*Have you, as a black male, ever walked out your house and said to yourself: “Maybe I shouldn’t wear this.”

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And when you looked in the mirror, you wondered why you thought a ball cap, jeans and sneakers would be a bad thing to wear.

But if you are walking out at night, many black men double up on what they should wear because they fear being classified when entering a club or even leaving a club.

We’ve all encountered those moments and it saddens us, but sometimes we ask ourselves what can we do like the following writer.

I grew up in the shadow of the Nation’s capital, literally five minutes from the Washington city line. My neighborhood was crime-ridden and overrun with the crack epidemic of the 1980s that ravaged the nation. During this time was also an explosion of so-called urban fashion trends that the youth in my home town clung to feverishly. Although I was from the neighborhood, I wasn’t entirely of the environment. Yet, I, too, wore the baggy hoodies, big sweatshirts, loose jeans, and generally dark clothing of the time.

Police in Prince George’s County in Maryland were infamous for targeting Black teens who simply gathered around. Loitering laws were strictly enforced, even if you were in front of your own home. This isn’t to say that some of the boys I ran with were all angels, including myself; however, we were mostly just hanging out and being kids. The common refrain from the D.C. boys who never dared to cross the state line was “those PG cops be bustin’ heads for no reason” – and this was quite true for us.

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