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Black & Unbothered

(Photo: Joe Burbank, Orlando Sentinel)

Back in late June, there was a video that went viral of the first (and only) African American Florida State Attorney, Aramis Ayala, being pulled over by two Orlando police officers. The footage was taken from the body camera of one of the officers. Upon looking at her license and registration, he asks her “What agency are you with?” She responds with “I’m a state attorney.” It’s appropriate to insert here – *drops mic and walks off*

She was unbothered, and quickly let him know what time it was. Clearly taken aback, he then responds with, “Alright, thank you. Your tag didn’t come back. Never seen that before. … We’re good now.” Ayala then asked the officer what the tag was run for, and he says, “Oh, we run tags all the time. That’s how we figure out if, you know, cars are stolen and that sort of thing. Also, the windows were really dark. I don’t have a tint measure, but that’s another reason for the stop.” You can see a smirk from Ayala as she asks them for their information.

What I found so fascinating about this video is how endearing Ayala’s response and posture was to me. In a day and age when we are continually traumatized day in and day out with images of our fear and mistreatment, seeing this woman engage these officers in a bold way was refreshing. We need more of these images!

In recent months, I have made the decision to no longer watch many of the videos that circulate on the web that show Black people being beaten and killed by police officers and others. These images have become too damaging to my spirit. This is not to say that I will completely avoid their consumption, but I do believe that an overabundance of one image is damaging. We need balance; the type of balance that I believe the Ayala video provides.

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