‘I am a black man who jogs. My wife won’t let me out of the house unless I wear enough colorful and ‘innocent’ clothing so as not to appear threatening.’: Man urges for compassion in wake of Ahmaud Arbery’s death


“I am a black man who jogs.

When I jog, I always do so alone. I am also a Soldier, and a large one at that (about 6’2 240 lbs). This means every few years, I have to move to a completely new suburb, and jog, alone. This means that I, like every Soldier, is used to jogging alone, in new places, where people may not recognize, know, or be familiar with me. I am used to it. My wife is not.

For nearly ten years, my wife Michelle cautioned me about how I appear when I jog alone. She will not even let me out of the house unless I wear enough colorful and ‘innocent’ clothing so as not to appear suspicious or threatening when I jog. While she has never said it directly, I know that every time I step out the door, she is afraid my appearance alone could get me killed.

Sometimes, in the back of my head, I foolishly think to myself:

I am just a black man who jogs!

I am a good person! Why would somebody shoot me just because I am black and unfamiliar? I am a former EMT. I volunteered in an emergency room for over a year to get my way into college. I have been a licensed attorney and active duty Army Officer for nine years. I have helped over 60 sexual assault victims. I have ran a legal aid clinic recognized as one of the best in the Army. I have worked with federal agents to put countless criminals behind bars and break up complex enterprises. I have helped justify the destruction of hundreds of enemy targets in Iraq. I have cleared the names of wrongfully convicted criminals. Who would want to hurt me?

But none of that matters because…

I am still a black man who jogs.

If I frighten the wrong person or match the description of a threatening person…

I become no different from Ahmaud Arbery.

None of the good I have done in my life will stop a vigilante mob from chasing me in their trucks, cocking their firearms as they approach me jogging, gunning me down, recording it, and apparently getting away with it.

Although I am a black man who jogs, please…treat me like a white man who jogs.”


Like it? Share with your friends!

Choose A Format
Personality quiz
Series of questions that intends to reveal something about the personality
Trivia quiz
Series of questions with right and wrong answers that intends to check knowledge
Poll
Voting to make decisions or determine opinions
Story
Formatted Text with Embeds and Visuals
List
The Classic Internet Listicles
Countdown
The Classic Internet Countdowns
Open List
Submit your own item and vote up for the best submission
Ranked List
Upvote or downvote to decide the best list item
Meme
Upload your own images to make custom memes
Video
Youtube, Vimeo or Vine Embeds
Audio
Soundcloud or Mixcloud Embeds
Image
Photo or GIF
Gif
GIF format