By Asia Nicole Alcorn
Texas Metro News
For the past four months, a Midlothian resident who identifies as a Black female, mid-40s and single mother, has been walking through her neighborhood as a form of exercise.
She follows the same route almost daily, dressed in her fitness attire, with headphones, Apple Watch, a water bottle and a T-ball bat for safety against wild animals.
“Walking in the neighborhood has caused some challenges of me running into stray dogs,” she said. “Since the encounters, I decided to walk with a T-ball bat. I purposely chose a small bat because I never want to pose a threat to anybody in my community.”
Evidently, someone saw her as a threat.
Three days ago, she was stopped by two Midlothian police officers – one Black, one white.
“They told me I wasn’t in trouble but needed to stop walking and put down my bat,” she said, adding that immediately at that moment, she knew something was wrong.
One of her neighbors had alerted the authorities about a “Black woman with a bat,” not once, but twice.
“Anyone that has the Ring, Nest or any other type of surveillance cameras on their house can see me walking past on the public community sidewalk,” she said. “I’m not going up to people’s doors. I’m not looking in their cars. I’m not even focusing on their driveway. I am just walking my route.”
The officers allowed the Midlothian resident to complete her walk, with her bat in hand. However, she took that time to reflect on what happened, accepting that she had been profiled because of her race.
“Not too many people who are white, get the cops called on them, unless there’s something blatantly obvious going on,” she said. “They’re not being called, apprehended, detained or questioned because they’re walking in a neighborhood, whether they reside there or not.”
To avoid any further harassment or becoming a target, she agreed to speak with Texas Metro News as long as she could remain anonymous. She went on to say she sees many other residents walking daily, with golf clubs, sticks, bats and other forms of protection against wild animals, without anyone saying a word.
Although she knows that racial profiling is something not only Black, but all people of color experience consistently; whether it be based on how they dress, speak or activities they participate in, she still would like it to end and she found the experience very disturbing.
“I want my child, who is right now not a threat, to not be fearful of law enforcement,” she said. “How do we bridge that gap? Well, we are a long way from identifying what’s the best approach. But it needs to start today, one community at a time.”
While she hopes instances like these will cease, this brave woman shared her story to continue bringing awareness to the situation, instead of dismissing it.
“We can no longer afford to let it go or dismiss it, as long as you know you’re in the right,” she added. “Continue to stand your ground, and let your voices be heard.”
Symphony Parson Lowe has lived in Midlothian for 19 years and has “never experienced anything like this.”
“When my friend called to share her story, I thought she was joking. I couldn’t believe that this was happening in our community,” she said. “I’m shocked and sad that someone would call the police on someone who was clearly exercising. I see people of all races walking with something in their hands. It’s for protection, yet I’ve never thought about calling the police on any of them. Maybe it’s because of my life experiences as a Black woman. I’m not finger happy when it comes to calling 9-1-1. Anytime the police are involved, you never know how it will turn out.”
Parson Lowe said Midlothian has a race problem and citizens must work together to deal with it.
“While I do believe it’s going to take all of us to engage in crucial conversations, we also need bold city leaders ready to take the charge,” she continued. “When I think about Midlothian being DFW’s southern star, that means we are leaders. It’s time we actually start doing it. People of color are moving into the city at a rapid pace. It’s time we talk about it and be the model for the country. We are small enough to turn this around.”
Citizens reaching out on social media encouraged “Batwoman” to file a report, attend city council meetings and speak out about her incident regarding report citings of wild or stray animals; but don’t stop with her daily exercise routine.