This was far from the first time I’ve been falsely accused of shoplifting
. I was 15 when I was first followed around a clothing store, surrounded by all its employees, and asked if I “enjoyed the stolen stuff I put in my bag,” so I’m aware that my body inherently means I’ll be watched.
(It’s why, before going to the drugstore that day,
freed my hair from my bun. To look softer
. I’d put on some earrings. To show you don’t have to steal
. I’d swapped my sweats for leggings. To look like you have a job
.) But COVID-19 has made such scrutiny so much worse: The increase in surveillance
, security measures, and law enforcement
— ostensibly to protect the population from the spread of the virus —
has resulted in the overpolicing of Black people.