In high school, a few friends and I started stealing small things, thinking we were doing our parents a favor by saving a little bit of money here and there. Our family was never anything less than well-off, so the stealing was probably more of a thrill than anything.
The first time I was caught stealing, I was reprimanded by a store worker. The second time, however, I was brought to the back of the store. A police officer detained me and told me we would be taking “mug shots”. I cried and assured him I would never do it again. The police officer called my mom, who came in to reprimand me as well. The police officer told my mother that he was glad I had a positive role model in my life that could steer me in the other direction, and he was “sure it would never happen again”. He also assured my mother that we didn’t really take any photos, and it would not go on my permanent record.
I often think about what my life would be like if this encounter went on my record. I often think about what would have happened if my mother could not have come to my aid to show the officer that we come from a “reputable white family, where this type of behavior is not acceptable”.