Well, it looks like the epidemic of well-meaning white folks (I guess) calling the police or security on black people as they go about their lives is par for the course in 2018 America.
It is becoming increasingly clear that although the whites have always had an irrational fear of black people, as they move in closer proximity to them (i.e., via gentrification), they also bring their biases—along with ironic dive bars and astronomical rents.
If you are even a semiregular reader of The Root, you have seen in the last month or so (since the “Starbucks incident”) a sea change in reportage of these types of incidents; that is to say, this type of shit happens every day. It has become clear that these attacks (because be clear: When you call the law on black people in America, it is an attack) happen with frightening regularity, and to black folks from all walks of life.
This time, a black father was pushing his son in a Washington, D.C., park, and a white woman saw fit to notify park security about “a suspicious man walking the bike path with a baby.”
It should make no difference that that man, Donald Sherman, is a professional, a lawyer, because to some folks, he will always be a scary black guy.
Sherman explained in a May 10 Facebook post that on the day in question, his son was not feeling well, so he stayed home with him.
After some time, baby Caleb seemed better, so he took the little guy out for some fresh air at Kingman and Heritage Islands Park, man-made islands in the Anacostia River, not too far from his gentrified neighborhood. Sherman wrote:
30 minutes into our stroll I got flagged by a security officer in one of those cars marked “Special Police” on the side. I was a bit confused as to whether she was looking for me to stop but she honked twice and pulled over so I got the picture. She told me that she received a complaint from someone who said there was a “suspicious man” walking on the bike path with a baby. She said that when the complainant was asked to describe my race, she declined.
What is clear to anyone with eyes, however, is that Sherman is dark-skinned while his son is not, perhaps prompting the woman to think that a black man somehow stole a white baby. I guess.
Sherman noted that the only person he saw on their walk was “a white lady on a bike who veered off as Caleb and I were walking in her direction” and that she was the one who “saw fit to report me to security.”
Thankfully, Sherman reported that his interaction with the security officer was “pleasant” and that she just wanted to let him know what happened.
But being a black man in America, we know it could have ended in tragedy.
“If this complaint had been made to a different security officer or an actual cop, things could have gone very differently,” he wrote. “This is exactly why we have to talk about white privilege and why black lives matter. Because at any point doing anything anywhere my safety and my child’s safety could [have] been in jeopardy because [of] some well-intentioned complaint.”
Let’s break out the flowchart one mo’ gin for those who obviously need it:
Maybe it’s time to start prosecuting folks for these meritless calls—at least to 911.