10 Rules of Survival If Stopped By The Police

Video Description:

“After Michael Brown’s death, an important infographic, “10 Rules Of Survival If Stopped By The Police” was developed by David Miller, founder of “The Dare To Be King Project.” In partnership with CTS, WFYI, and Trinity UCC (on the south side of Chicago), SALT has taken Miller’s rules and created a short film to bring this critical information to an even wider audience and help save even more lives. Please share!”

I am angry that we still live in a world that puts the responsibility of change on the part of the victims of violence instead of on the perpetrators.

It is unjust that, instead of telling rapists not to rape, society focuses on changing the behaviors of their targets and survivors.

It is unjust that, instead of telling men not to assault women, there are programs established that are built around the idea of teaching women to be less distracting, less provoking, less of a target.

In the case of racial profiling, and police brutality, and the criminalization of blackness in all its forms, while I feel that efforts would be best served by telling police not to be racist, by telling police not to racially profile, by providing opportunities for them to examine their conscious and unconscious bias as it relates to their decision making, until that work is truly complete, I recognize the reality of the necessity of sharing tips for survival by any means necessary in a world seemed bent on erasing us.

It is with sadness, understanding, and frustration that I share these rules with you.

  1. Be Polite & Respectful
  2. If you feel that your rights have been violated, you and your parents have a right to have a formal complaint.
  3. Do not, under any circumstances, get in an argument with the police.
  4. Anything you say or do can be used against you in court.
  5. Keep your hands in plain sight.
  6. Avoid physical contact with police officers. No sudden movements, Keep your hands out of your pocket.
  7. Do not run.
  8. Do not resist arrest.
  9. If you’re arrested, don’t say anything until you are able to meet with a lawyer.
  10. Watch your words, body language, actions.

And while people of color continue to have these in-group conversations; modifying our movements and behaviors for our own survival, the system of white privilege continues. We need to talk about, and act against this injustice, and White folks who care need to talk to other White folks about racism, their complicity with it, and what they can do to work against it. Because claiming you’re not racist isn’t enough.


From Aspiring Humanitarian, Relando Thompkins-Jones, MSW, LLMSW



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Written by

I'm a Social Justice Educator and Aspiring Humanitarian who is interested in conflict resolution, improving intergroup relations, and building more equitable and inclusive communities. "Notes from an Aspiring Humanitarian" is my blog, where I write about issues of diversity, inclusion, equity, and social justice. By exploring social identities through written word, film & video, and other forms of media, I hope to continue to expand and enrich conversations about social issues that face our society, and to find ways to take social action while encouraging others to do so as well in their own ways.

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5 Responses

  1. Anonymous says:

    I agree that we shouldn’t have to teach Black people what not to do when getting stopped, especially if he or she has done nothing wrong. But this is where society is at right now. We’re just trying to survive.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Is there a way to re-blog this post, or should I just provide a link to it on my blog? I really want to share this with people!

    • Hi there! My site is self-hosted through wordpress.org so there isn’t a way to reblog at this time.

      Feel free to provide a link to it on your blog, and share it as often as you like! Thanks for visiting and reading and I hope you come back in the future.

  1. July 7, 2018

    […] a world where Black kids are taught rules of survival when stopped by police; where Black parents have to have conversations with their children that white folks may only hear […]

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