I got stopped by the police again today.
I prepared myself for it. I knew it was going to happen. I told myself not to let it get to me. That it’s just part of my commute to work.
Sometimes that self-talk works and I get through a traffic stop without opening my mouth.
Today was not one of those days. I didn’t start crying like in the previous traffic police blog I wrote, but I did smart off.
As I was driving up to the traffic stop, I was surrounded by at least ten fellow motorbike drivers, however, I was the only bike asked to stop. This irritated me. I knew why I was asked to stop and I knew it had nothing to do with my driving skills or obedience to the subjective laws.
Surprisingly, as I was asking the police officer smart ass questions, he actually admitted to pulling me over because I am not Thai.
This experience, once again, sent my thoughts into a whirlwind of justice and anger and then into empathy and mercy.
My first thoughts when this kind of stuff happens to me in Thailand, is that our government needs to be big jerks when Thai people come vacation in the States–charge double or triple normal entry fees, pull them over for being asian, laugh at them when they try to speak English, etc., etc.
But, after a minute or so spewing in those nasty thoughts, I remember all the racial profiling that already exists in the States. Maybe not towards Thai people, but towards black, Mexican or Muslim citizens and refugees.
I’m reminded that a lot of the inconveniences I have to deal with as a minority in Thailand are the same sort of inconveniences shared by the non-white population of my home country.
The racism and discrimination that happens based on the color of people’s skin breaks my heart. And while I am by no means an example of grace in the midst of shitty situations, I am grateful to be able to empathize with the minority. It’s an opportunity that most white Americans will never have. And it sucks.
We can do better.