by G. Brown
Twitter and IG made them famous with hashtags to roast them properly…#BBQ Becky,#PermitPatty, #WaterWendy and #Coupon Carl. Their racist calls made them infamous and in one state, now those calls are illegal.
Oregon lawmakers approved a bill this week to stop these annoying racially-motivated calls to police about Black people doing normal things. The House passed the bill following in the footsteps of the state Senate which approved the measure earlier this month in a landslide vote of 27-to-1.
One of the chief sponsors of the bill Rep. Janelle Bynum says, “When you get the cops called on you just for existing out in public, it sends a clear message: You don’t belong. We’ve seen story after story where African–Americans around the country have been targeted and had their rights violated.”
Bynum feels so strongly about those racist calls because she’s been the target of one herself…
TRN has told you about many of these nuisance calls like:
- Manager at a Philadelphia Starbucks called police on two Black men waiting for a third party to arrive for a business meeting.
- PermitPatty called police on an 8-year-old girl in San Francisco selling bottled water to raise money for a trip to Disneyland.
- BBQBecky called police because Blacks who were barbequing at the park
- JoggerJoe threw away a Black homeless man’s belongings in Oakland
- PoolPatrolPaula called police on a Black teen who she didn’t think belonged at a South Carolina pool. She also struck the teen and called him the “N-word”. When police arrived, she was arrested for assault and lost her job when meme went viral.
- CouponCarl-a store clerk- called police on a Black woman in Chicago who presented some coupons he didn’t recognize and assumed they were fraudulent. The coupons were legit and he lost his job.
And there are others who are identified, tagged and posted on social media as part of a very public shaming. NPR says, “Thanks to social media, there’s no longer as much impunity-free discrimination that people can express toward others.” But in spite of all the social media shaming, many of these racist calls persist.
Oregon’s measure lacks teeth as far as criminal charges so violators won’t be thrown in jail. But their call could still cost them. The bill will allow for people targeted by such calls to sue the caller for damages up to $250. You won’t get rich, but you will get even.
Oregon isn’t the only state looking to disconnect this discrimination calls…Michigan came up with a “bias crime reporting prohibition” last month making it a criminal misdemeanor to call the police and racially profile Blacks and other people of color. It’s already illegal to falsely report citizens, but adding these new laws will help remind people that living while Black at the pool, on the sidewalk, in the store, at the park isn’t a crime. It’s petty, ignorant and hopefully, more states will make it illegal.