Chris Rock began chronicling the number of times he gets stopped by the police on his social media channels in February. The posts have since prompted a public conversation among performers on racial profiling.
Rock’s first pulled-over pic appeared on Instagram with the caption, "Just got pulled over by the cops wish me luck," and was followed by another two weeks later on Feb 27 with the note, "I’m not even driving stop by the cops again." His latest, and third in two months, was a nighttime tweet, "Stopped by the cops again wish me luck," accompanied by a selfie from the driver’s seat. His tweet got the attention of four-time Emmy winner Isaiah Washington, who replied to Rock’s tweet, advising him to "adapt."
I sold my $90,000.00 Mercedes G500 and bought 3 Prius’s, because I got tired of being pulled over by Police. #Adapt @chrisrock
Musician ?uestlove joined the Twitter chain with a response to Washington.
Prius won’t save you from #DWB @IWashington i know. trust.
After coming under fire for his comment, Washington appeared on CNN to clarify his remarks.
I know a lot of people take issue with the hashtag ‘adapt,’ thinking that I was implying that white supremacy and racial profiling will stop if you were in a different car. […] From my experience, police are about the business of policing, night and day. I obviously have a slight advantage because I’m a celebrity during the day and hopefully they’ll recognize me. But if they don’t at night, I’m vulnerable like everyone else. But I will say this, since I got out of my [Mercedes G500] and been driving a Prius for the last four years, with windows that are tinted darker than the windows that were tinted in my $90,000 vehicle, I have not been pulled over one time.
Rock’s choice to share his experience is bringing the issue of racial profiling back to the popuar topics discussed on Twitter. The Washington Post reports, citing the Department of Justice "Police Behavior During Traffic and Street Stops" data report for 2011:
Black drivers are about 23 percent more likely to be pulled over than white drivers. Native Americans are stopped most frequently of all. The federal survey found that relatively speaking, far fewer blacks than whites were pulled over for speeding. Instead, the cops stopped them because of a "vehicle defect," to check a record, or for some other or unspecified reason. Black drivers were also about three times as likely as white drivers to be searched after they were stopped.