Most days I wake up to the petty satisfaction of knowing how mad white people are right now. The Black Lives Matter movement is more mainstream and widely celebrated than it’s ever been. It’s so big now that even white people living in some cave near some Amish community with no internet access will likely find it hard to ignore it. But it’s easy to forget how fast their anger over the movement can turn into something that puts Black people in danger.
A white San Francisco man was charged with a hate crime after he verbally attacked a Black family—which included three small children—in a restaurant in Burlingame, Calif., earlier this month. The family members were all wearing Black Lives Matter t-shirts and the man told them if he had a gun he would have shot them all.
KTVU 2 reports that 55-year-old Steven Cibotti was charged Tuesday with “making criminal threats with a hate crime enhancement,” according to the San Mateo County District Attorney’s Office. On June 7, Cibotti spotted a Black family of five wearing BLM shirts at Flights Restaurant where the family stopped to eat after attending a march in San Francisco.
Cibotti allegedly approached the family, shouted “blue lives matter” and pushed their table. After the father of the 7, 5 and 2-year-old children, who were present during the confrontation told Cibotti to leave them alone, Cibotti shouted, “Fuck you. If I had a gun, I would shoot all of you,” according to prosecutors.
Cibotti is currently out on $150,000 bail. According to Channel 2, he wasn’t present at his first hearing but was represented by his attorney. His next hearing is scheduled for July 22.
Being a graduate from the Maya Angelou school of, “When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time,” I’m of the belief that Cibotti’s statement that if he had a gun he would’ve murdered a black family—children and all—shouldn’t be dismissed as tough talk from a frustrated racist. White fragility can turn into white violence real quick.
The fact that a white man can say something like that to Black people over “Black Lives Matter” shirts without catching even a whiff of his own irony shows exactly why this movement exists.