I was the classic hyperactive boy. This was fully on display in my late teens and twenties when I was a young driver. Luckily I am an athlete with exceptional spatial abilities and hand eye coordination. So, despite being, at one point, one point away from losing my licence from speeding tickets, I was never in an accident that was my fault.
There was an incident when I was at an all day concert in North Hampton with a girl. We originally were going to camp out and come home in the morning. But it had rained that day and we couldn’t find any good places to stay… and I was still wired at 1am. I was about 19 at the time, pretty much straight edge. So when I got pulled over on the Mass Pike at 1am going 95 mph I was totally sober.
I should probably note now, for those of you who don’t know me personally or haven’t seen my pictures on the other pages of my site, that I am about as white as you get. Not in the sense that I’m Mayflower white. I’m 3rd generation American in three directions and am a total mutt. But, I am a white (partly) Anglo-Saxon (raised) Protestant, who grew up (solidly middle class) in a rich Boston suburb.
So, when I got pulled over I was scared… about losing my license, about having my car towed and how I was going to get home, about having to tell my parents, about what it was going to do to my insurance rates. But not for one second was I scared about the interaction I was about to have with the state police officer that was about to come to my car door. Because, fundamentally, I grew up with a respectful relationship with cops and was always treated fairly by them. The youth office in Newton was my D.A.R.E officer and the coach of our state championship high school lacrosse team.
And that interaction went fine. I got a huge ticket for driving 89 mph. I think that is because 90 mph meant an automatic driving to endanger charge that may have meant impounding the car and lots of paperwork. And, the trooper seemed like a good guy. I like to think the interaction would have gone exactly the same if I were a young black man. But I don’t know. Certainly statistics show that that is not always the case. And if you think a young black man in the same situation doesn’t have a reason to be concerned, you are wilfully ignorant of the world we live in.
I’m posting this now because I’ve wrestled with the idea of whether or not I should use this forum to express these thoughts. But finally decided that censoring myself is absurd. A direct line can be drawn from my hyperactivity to my speeding to my getting pulled over. (And, I was diagnosed and effectively treated.) A direct line can be drawn from Walter Wallace Jr.’s mental illness to his death at the hands of police in Philadelphia.
We have a race problem in this country. We also have a mental health problem in this county. And the place where those two problems converge exists a crisis. We have missed the mark by talking about defunding anything. We need to be talking about funding mental healthcare, particularly in underserved communities. I will resist the impulse to write another 10,000 words about the problems and the solutions. I will just say that despite severe ADHD, I have grown up privileged in many ways as a white suburban American. I look forward to the day that we can all enjoy that privilege simply by virtue of the fact that we are Americans.
Standard Disclaimer: In an effort to foil my own perfectionist tendencies, I do not edit my posts muh, if at all. Please excuse typos, mistakes, grammatical errors, or awkward phrasing. I focus on getting my content down. In my humble opinion, an imperfect post posted is infinitely better than a perfect post that goes unfinished.