On Thursday, April 12, two African-American men were arrested for refusing to leave a Philadelphia Starbucks after the manager called 911 on them for allegedly trespassing. When the video broke on the internet of the two men being handcuffed inside the Starbucks and escorted out by Philadelphia police officers, people were immediately outraged.
There are many allegations that these arrests were fueled by racism, which in my opinion, is completely true. Author Melissa DePino posted the video on Twitter of the innocent men being arrested after doing absolutely nothing wrong.
This incident sounds a lot like the past 400 years of Africans-Americans being judged solely based on the darkness of their melanin, when in hindsight, they are doing absolutely nothing other than just being black.
“The police were called because these men had refused to order anything,” DePino wrote on Twitter. They were waiting for a friend to show up, as they did, as they were taken out in handcuffs for doing nothing.”
The reason why getting arrested while sitting in a Starbucks would never happen to a white person is because the white image is perceived as pure and could never be tainted.
The ideology of the white image is that it would never do any harm to anyone or anything, simply because they are white.
White people are protected by their white privilege and to give an example of what privilege is, it is when a white person can sit in a Starbucks for hours at a time, never order anything and leave without getting arrested.
Another example of white privilege is when a white person publicly claims that he or she is tired of hearing about racist issues like the Starbucks incident, when black people are unable to get tired because we have to continually fight until we are seen and treated as equal.
Holly, the former Starbuck’s store manager, called 911 because she perceived sitting while black equals trespassing, when all they were doing was sitting and minding their business.
Since this incident has transpired, there have been a lot of people expressing their anger and opinions on the matter, and in my opinion, this is a race issue.
This race issue will not be resolved in the three weeks of racial bias mandatory training that Starbucks is conducting during the month of May. We as human beings should not have to still live in a world where people are still biased about race.
The men were detained for eight hours for doing absolutely nothing, and for the police commissioner to insist that the police officers “did absolutely nothing wrong,” does not sit well with me at all. Everything the police officers and the Starbucks manager did was completely wrong, because what was actually a racial bias against two black men resulted in an unnecessary arrest.
The cops could have intervened, made a conscious decision by listening to the witnesses who repeatedly said the men did nothing wrong and let them free.
Unfortunately, this is what happens when you are doing anything while black — it is seen as a threat.
As a black woman, I am mentally tired of these justified false excuses that degrade, disrespect, harm, intimidate and potentially kill a black person when a white person will always be protected and set free.
Black people have no protection other than the protection of a higher power that is greater than ourselves. The harsh reality is that being black is perceived as a crime in America, and as people we must change the narrative just by starting the conversation.