It is a question that many a white person will ask when they see a black person fleeing from the police. I will admit that I used to ask this question myself. Doesn’t running from the police make it worse for the person running? If you just cooperated with the police then you would be treated justly and fairly because you give the police nothing to act badly on. Right?
Well, if you have thought these things in the last week or so after the Michael Brown shooting in Ferguson then you are looking at the situation through your rose colored classes of privilege. As a white person you likely have never been stopped by police for “jaywalking”. In fact you have likely never been stopped and frisked. You have likely never been pulled over in a nice neighborhood and asked if you belonged. As a white person you are likely approached calmly and rationally by a member of law enforcement when you are stopped for routine items like broken taillights, running stop signs and speeding. White people have every reason to cooperate with law enforcement. Getting a ticket may suck but it is not a huge deal in the grand scheme of things.
The treatment of a young black male by many in law enforcement is much different. I cannot know this via my personal experience. I can only open my eyes, remove my privileged glasses, and see what happens to people who are darker complected than myself. What I see is not a pretty picture. And that picture is completed with the recent shooting of Michael Brown. Evidence points to Brown running away from the car and being shot at while 35 feet away. I am not sure where in the police handbook where it states an individual with his back to you 35 feet away is justification to use deadly force. If getting captured by a police officer means that you have the possibility of being beaten up and potentially killed by that police officer and if none of that happens you then have a chance at being railroaded through a judicial system that is biased against you, the question shouldn’t be why run from the cops. The question should be, why wouldn’t you run from the cops?
The bottom line is this, if I had to put myself in the shoes of persons who are black and was then pulled over by the police, I would sure as hell hope that they were running shoes because I would want to get the hell out of there as well.