Greetings to my readers. Though I open this post with a photo of former Franklin Templeton employee Amy Cooper (and dog choker..er..I mean, walker), this post is not going summarize what she attempted to do to a bird watcher in New York City’s Central Park, one Christian Cooper (no relation to Amy Cooper), who is guilty only of being black and asking a fellow citizen to obey the leash law.
Of course, this incident is one of many attempted “high-tech lynchings via police” where a white person calls the police on a black person(s) who poses no threat and is doing absolutely nothing criminal, in the hopes that the police will arrive, believe the white person’s lies about whatever supposed crime was committed and use excessive force to either injure or kill the black person(s), or at the least, make an unjust arrest.
These incidents generate humorous memes and monikers for the perpetrators, like “BBQ Becky” and “Permit Patty”. Sometimes, you have to laugh so as not to cry.
If you want to read more about this incident, click the link below the photo that opens this post.
Unfortunately, this was not the only such incident of this kind this week (the actual killing of George Floyd by police not withstanding).
A white male venture capitalist named Tom Austin recently lost his lease to the offices in the building where he operates his business, having been filmed by black tenants exercising in the building’s gym as a protective measure because he suspected the black tenants were in fact not tenants simply because they are young black men.
You can read about that story at the link below:
There is a point to this post mentioning “Canine Cooper” and “Tenant Tom” in addition to “BBQ Becky” and “Permit Patty”, and that point is that racism is not paying off for people like these miscreants, the way it did back in the days of Jim Crow. There are now nascent consequences for “James Crow, Esquire”.
Once upon a time, a racist could practice their racism with impunity. If it were 1920 instead of 2020, we would never hear about these stories and the ending to all such incidents would be an all-but-officially-sanctioned murder or assault on a person of color.
Even 20 or 30 years earlier, these stories would barely register a blip on our media radar and they certainly would not end with consequences for the racist.
Actor Will Smith is quoted as saying that “racism isn’t getting worse, it’s getting filmed”. I do not disagree with this observation. Every one of the incidents I mentioned in this post is known because the black victims/intended targets of these incidents had the presence of mind to pull out their smartphones and hit record.
Were it not for smartphone video, each of these incidents could have had vastly different outcomes. However, the exposure of naked racism through technology is not the only thing that makes 21st century racism vastly different than in times past.
Call me naive, but I am of the opinion that while racism and white supremacy appears more prevalent these days, thanks to technology and social media exposing more of it, that it is not getting worse, it is dying a loud and boisterous death.
I am of the opinion that the vast majority of people in this country are anything but racist and actively and boldly oppose racism.
Even in the middle of chattel slavery in this country, there were white Americans fighting and dying for abolition alongside black Americans. There are more white Americans protesting these recent injustices alongside black Americans and other ethnic minorities in this country than ever before. The power of unity is stronger than ever and the racists hiding behind patriotism and privilege are absolutely terrified by this unity.
Unlike those on social media who think things are getting worse with regard to racism, I posit the following for consideration:
30 years ago:
-Would Amber Guyger be fired from her job as a Dallas police officer, charged with murder, indicted, convicted of manslaughter, and imprisoned for any amount of time?
-Would Amy Cooper lose her rather lucrative job?
-Would Tom Austin lose his lease?
-Would BBQ Becky lose her job?
There was a time within my lifetime where these people would not only not suffer any reprisals or consequences for their actions, but would be rewarded for it.
To be perfectly clear, we have a long way to go as a society. Racism is just that pernicious. However, let us not fail to acknowledge that we have come an awfully long way as a society as well.
The light of optimism is what is needed today, not the self-defeating doldrums of pessimism and victimology.
There IS a silver lining behind those dark clouds. Racism is hatred and hatred never endures. This is why hate cannot be conquered by hate. Only love can do that (thank you, MLK, Jr.).
-The Rational Ram