55 mph means you black man.

drmcgriffGregory McGriff,
Rutherfordton, NC.

I am an Ivy-league graduate and a board-certified medical doctor.  The subject of race comes up all the time but the conversation that should follow is usually very short.  When I see the speed sign on the road announcing 55 mph (or whatever the legal limit is).  I know that posting is meant for me.  My white counterparts can proceed a bit faster.

I live life at 55 mph lest I get pulled over and then almost anything can happen.

Dr. McGriff’s story was featured on NPR’s Morning Edition. Listen

Keep the conversation going - comment and discuss with your thoughts

21 Responses to "55 mph means you black man."
  1. Georgia says:

    Thank you for sharing this. The analogy is potent.

  2. Cece says:

    I must say this is an unfortunate truth that a close friend of mine has experienced. Thank you for sharing this powerful statement.

  3. Trinity says:

    Driving fast is the least of our worries…try talking fast, walking fast and God forbid if you run fast!

    • SayWhat says:

      And for God’s sake don’t walk fast in the rain, or pull up your hoodie to avoid being soaked, or get yourself a refreshment/snack like a can of iced tea or a bag of candy on your way home, that’s a recipe for disaster 🙁

  4. kevin says:

    This was the first time I heard of this project and thought this was a powerful introduction. I’m curious as to why the author would stay in the south and not return to New England? While I’m not black, I’d imagine that the racism the author experiences in the south would not be as prevalent in the north?

  5. jason says:

    Dr. McGriff, I just heard your story on NPR. I am a white man and I wanted to let you know that your story was inspiring. Thank you, sir, for sharing it.

  6. dave silva says:

    I live in NC, a white father of two black children. I’ve been here almost 20 years and have made this observation: when a police car has someone pulled over and there is a SECOND police car, the motorist is ALWAYS black.
    One time i saw two police cars behind a white man but he was being arrested.
    I have seen a single african woman, in a mini-van, pulled over by the NCHP and for no apparent reason a local deputy has parked behind them. This does not happen to white folks for routine moving violations.

    • I have had backup called on me twice.

    • Obama2016FTW says:

      Yeah, this does happen to white folks. Ditch those racist goggles you look at the world with and you’ll see.

      • dave silva says:

        I’m not sure what you’re saying, i think my observation is pretty objective. Sure, cops double up on people of all colors all the time for different reasons. But in my region which is nearly half black , If i see two Crown Vics the driver is almost always black.

  7. Mike says:

    This is so sad and so true, this morning I got depressed after listening, being black and working at an Ivy league school in D.C. you see how this plays out. I am watched on how I dress, as I started with Bow ties and was questioned about my religion, and received constant other comments, yet others, non Blacks, with bow ties seeded to go unnoticed. In many ways It makes you want to give up and give them the victory, but I guess that’s the plan.

  8. Rich says:

    I was introduced to this project when listening to NPR this morning. It hit me like a ton of bricks. I had to post a race card that addresses an issue that is so poignant with me.. that fact that black people of the Americas are not welcomed in any country in the world,not even in Africa. Unlike other minorities in this country we can’t look to or say that we are members or descendants of any one nation or culture. Our heritage in all nations of the world is one of bigotry, hatred, discrimination and dead.

  9. SayWhat says:

    Clearly you didn’t hear his story on NPR this morning. It is NOT about speeding tickets or blacks getting speeding tickets.

  10. SayWhat says:

    Gregory McGriff, I heard your story on NPR this morning and it more than resonated. Hats off to you for conveying such a complex issue so eloquently. Hopefully you have made that short conversation just a bit longer and a little more understanding than what exists can come from this. Stay strong, “don’t let someone dim your light simply because it’s shining in their eyes.”

  11. Sterling Haynes MD says:

    Thank you Dr. Griffiths for telling your story. I am a Canadian doctor who was hired by the US army and the Health Development Board to look after the Cadets at Marion Military Instit. and the people of Perry County, Alabama.
    We stayed there 10 years and my practice was taken over by two African Americans – husband and wife. They were trained at Johns Hopkins and were outstanding doctors. I took a lot of flak from some of the townspeople for bringing this couple to Marion, for treating patients with AIDS and opening up and treating VD patients in a health clinic. We worked very hard, night and day.
    We still have friends and patients in Alabama who write to us 23 years later. It was a difficult decade for us but one I can never forget.

    Please keep writing and broadcasting about the 55 mph Black man!! We thank you from British Columbia.

  12. Obama2016FTW says:

    I know a lot of light skin brothers that got tickets on that very road. When you’re looking for racism errwhere I guess it’s there.

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