It’s been an interesting year for African Americans who are simply trying mind to their business. Instead of coming out into the world to live their lives, they’re being subtly pushed away by their white counterparts. Not only is this an infuriating act of discrimination; this is a major waste of time for emergency response teams to deal with. At this point, it’s unsafe for black people to merely take part in their own society.
One of the most famous examples of this is the “Barbecue Becky” incident from back in April, where two black men were having a BBQ at a park in Oakland, California. The video footage starts with a white woman named Jennifer Schulte, who spent 25 straight minutes bothering the folks gathered at the park.
Her first alleged reason for calling the police was that the coals used in the grill were illegal, and having them might harm children and raise their taxes. The woman recording then calmly explained that they had already checked the park’s map, and it was completely okay. Schulte then went on to take a card from the woman, flee from the scene (with the woman still in tow), and enter a convenience store around the street. As the woman repeatedly asks for her card back, the police arrived, and as Schulte embarrassingly pulled herself together, the video ends with the police officers looking as confused as the men at the cookout feel. This situation left Oakland residents in disbelief and only raised concerns for the black community. There was no reason for anyone to make such a big deal of a BBQ in the park. Schulte’s completely inappropriate display started the year off to a wild ride of racial targeting.
Barely two months later, Alison Ettel, a.k.a. “Permit Patty,” went viral for calling the police on an eight-year-old girl. The little entrepreneur was selling water on the sidewalk to raise money for a trip to Disneyland and help out her mom, who had just recently lost her job. For anyone else, this would be a heartwarming sight to see. Instead, Ettel called the police.
The mom, Erin Austin, proceeded to record Ettel, who was telling the dispatcher that the girl was selling water bottles with no permit. Not only is this a waste of time for the dispatcher, who I’m sure was ready to hang up their coat for the day, but this had to have been emotionally scarring on both the mom and her daughter. Calling the police, for one, was an impulsive decision and only put the African American pair in danger. Viewers on Twitter erupted in anger, calling out Ettel for being racist, and ultimately turning her into a meme.
— 🥀 (@_ethiopiangold) June 23, 2018
Alison Ettel, the woman who threatened to call the cops on a child, told HuffPost she acted out of stress, feels horrible, but also feels "discriminated against."
"Please don't make me sound horrible," she added.
— Sebastian Murdock (@SebastianMurdoc) June 23, 2018
The racial targeting incidents didn’t let down. On the Fourth of July, a woman named Jasmine Edwards and her son visited the neighborhood pool for a swim, when they were met by “Pool Patrol Paul.” Adam Bloom, pool chairman of a homeowners’ association, stopped the two to unnecessarily see the mom’s ID.
Bloom gets the police involved, and the incident turns needless. The police effortlessly defuse the problem, showing Bloom that Edwards’ pool card works, and that there’s no need to provide identification. The mother even accuses him of racial profiling, which is evident in the way that out of all the people at the pool, she was the only person he asked for an ID. Calling the police was uncalled for, and Bloom was aware of what his actual motives were.
Although these are just three of the biggest incidents of the year, countless displays of racial targeting have occurred, including that of “Apartment Patty,” “Coupon Carl,” and “Corner Store Caroline.” These everyday scenes are taking a toll on African Americans and their liberties, making it harder to get daily tasks done. In addition, I think white people are aware of what they’re actually doing when they call the police; they’re purposefully putting a giant red target on black people. The police are coming into these situations as the white man’s savior and the black man’s end. Moreover, dispatchers aren’t able to save people that are in real emergencies because racist individuals are calling about elementary problems, like a little girl selling water.
Honestly, this is a problem that has to be stopped, or else African Americans will be pushed farther into the shadows. The only way to end these incidents is by punishing the people bringing these issues onto blacks and emergency responders. There are actual people that need protecting, and it’s not the people who are insistent on reporting about coals in a grill.
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