#LivingWhileBlack: Things Black people can’t do without police being called in 2018
This is just within the month of April.
What does state sanctioned violence against Black people look like?
It looks like a long line of well-documented instances where police officers violate the physical and psychological boundaries of Black people. You do not have to reach back to slavery or Jim Crow or even the Civil Rights movement to see these egregious violations against humanity and more specifically against the grand ideals of freedom that formed the pillars of this country.
It seems that just being Black is cause for police intervention/action in America. And for Black people, far too many times that ends in undo injury or even death.
Here is a short list of examples from just the past month where theoretically simple aspects of being human got complicated by someone’s views of Blackness and Black people ended up being aggrieved or worse.
Golfing while Black
A group of Black women decided to hit the links at the Grandview Golf Club in Pennsylvania, but ended up having the police called on them for allegedly playing “too slowly” on the golf course. The women were all seasoned golfers who knew the rules of the game and how to keep pace, but still a group of white men confronted them multiple times and eventually called the cops.
The police arrived and did not arrest anyone. Fortunately, one of the women caught part of the confrontation on camera.
Eating while Black
Sometimes when you are getting horrible service, you know you need to go a paygrade or three above the person you’re talking to and get a real boss involved. That’s what Chikesia Clemons tried to do at an Alabama Waffle House.
Unfortunately for her, when she asked the worker she was talking to for corporate info., that worker called police instead. Clemons ended up half naked, breasts exposed, screaming on the ground as police officers threatened to break her arm. Her friend videoed the police encounter on a cellphone.
As of right now, Waffle House says that the information it has received “strongly supports the actions taken by the Saraland Police Department.”
Suffering with mental illness while Black
Saheed Vassell, a 34-year-old father, was killed by NYPD officers just weeks ago in a hail of bullets in his beloved Crown Heights, Brooklyn neighborhood. Police say they were responding to 911 calls about a man pointing a gun at people on the street. Vassell didn’t have a gun. What he had in his hand was a metal pipe.
Vassell had suffered from bipolar disorder for at least the last decade and was well-known to the local community and police precinct due to his colorful personality. The family is awaiting the names of the officers who shot and killed him.
Sitting while Black
Diante Yarber was shot and killed in a hail of bullets as police fired on him in a California Walmart parking lot. Yarber was sitting in the driver’s seat of a black Mustang registered in his name along with three other passengers. A witness’ cellphone video of the violent encounter went viral.
A private autopsy showed that the father of three was shot 10 times and died from choking on his own blood. Police say Yarber was a known car thief and had, in that moment, rammed police cars. Family attorneys dispute that claim and say the officers’ delay in getting medical treatment to Yarber hastened his death.
Waiting while Black
Starbucks is kind of made for sitting and waiting. Students, freelancers, homeless people, entrepreneurs, and people from many other walks of life sometimes spend hours in Starbucks’ locations, several days a week or even everyday. People also casually pop in for meetings, a restroom break, or of course, a quick cup of joe.
Rashon Nelson and Donte Robinson decided to go into a local Starbucks and ask for a bathroom code during a quick business meet-up. One instance quickly escalated into the young men being confronted by multiple police officers and then led away in handcuffs. The incident went viral and prompted Starbucks to flip to damage control mode. The two men ended up being questioned, but leaving the police station with no charges. They have retained an attorney who is working on mediation.
Do you have a #LivingWhileBlack story? Let us know in the comments below.