my eyes, I looked at the police officer, and instead of answering, I asked him: “What’s going on around here?” He told me that “they had a situation on campus,” and he was just checking (on me). We remained silent for a few seconds, looking at each other. I pretended that I did not understand his explanation for stopping me. The question “And why have you chosen to check on me instead of other (white) students around here?” was screaming in my head. My strategic silence and the fact that we were on UCLA campus probably created tension for him. He started showing embarrassment and hastily said “Never mind!” and drove away in the police car.
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- Increasing Resilience to Face Diversity: Race in Academic and Social Environments from Salvador to Los Angeles
- Copyright Year
- Palgrave Macmillan US