Minoritized Youth and Racial Profiling, Part 2 

In the first blog post, we learned about Michael’s desire to quickly step out of his home merely blocks away to purchase a McDonald’s meal without a wallet. However, Michael also told us about the many times his mother notified him to carry a wallet with ID. For some people of color, this story may be a regular reminder about our struggle. For others, it is difficult to comprehend the big deal with walking to a restaurant close to home. Since we stopped short of learning about the profiling Michael experienced, we are going to continue to read about it now.     

 After Michael leaves his home, he tells us “As I turned the corner to walk down the street, I took a few steps and then proceeded to cross the busy street. Within seconds of doing so, I saw a police vehicle approaching. To this day, I am unsure of how I was able to predict this, but intuitively, I knew that this police car was coming for me. As much as I would have liked to be wrong, I wasn’t. Two Caucasian police officers immediately stopped the car by the curb that was parallel to my pathway. They yelled “Stop.” Then, they immediately jumped out of their car. I was scared and became intensely nervous. They shouted, “Put your hands up!” They pushed me against a brick wall, proceeded to frisk me and run through my pockets only to find money. While this event was happening, I was utterly embarrassed and ashamed. Anyone who traveled on this street at the time saw me being berated as if I was a criminal.  

The questions came one after another. One asked, “Where was I headed?” While the other questioned, “Where was I coming from?” My anxiety level was high, but I answered both questions truthfully praying that my answers would cease the onslaught of questioning. Still, with further interrogations, I realized that the officers didn’t believe me. Then, I was asked to present identification to validate my home address. My heart sank because I knew my wallet was left at home. The officers asked for my address and again, I shared. When I asked why this was happening the rebuttal was, I resembled the description of a suspicious individual roaming on the street. Afterall of the questioning and frisking, they released me. I was so startled by this experience, my appetite subsided, and I returned home. Upon returning home, I contacted my mother to explain what I had just experienced. While she was mad and hurt, I knew this reminiscent of a painful cycle that she and my dad once endured. She asked if I had my wallet with me and I replied, “no”. This obviously led to a discussion about keeping my wallet close to me. Eventually, it was unearthed that a neighbor, new to our street called the cops on me because they did not recognize my identity. 

 This dreaded event caused me to understand the errors in my actions. Additionally, I wanted to use the situation as a teachable moment to be knowledgeable of methods to employ for future references. Beyond the recommendation of regularly carrying a wallet, in accordance to the Pacer Center (2020), the following practices should be considered when adolescents interact with the police: (1) respectfully share your name, (2), avoid arguing with the police, (3) never run from the police, (4) ask if they are being arrested but never resist arrest, (5) have no discussion about the situation without the presence of a lawyer or a trusted adult, and (6) never lie. Other critical points to consider are to maintain the visibility of your hands, never assault the police officer, and practice self-control. While these recommendations will not prevent racial profiling, certainly, these steps will increase the likelihood of assisting children who have run-ins with the police to return home safely and securely.  


The basis of this blog post was to acknowledge the disproportionality that African American adolescents experience with racial profiling. In continuation, this discussion also luminated the need for parents to articulate to their children the importance of properly mitigating negative relations with police. Considering the idea that no child should experience mistreatment or endure traffic stops by the police because of skin color such occurrences have not been eradicated within societal norms. Recent years revealed, more than ever, homes with minoritized people must emphasize the topic of police brutality. Not because conversations around the subject is conceptually meaningful but for the mere fact that so many innocent black and brown children are unnecessary targets (i.e., Michael Brown, Breonna Taylor, Tamir Rice, etc.). Fortunately for me, I was able to live to tell my story, but observations shows that many other children cannot and may not be able to ensure the same fate.” 

 While Michael identified some current high profile innocent black and brown people who experienced unimaginable fates, there are so many more who never made or will ever make the news. Yet their loved ones and local communities are dealing with the results of the disparity in treatment. While the process of ridding our communities, countries and world of hate and mistreatment of people is a huge task, it is the purpose of our work at GOMO. We understand that hate only divides people and hurts the progress of a group, community, society and a nation. So we are intentional about bringing truths about the treatment of historically underrepresented and oppressed groups. Then we take the next steps of educating, guiding and supporting one school, one district and one organization at a time to help change the narrative for the future. If you believe that GOMO is the type of partner your organization would like to work with, schedule a consultation with us at www.gomoedservices.com#contact.       


Pacer Center. (2020). What Youth Need to Know if They Are Question by Police: Tips for Parents to Prepare Their Youth with a Disability. Retrieved from https://www.pacer.org/parent/php/PHP-c171.pdf 

Minoritized Youth and Racial Profiling, Part 1 

Growing up, my parents spoke to my brothers and sisters over and over about getting approval before going to places and visiting friends on our own. During my youth years, my understanding was limited because I always thought that everything would be fine and immediate approval increases my time to be with my friends. Since my parents were so protective, I did not encounter explicit racial profiling until I was a sophomore in high school. It was after wrestling practice. My best friend and I were walking through a store trying to purchase some krimpets. Then someone in the store was following us very closely without any shame. We returned to the store many times after because it was on our walking route home. However, we were racially profiled many times in the store afterwards. Additionally, we observed it happening to our other friends of color. Fortunately, this type of profiling did not lead to any harm to me or my friends.  

