I can’t let another day go by without saying something about the increasing number of incidents being reported of intimidation and abuse being directed at people of color in the United States.
White people acting out their racism isn’t anything new. But cellphone cameras have been around for long enough to tell us these confrontations are on the increase. Anybody who thinks they can separate what’s happening on the local level from the tone set by our nation’s leadership needs to stop watching Fox News.
These incidents aren’t likely to make it into statistics about hate crimes (up 17% last year in California), especially the outbursts and racist rants happening without law enforcement witnesses or participants.
The police officer who looked the other way while some drunk white guy ranted at a woman for wearing a Puerto Rico shirt, has been allowed to resign, by the way. I’m sure he’ll be offered a job at the White House real soon.
There are a whole bunch of white people who now feel empowered to use the police as their personal racism valets.
Here are just a sampling of the things now suspected to be criminal conduct while Black or Brown.
** Oregon legislator Janelle Bynum had police summoned on her while campaigning for a second term in Clackamas County. This story had a happy ending in that she wasn’t arrested for Campaigning While Black.
From the BBC:
In a Facebook post, she said one of her constituents had thought she was acting suspiciously and called the police.
“I was going door to door and spending a lot of time typing on my cell phone… aka canvassing,” she wrote.
“I asked to meet my constituent who thought I was suspicious, but she was on the road by then.”
**Donisha Prendergast, Bob Marley’s granddaughter, was in San Bernadino to attend the Kaya Festival on April 30 with friends. She was questioned by police for Staying at an Airbnb While Black.
From Rolling Stone:
While loading luggage into a car, Prendergast and her three friends were surrounded by seven police cars, according to The Mercury News. The police aggressively told Prendergast and her friends — three of them Black and one White — to place their hands in the air. The police also told the women that they were being watched by a helicopter in case they decided to run from authorities.
Police were responding to a 911 call from a neighbor who witnessed the women taking bags from the home and placing them in the car. The neighbors would later claim that they did not call police because of race but because the women did not smile when they waved at them.
** Oakland firefighters were conducting legally mandated inspections in advance of the summer fire season. Although the city had mailed notices alerting the neighborhood of the upcoming safety checkup, wealthy residents in the Oakland Hills were alarmed by uniformed men Working While Black.
From the Huffington Post:
Prompted by a resident’s call, an emergency 911 dispatcher contacted Moore’s station on May 16 to determine if the inspections were going on. Someone also emailed home security footage to the Oakland Police Department showing Moore — clearly in uniform — knocking on a door. When Moore returned to do more inspections last week, a neighbor used his cellphone to videotape him, asked him what he was doing in the neighborhood and demanded to see his ID — which the resident then photographed.
Moore told the neighbor that if he was still concerned, he could check the street and see “a big red fire engine,” the Chronicle reported.
“I try to put myself in other people’s shoes, like if I see someone in my yard, I’d ask what they’re doing,” Moore told the Chronicle. “That’s why I always call out, ‘Hello! Hello! Oakland Fire Department!’ Because I want to be heard. I just don’t want somebody to look out their window and see somebody in their backyard.”
**Graduate student Lolade Siyonbola made the mistake of Falling Asleep While Black in a common room at Yale. Sarah Braasch, a White student with a history of racially profiling, summoned the police.
From the Washington Post
“I deserve to be here. I pay tuition like everybody else,” an annoyed Siyonbola told responding officers after they repeatedly asked her to hand over identification. “I’m not going to justify my existence here.”
It was part of a tense, racially tinged exchange that the African Studies student had this week with four police officers and the graduate student who called 911 after she found Siyonbola napping in the Hall of Graduate Studies’ 12th-floor common room.
Those incidents were just the first four I thought of.
It is also unacceptable these days to:
Coupon While Black
Graduate Boisterously While Black
Wait for a School Bus While Black
Have a Temper Tantrum in Kindergarten While Black
Drink Iced Tea While Black
Wait at Starbucks While Black
Shop for Underwear While Black
Engage in Loud Conversation While Black
Golf Too Slowly While Black
Buy Clothes at Barney’s, or Macy’s,or Nordstrom Rack While Black
Get Locked Out of Your Home While Black
Use the Gym While Black
and (drumroll, please)
I could go on (there are plenty more), but what’s the point?
Just stop it.
And if you see one of these incidents happening, do something.
Republicans Get Their Just Deserts in House Hearing- Is THIS is their “Have you no decency?” moment?
Peter Strzok schooling Trey Gowdy. pic.twitter.com/XX8jAHCtph
— Ricky Davila (@TheRickyDavila) July 12, 2018
Or maybe not:
— Ted Lieu (@tedlieu) July 12, 2018
Did you enjoy this article? Subscribe to “The Starting Line” and get an email every time a new article in this series is posted!
I read the Daily Fishwrap(s) so you don’t have to… Catch “the Starting Line” Monday thru Friday right here at San Diego Free Press (dot) org. Send your hate mail and ideas to DougPorter@SanDiegoFreePress.Org Check us out on Facebook and Twitter.