“Never judge a white person until you have walked a mile in their burnt Nikes.”
-Ancient African Proverb
Guys, I don’t think the practice of calling out white people for calling the police on black people is working as well as we wanted. Instead of white-shaming with nicknames like BBQ Becky or using hashtags like #ConvertingOxygenToCarbonDioxideWhileBlack, maybe we should try something different. Maybe we try to understand what it’s like for our Ugg-wearing brothers and sisters who are contemplating calling the cops on a black person.
In fact, here is a short, multiple-choice quiz based on an actual story reported by WITF about what happened when a black woman dared to enter one of the country’s wealthiest neighborhoods to canvas for a political candidate.
The story begins on Sunday, October 28, when Dr. Amanda Kemp, an activist and visiting scholar at Franklin Marshall College in Lancaster, Pa., decided to canvas for congressional candidate Jess King, according to a Facebook post by Kemp. Kemp and her husband Michael Jamanis’ first stop was in the Bent Creek neighborhood of Lancaster County, Penn., which made the list of the 1,000 wealthiest neighborhoods in the U.S. in 2014.
After giving the name of the voter they were going to visit to the person at the entrance of the gated community, “the staff person gave us a yellow card on which she had written our destination,” Kemp said, adding: “The yellow card informed us of some rules—none of which related to canvassing.”
When Kemp discovered that the person was not home, she and her husband (who is white) decided to go visit the home of the next voter on her list, who also happened to live in the Bent Creek community. This is when Kemp says they were approached by a white woman with gardening shears, reported to be named Elizabeth “Duffy” Johnson
“What are you doing here?” said Johnson, who we will not refer to as Susie Scissorhands. “You can’t do that here.”
What did the Elizabeth woman want?
A. To welcome black people to the neighborhood.
B. To see Kemp up close because she’d never seen a negro in person.
C. To touch Kemp’s hair.
D. To see Kemp’s fugitive slave papers
Kemp explained to Duffy the Volunteer Slayer that she was canvassing for Jess King, to which she replied, in what Kemp described as “aggressive” and “in a loud voice”:“I hate Jess King. She’s trying to take us to socialism. You can’t do that here.”
After exchanging a few unpleasantries, Elizabeth, who is reportedly a member of the Republican Committee of Lancaster County and has been campaigning for Lloyd Smucker, Jess King’s opponent, continued her interrogation:
“You can’t do that here,” she said. “You don’t belong here. How did you get in here? I’m going to call the police. I’m going to take your picture.”
How did the Duffy Johnson know that Amanda Kemp didn’t belong there?
A. The woman memorized the faces of every resident who lives in the 400 homes in Bent Creek.
B. Racism gives you E.S.P.
C. Bent Creek is 88.7 percent white and only .7 percent black, according to Higley Magazine.
D. She’s white, she doesn’t have to know shit.
Kemp says Beth the Bouncer followed them, yelling that she was going to take their picture. But when Kemp’s companion, also tried to take a photo of Bent Creek Betty, Johnson hid her face.
“All of this is private property,” said the woman. “You can’t be in here at all. I’m calling the police.”
“She then started to dial,” wrote Kemp.
What did Duffy Johnson tell the police?
A. “I think they’re trying to start the race war.”
B. “There’s gotta be a law against unauthorized blacks roaming freely, right?”
C. “I’d like to report someone for first-degree uppity-ness”
D. “I’d like to order the George Zimmerman special.”
Kemp decided to go home, but the police showed up at her door and, after speaking to her husband, determined that no laws were violated. WITF says Duffy actually teaches “dining, social, and personal skills for the Etiquette School of Central PA.”
Johnson alleges that Kemp’s story is not accurate. An email from her attorney says: “This matter is about trespassing. The volunteers from Jess King’s campaign entered private property and became aggressive,” adding: “They were asked to leave and refused, so the police were notified.”
“The fact the police came to my house—I don’t know what the basis of that was,” said Kemp. “That was really disturbing.”
Pennsylvania’s criminal trespassing statute does not seem to list any of Kemp’s actions that day as illegal but that’s neither here nor there because:
A. Elizabeth “Duffy” was not actually worried about trespassing.
B. There is a separate Pennsylvania statute that allows people to stop anyone from walking down the street.
C. Johnson stops everyone she sees in her neighborhood
D. You know why.
Answers: None of this makes any sense. As with everything in America, the correct answer is always “whiteness.”