When you find yourself talking to a policeman — and this is inevitable, as a black man in America — it’s never about being right, or who’s right. It’s about staying alive, because due process doesn’t matter for shit when you’re dead. Things speed up again, and maybe your vision contracts so that it’s only you and him when he asks for your license and registration; or, it’s only the two of you as you see his head turn when you walk by — will he stop me? Will he kill me? Is today my day? — and it’s like slow dancing with someone you love, only your heart pounds for the wrong reason. It’s remarkably like being called that slur, the one that reverberates through history and lands like a whip on your back.
— Bijan Stephen, The Talk