|Image courtesy of Afropunk.com|
A pair of Native American brothers were questioned on a Colorado State University tour because they were too quiet. Talking was not required for this tour, and if you’ve ever been on a college tour, you usually want to keep quiet so that you can LISTEN TO THE TOUR GUIDE. It wasn’t the tour guide who called the cops; it was a parent of someone on the tour guide. It’s bad enough that the university was likely built on the graves of someone’s ancestors, but to have their legitimacy question for being polite? What the hell?
This week, a black Yale grad student was questioned in her own dorm because she was sleeping in a common study area. Before anyone claims that she should have slept in her room, and this would have been avoided, 1.) fuck you, and 2.) College kids live on naps. They sleep wherever they can whenever they can. The library, the dark corner of the cafeteria, under a work bench in the engineering building, in the foyer of the science building; EVERY part of a campus is fair game. The black woman who was studying in the common room and took a quick nap did what every other college student does. How dare she be human???
One woman in Oakland had the caucasity to not only harass a group of black people barbecuing in the park, but when the police didn’t come for 2 hours (because barbecuing while black is NOT a crime), she made up a story of how THEY were harassing HER, and then when she found a cop, she started crying on command.
These are examples of inconvenience. I could go on with my personal experiences of being “suspicious” while enoying life. A brother can’t even walk his baby in a stroller in peace. Sometimes these calls end in death, like when a mentally ill but harmless black staple of a Brooklyn neighborhood was gunned down because a white person thought the shower head he was carrying was a gun. I guarantee that there will be no punishment for the officer OR the person who called.
And that is the problem. Part of the tensions between police and people of color are caused by people calling the cops when they are not needed. No one likes their schedule interrupted for bullshit, even if their schedule is reading a book in their own car. It wouldn’t be a big deal if white folks were ecumenical with their nervousness and called the police on white folks who were minding their goddamn business as well. I straight up saw a bunch of white kids skateboard INSIDE a store, past a sign that explicitly said, “no skateboards or bikes”, but no one lifted a finger, and the shop owner was too busy eyeing me looking at a shirt, which is what you are supposed to do when shopping for shirts. It wouldn’t be a big deal if our lives were not in jeopardy with these calls, and the misjudgment of the slightest movement, like reaching for our identification, could be the last thing we ever do.
For this reason, there needs to be a punishment system for white folks who call the police on us for living. We need to push for legislation that. With much thanks to a friend for the name, I propose the “Stop Needlessly Involving The Constabulary, Helen”, or the SNITCH Act, for short. People who violate the SNITCH Act would be severly punished. But since fining and jailing people never goes over well, and since Americans HATE apologizing, why not have a tiered system that will hit these SNITCHers where it hurts?
INCONVENIENCE A POC FOR 0 TO 3 HOURS: White caller is not allowed to talk about The Wire or Breaking Bad for a week.
INCONVENIENCE A POC FOR 4–7 HOURS: Previous punishment, and no Taylor Swift for one month.
INCONVENIENCE A POC FOR 7–10 HOURS: All previous punishments, and caller must watch both the original “Roots” and the 2016 remake.
INCONVENIENCE A POC FOR 11+ HOURS: All previous punishments, and caller must delete pictures of them in Africa, Asia, and South America with little brown kids.
IF POC IS HANDCUFFED: All previous punishments, and caller must surrender all Sriracha from home and office.
IF POC IS ARRESTED: All previous punishments, and caller is banned from purchasing avocado products for a year.
IF POC IS KILLED: All previous punishments, and caller must wear a locket with a picture of the person for whose death they are indirectly responsible for the rest of their lives. Also, no more brunch.
I should call my local lawmaker right now. We need to get the SNITCH Act pushed through and signed. However, I’m typing this and laughing quietly to myself, so I should expect someone to suspect me of robbing this coffee shop any second now. Until then, Stop Needlessly Involving The Constabulary, Heather.