When Life Gives You Lemons, Make Some Damn Good Lemonade
After my last article, I decided that I would focus full-time on my fiction writing. It’s not that I don’t love writing articles, it’s just that the news grew more and more depressing each day. Could I write fun and entertaining articles? Of course, but I didn’t have the motivation to. Fiction is where I want to be. I have a deadline that I set for myself to finish my novel, and I needed to buckle down and get serious. When I’m writing my novel, I can create a world of fantasy and magic, where bad things can happen to the protagonists, but in the end, they’ll come out on top because I decide what their destiny will be.
But something happened this week that shook me to my core. Over the past few months, social media has been flooded with videos of blacks and other people of color having the police called on them. And what crime have they committed? Absolutely nothing, except trying to run a business, or just having fun. You know the videos I’m talking about, right? The ones with Permit Patty, BBQ Becky, and Pool Patrol Paula? These examples of white people calling the police on blacks just for existing is nothing new, it’s just social media blows it up.
I grew up in New York City and seeing vendors was nothing new, so the first thing I thought when those videos kept popping up was “Why can’t they just mind their own business and leave these people alone?” The videos made me annoyed and angry. Then one day my dad told me that my cousin in San Francisco had the cops called on him while he was opening his shop. Yeah, I was surprised too, especially since San Francisco has a pretty liberal reputation. It made me upset and anxious, but I was thankful that nothing life threatening happened to him. About a week passed and as I was about to leave for work, I scrolled through my Facebook and right there on the AJ+ news platform, there was a video of my cousin, talking about his ordeal and showing the recording of what happened that day. As he was checking his security system, the police showed up. He thought that his alarm had gone off, however, they informed him that someone called stating that a break-in was happening. He had been open for about three days, which should have given the residents around the area to realize he was the business owner. On top of that, it was four cops… for one person, which I find completely unnecessary.
I made the awful mistake of then reading the comments. Needless to say, that sent me over the edge. Reading things by cruel people who have no idea who it was, was the last thing I needed to do. Throughout the week more videos popped up on The Huffington Post, Anderson Cooper, and MSNBC. I couldn’t escape it. He’s okay, thank God, but that doesn’t make the situation any less stressful on him and his family.
So, my simple request is this: stop calling the police on black people. And don’t give a smartass remark like “well what if they’re doing something illegal?” You sure as hell know what I’m talking about when I say, “stop calling the police on black people.” Calling the police on black people can put our lives in danger, even if nothing illegal is going on because things can escalate. Because the fact of the matter is, whether people want to admit it or not: many people are afraid of black people. Point blank. It doesn’t just have to be white people either because of anti-blackness in many cultures: East Asian, Southeast Asian, Middle Eastern, Hispanic.
Police brutality against blacks is nothing new either — it’s been going on for decades, but now you’re forced to see it whenever it happens. God forbid something did happen to him that day because someone decided to call the police over nothing.
This is what it's like for a black business owner in a gentrifying SF neighborhood: Racist graffiti and calls to the police for unlocking your own store. pic.twitter.com/F9lVsIaKM7
— AJ+ (@ajplus) July 20, 2018