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Actor Wendell Pierce Encounters Racism on Way to a Funeral
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Wendell Pierce

Summary: Wendell Pierce, known for his role on HBO’s “The Wire,” encountered racism in an interaction with an officer on the way to a funeral one day.

Wendell Pierce appeared on TV with Bill Maher one night to tell his story of racism. He was dressed in a suit, with two toddlers in the back of his car, on the way to a funeral for a family member when he was pulled over by a police officer. We have embedded the video in this post for you to watch him tell the story to Maher.


The transcript of Pierce’s story is as follows

“And the fact is… The fact is while we have this very comfortable, colloquial debate about it, when the lights go out and I go out in the street and I get behind the wheel of my car, the most dangerous moment I ever have in my life is when a police officer pulls me over. Every black man in America knows that when that happens, there’s actually a possibility his life may come to an end and that shouldn’t happen. It actually happened to me in Louisiana, dressed as I am, going to my uncle’s funeral, two toddlers in the back. I had just picked up my cousin from Chicago. A 100 degrees on the road in Louisiana, I’m pulled over and I sat there waiting for the cop to come. I have a habit of always taking my wallet out and putting it on the dash to make sure he doesn’t think this is going for a gun. I sat there and sat there and sat there and I realized he hadn’t come. Air conditioner on, 100 degrees and I look in the mirror and I see… That’s all I heard. As I turned down the window you hear, “Mother fucker get out that car, I’m gonna blow your fucking head off.” Now he didn’t have the training to say, “I’m going to come up to the car.” I have to tell these toddlers, “Be cool. Everything’s fine. Uncle Wendell’s going to get out of the car. Everyone don’t move.” I put my hands up, get out the car, opened the door from outside. But I told the officer, “Why didn’t you use your P. A.? Simple, get in your car…” “Well why didn’t you get out of your car?” I said “I had the window’s up, it’s 100 degrees, and I had the air conditioner on. I can’t hear you.” That’s poor training, that he didn’t know that I wasn’t going to be able to hear him in the car. He’s going to fire. So it’s that sort of incident that happens too often all the time, that white America has to understand that Wendell Allen in New Orleans, Mr. Garner in Staten Island, Michael Brown in Ohio, is a constant all over this country. And if we’re going to sit here and pretend that we are post-racial, you have to realize that I can’t afford for your belief or denial that my life isn’t in danger.” 

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