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A few months ago, I was on a road trip with some friends in upstate New York when we were stopped and searched by state troopers who deployed a drug-sniffing dog. They pulled us all out of the car and tore through our rented minivan, discovering a small plastic baggy with about a gram of weed in it. When they turned up the bag, my homies and I—all young, brown men—instinctively held our hands out to our sides, palms out, as a show of surrender.
The cops started laughing. One of them approached me and said, “I get it. You’re coming from the city, it’s a long drive, you brought a little weed to smoke on the way. Put your hands down. It’ll be fine.” My friends and I exchanged quizzical glances. We’re all used to getting the third degree when it came to drugs and cops.