by G. Brown
#BBQ Becky,#PermitPatty, #WaterWendy and #Coupon Carl…as soon as the hashtags appear on your Twitter feed, you know what accompanies is another mindless story on a person assumed guilty simply because he or she is living while Black.
The stories have been endless…
- 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.”
One lawmaker has also had it with the random racism of calling police on innocent people and is pushing legislation to disconnect these callers permanently. Senator Jesse Hamilton is introducing the 911 Anti-Discrimination which he says “aims to combat the misuse of 911 and the many #WhileBlack incidents.” Hamilton says making calls to report Black people who are committing no crimes will be considered hate crimes.
These calls are not only a nuisance, but they could also put Black people in danger during this time of heightened racial tensions. It takes little provocation for some police to open fire on unarmed Black people. Hamilton says the calls on Black people who are simply minding their business is “a call of intimidation“.
Law School Professor Jody Armour says the calls are examples of how race can be misused and abused by the legal system. Armour says, “You can look at what’s going on right now as just an expression of the age-old black tax. The black tax is the price black people pay because of stereotypes and prejudice in America in their official interactions with police and in their everyday interactions with the ordinary citizens.”
This latest wave of White privilege is being wielded like Jim Crow laws used to be in the South to keep Black people out of areas where some thought they had no right to be.
Something should be done, but is a new law the answer? It’s already illegal to falsely report citizens based on “racially motivated 911 calls”. So what’s the point of introducing additional legislation when what’s already on the books isn’t preventing people from making these dumb calls?
Unless you’re going to start charging the people making these calls with hate crimes and arrest them, adding more words to already wordy laws won’t deter them. Perhaps police should start enforcing the current law and that might solve the problem.
In the meantime, the stream of endless, viral memes of shame seem to at least bring a little justice and a lot of jokes.
LOL…that never gets old.