Sunday, April 18, 2021

Neil deGrasse Tyson Reminds Us He’s Been Targeted By Cops, Too

Astrophysicist, Cosmologist, and Author Neil Degrasse Tyson speaks at the Popular Science Hosted Breakfast and Banter event with Editor-In-Chief Chris Ransom and Astrophysicist, Cosmologist, and Author Neil Degrasse Tyson at 21 Club on September 18, 2015 in New York City.
Astrophysicist, Cosmologist, and Author Neil Degrasse Tyson speaks at the Popular Science Hosted Breakfast and Banter event with Editor-In-Chief Chris Ransom and Astrophysicist, Cosmologist, and Author Neil Degrasse Tyson at 21 Club on September 18, 2015 in New York City.

*Neil deGrasse Tyson, the most famous astrophysicist in the universe, shared a reminder that he, too, is still a black man living in America and not immune to racial profiling by the cops.

On Tuesday, Tyson posted an excerpt from his 2004 book “The Sky Is Not the Limit: Adventures of an Urban Astrophysicist” on Facebook, in which he and several colleagues at a 1991 National Society of Black Physicists conference recounted times they had been detained by police without reason. He said he had “a dozen different encounters to draw from.”

“There was the time I was stopped late at night at an underpass on an empty road in New Jersey for having changed lanes without signaling,” Tyson wrote. “He [the cop] went on to say that the ‘real reason’ why he stopped me was because my car’s license plates were much newer and shinier than the 17-year old Ford that I was driving. The officer was just making sure that neither the car nor the plates were stolen.”

the-sky-is-not-the-limit

Tyson also described being stopped several times while trying to bring boxes of textbooks into his graduate school office.

“I wonder how often that scenario shows up in police training tapes,” he said. “In total, I was stopped two or three times by other security officers while entering physics buildings, but was never stopped entering the campus gym.”

Tyson and his colleagues concluded: “We were guilty not of DWI (Driving While Intoxicated), but of other violations none of us knew were on the books: DWB (Driving While Black), WWB (Walking While Black), and of course, JBB (Just Being Black),” he said.

Shortly after the conference, the Rodney King riots in 1992 occurred in South Central LA, which Tyson points out were the result of the acquittal of the police officers involved.

“Upon seeing the now-famous video of the incident, I remembered being surprised not because Rodney King was beaten by the police but because somebody finally caught such an incident on tape,” he said.

Read Tyson’s entire FB post below:

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