Sunday, April 15, 2018

Fifty Years, Little Progress

On April 4 the social media world lit up with quotes from Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. On the 50th anniversary of his death it seemed like everyone was pulling for a society of justice and equality. Less than two weeks later there is a blatant reminder that there has been little progress made in those 50 years. In the 1960s Black people were regularly denied service at restaurants across the country. In 2018- this week, in fact- the Philadelphia police were called because two Black men were waiting for their friend in a Starbucks. Read that again.

Two Black men walked into a Starbucks. It sounds like the beginning of a tasteless joke. It wasn't a joke, but the behavior that was exhibited by the staff of this establishment was definitely tasteless. So, two guys walk into a Starbucks, tell a staff member that they are waiting for a friend and ask to use the restroom. They were denied access to the restroom and told that since they had yet to order anything, they should leave. Now listen: at this point in the story, I am already pissed off. To add insult to injury, the young men asked why they were being told to leave and a Starbucks employee CALLED THE POLICE. The police came- first two, then four, then six. The men were arrested-- even after their friend showed up-- held for hours and released without being charged. Because why? They didn't want to order overpriced coffee before their family friend got there? Oh, ok.  

A million times over, minorities tell folks that our experiences are not like anyone else's-- and time after time, y'all ask for proof that we don't just fly off the handle, or demand too much. This exchange was captured on video and posted to Twitter. The White woman that was sitting next to these men posted that they were doing absolutely nothing wrong and the police were called for no reason. She has taken Starbucks to task, stating publicly that the men were doing exactly what she has done before-- waiting for a friend. Uh, we have ALL done that before. I have had job interviews at Starbucks for goodness sake. Starbucks is THE meeting place. At the mall, in school, before study group, after a challenging meeting, or just someplace to talk shit about your crazy ass co-workers. So if you are known for being the meet up place, what exactly is the problem? Are you only allowed to meet up at Starbucks if you have your white friend in tow? Do those assholes have a quota for how many Black people can be waiting at a time? Why call the police? There was no scene, no raised voices. Why were six police officers necessary?  

We pretend like society as a whole is super evolved. Some of y'all have the audacity to tell us that we live in a post racial society or that minorities don't have it hard... we are just too sensitive. You tell us that race relations is bad because of us-- because we want too much. You are the fulfillment of the delusional dreams of your grandparents, who 50 years ago were probably spouting the same bullshit. Fifty years have passed and I can't tell-- every day we lose men, women and children at the hands of the same muthafuckas who tried to be enlightened online on April 4th. I call bullshit. This is happening in broad daylight and the reason it continues is: not enough of y'all care because it isn't happening to you.


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