On Thursday’s I like to give you an injustice rundown to tell you all about not just incidents of police brutality, but of racism and discrimination as well.
Before I do that, I want to make two quick points.
First, people often ask me why I share videos of police brutality if we’re getting so little justice. I want to unpack that for a moment. I know these videos are hard to watch and I know these stories are hard to hear. But first and foremost, I share these videos and stories because the families affected by the violence, in almost every case I share about, have reached out to me and asked me to share them so that they can put pressure on the powers that be to actually do something. And in a second I will show you that it often helps families way more than you may know.
Secondly, and I addressed this last week, people often ask me if the problems are getting worse or is it just that social media makes them more known. It’s both actually, racism and discrimination and police brutality in America are absolutely getting worse, and social media and cell phones are showing us more of the incidents.
One problem that is absolutely getting worse is white people calling the police on Black folk who are just living their lives. It’s disturbing. All over the country over the past few weeks we see a dramatic uptick of white people basically using 911 and the police as their way to terrorize Black folk not for committing crimes, but for just being Black and alive. And what it’s illustrating is that American police, more than ever, really do seem to exist just as an extension of the white power structure, and operate at the whims and request of whatever white folk want.
Just two days ago a brilliant Black woman who is a grad student at Yale was in the lounge of her dorm studying for finals when she fell asleep. This happens in dorm lounges all over the country. A white woman saw her and literally called the police on her for taking a nap in the lounge. And police showed up. Not one, not two, but three cops showed up, because a white woman called the police on a Black grad student at Yale taking a nap the lounge of the dorm.
This past weekend three brilliant Black women, one who was the granddaughter of Bob Marley, were in Rialto California checking out of their Airbnb rental and putting luggage in their car when a strange woman across the street started waving at them. When they didn’t wave back, she called the police and reported that they were robbing a home and had put everything they stole in suitcases.
7 police cars and a helicopter showed up, forcing the women to put their hands in the air. They survived, but this is absolutely how people get killed by police.
Three young black boys in St. Louis, teenagers, were shopping for prom clothes at Nordstrom this past weekend. They noticed they were being tracked all through the store. When they got out of the store, they were surrounded by cops, who detained them for theft. They hadn’t stolen a thing. In fact, they actually bought stuff there at the store that they didn’t even want, just to show the store that they weren’t thieves.
Last month a golf course manager called the police on 5 Black women who were golfing at a club in Pennsylvania. They were actually members of the golf club and the manager called the police on them because they weren’t playing the game fast enough.
And again, the police actually showed up.
Outside of Mobile, Alabama the store manager at a Waffle House called the police after a customer objected to paying $0.50 extra for plastic cutlery to be used with her meal. And when police got there they brutalized, humiliated, and arrested the woman.
The police, in each of these cases, had a choice to handle the situation very differently, but in each case chose to treat the caller’s claims with the utmost seriousness – like playing golf slowly is an actual crime, like three Black women in broad daylight were robbing a home with suitcases.
I’ll close with two quick thoughts.
- Maybe we need to start calling 911 on white folk all over the country for every little thing they are doing. I know it won’t quite feel the same because the police will treat them differently, but they need to experience a little bit of this foolishness of having cop cars and helicopters show up for their every move.
- And lastly, in local cities and counties that we control, we may need to put in place new policies penalizing people who call in these fake crimes just like some cities charge you a fee if the police come to your home for the false triggering of your home alarm.
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