Blurred convenience store shelves

In our usual GOMO fashion, we seek to find people who have experienced the same type of topical challenges that we’re covering. This time, we have Dr. Michael DuBose, a New Jersey district supervisor and GOMO consultant, to share his input about his youth and racial profiling. “When reflecting on racial profiling, I ponder on Jor’Dell Richardson, a 14-year-old African American male from Colorado, who was fatally shot by Aurora Police Officer Gruszeczka on June 1, 2023 (Easterwood, 2023). I wonder what more could have been done to protect this child. Certainly, a common solution is frequent bi-directional discussions between the parent and child to inform, educate, and model appropriate behaviors to apply when dealing with the police. For this reason, if more minority homes continuously engage in these discussions with their children, perhaps less youth may fall prey to police brutality, like Richardson and countless others. According to Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF), a poll illustrated that 7 out of 10 African Americans encountered discriminative practices or abrasive circumstances involving law enforcement (KFF, 2020).  

Defined as the use of race to determine if an individual committed a crime (Oxford University Press, 2023), the insidiousness of racial profiling is a conundrum for the minority population (e.g., African Americans, Latino Americans, etc.) of all ages. Regardless if a minority individual lives in a red (Republican) state or a blue (Democratic) state, two facts remain true. Racial profiling is problematic throughout the United States and minority individuals experience this form of discrimination in modern times.  

Closeup of Police Lights on Dark Street at Night

While this blog post will focus on racial profiling by way of police officers, I opine that theoretically racial profiling extends beyond the discriminative actions by law enforcement. Clearly, one’s shopping excursion can be dictated by the treatment or perception by a merchant who is racially biased. McCabe (2023) reported the results of a Deal Aide survey wherein 1,020 African American consumers participated. The survey findings illustrated that the over 90% of African American expressed being racial profiled during their shopping experience.  

While flabbergasted by the latter statistical results, these findings are not surprising since my own experiences were bitterly familiar. Living in New Jersey, a progressive blue state, racial profiling is notorious. For example, ABC News (2000) revealed that NJ State Police were fully aware that African American drivers were targets for traffic violations. I’ve experienced circumstances involving racial profiling throughout my life. Some examples involved Santa Claus denying me the chance to pose for a picture while at the mall. Side note, this incident influenced my father to “play” Santa to show me that Santa loves all children. Moreover, in a world so huge, Black Santas exist too. Another example are the numerous moments I was followed from aisle-to-aisle in various stores. A final example were those times that I stood patiently flagging down a taxi in New York City. Despite how far I stretched or waved my arms, the color of my skin prevented me from getting serviced. While these experiences molded my perspective about being Black in America, none have been as detrimental to my being than being racial profiled by the police.   

My 17-year-old self was naïve and still wet behind the ears. With this in mind, never in a million years would I have surmised that I would have my own story to share about racial profiling. My parents were the conversative and practical types who were immensely involved in my development. They were raised in the South and spoke vividly about their experiences with racism. Because they had a child of dark pigmentation and I was learning how to drive, these stories were constant. With these variables in mind, my mother always got on my case about carrying a wallet every time I walked out of the house.  

At this time of my life, my parents and I resided in an opulent and rather prestigious neighborhood in Jersey City, New Jersey. Few African Americans were so privileged to reside on this street consequent to home pricing as well as the cost of rent. Further, I attended a county school whose schedule slightly differed from the city’s school district where I lived. Thus, my high school was off on this particular day, whereas the nearby schools were in session. Being a typical teenager, I was home alone, and I wanted some fresh air and a bite to eat. So, with a happy-go-lucky spirit, I rushed out the door to the nearby McDonalds situated on a busy road. Though I was mindful that I left my wallet at home, I thought what could possibly happen in such a short duration of time. I lived around the corner from McDonalds and hypothesized that it would be a quick trip. Besides, I possessed enough money to purchase one Quarter Pounder sandwich with a super-sized French fry, and an Orange Hi-C, with little to no ice.” 

Whether you live in an urban area like Jersey City, New Jersey or a suburban township like Laguna Beach, California, you are curious to know what will happen to Michael during his short walk to the nearby McDonalds. However, the question we should be asking ourselves, why should Michael have to be concerned with anything beyond having the funds to cover the expenses for his meal? Stay tuned for part 2 of this blog post to read about Michael’s experience of walking in his neighborhood during the day as a young black male. 


ABC News (2000). N.J. Knew of Racial Profiling for Years. Retrieved from https://abcnews.go.com/amp/US/story?id=95406&page=1 

Easterwood (2023). Aurora cop who shot 14-year-old has past racial profiling complaint. Retrieved from https://kdvr.com/news/local/aurora-cop-who-shot-14-year-old-has-past-racial-profiling-complaint/amp/ 

KFF (2023). Most of the Public Favor a Range of Police Reforms to Curb Excessive Force, though Partisan Gaps Exist on Some Key Proposal. Retrieved from https://www.pacer.org/parent/php/PHP-c171.pdf 

McCabe (2023). State of Racial Profiling in American Retail. Retrieved from https://dealaid.org/research/racial-profiling-in-retail/ 

Oxford University Press (2023). Racial Profiling. Retrieved from https://www.oxfordlearnersdictionaries.com/us/definition/english/racial-profiling?q=Racial+profiling