[Editor’s Note: We white people have needed this service for a long, long time … at least 300 years. — Mark L. Taylor]
By Abbey Zimet
Common Dreams (10/23/18)
In the latest abomination visited upon innocent people of color by bellicose bigots, a white woman in Andy’s, a local Virginia restaurant, flipped out when she heard a visiting Guatemalan woman speaking Spanish with her family, which included a 7-year-old girl. In a venomous tirade caught on video, the woman demanded to see passports, insisted the family speak English, and started shrieking, “Go back to your fucking country! You do not fucking come over here and freeload on America!”
She was the latest in a series of newly emboldened racist trolls – thanks Trump – including a guy who called police on a black boy for mowing part of his lawn, a woman who called police on an 8-year-old black girl selling bottled water at a ballgame, a Starbucks manager who called police on two black guys drinking coffee, a Brooklyn woman who called police charging a nine-year-old black boy groped her – “I was just sexually assaulted by a child” – as he and his little sister cried, and the infamous BBQ Becky, a meme fave, who called Oakland police on a black family in a public park for, gasp, grilling.
On the hotline, which actually works, an operator explains, “We are here to address your urgent concerns about black or brown people living their life near you” before listing prompts.
The culprit in Virginia was tossed out by the owners, who then wrote a splendid, seething Facebook post titled “Words of Thanks to a Former Customer.” They “thanked” her “for understanding that you have a right to express your venomous and vitriolic views, no matter how odious and ignorant,” allowing witnesses to “understand what a vile and loathsome individual you are,” and “never returning to Andy’s.” Because we’ve all likewise had it, The New York Times and Niecy Nash, actress and “advocate for not calling 911 on black people for no goddamn reason,” took it one step further, partnering on a new infomercial and hotline, 1-844-WYT-FEAR, for white people “feeling scared about a black or brown person in your proximity”- ie: “when it’s not an emergency, just harassment.”
On the hotline, which actually works, an operator explains, “We are here to address your urgent concerns about black or brown people living their life near you” before listing prompts. Then, Nash explains in the ad, her black staff seek to assure callers about scary things the black people are doing – golfing, barbecuing, sleeping in a dorm room, going to work, coming home from work, working at work, campaigning for office, swimming with socks on – which are all real-life things racist idiots have called about. The staff are patient: “Our records show it’s your neighbor…It’s his boat….Yeah, black people have boats too now.” Ultimately, the hotline declares, “We have determined that you are not in danger and probably just racist.” It also gets serious: It offers a reminder that African-Americans still suffer under our criminal justice system, and asks black callers to share their own stories of being racially profiled. The ad stays light, but with an apt, gotta-laugh-or-cry kicker ending.
(This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License.)
Link to Story and 2+-Minute Video
(Commoner Call cartoon by Mark L. Taylor, 2018. Open source and free for non-derivative use with link to www.thecommonercall.org )