As a whole, it is as though few people have learned the lessons wrought by a Starbucks employee who called the police on black men- – for sitting at a table. The incidents since then have been numerous, as have the monikers attached to the so far invariably white women who have summoned the police to handle situations that were not crimes and involved black people. The latest of these events involves a woman at a child’s soccer game in Florida called “Golfcart Gail.”
According to NBCNewYork.com, Golfcart Gail’s incident involves her watching a black father coach his son verbally from the sidelines. She yelled at him that harassment won’t be tolerated. The man then explained what he was doing. Golfcart Gail called the police and ultimately described the soccer dad’s behavior as “threatening.” While police arrived, no one was arrested.
The incident was recorded by at least one other parent, who appears to be white. The parent took to Facebook to share the video and to remind people “Black Lives Matter.” Adding, “Don’t ask me again why I kneel.”
This is just the latest incident. In New York last week, a woman in a convenience store called the police on a 9-year-old boy, who she claimed had “sexually assaulted her.” Upon reviewing the store’s videotape, she discovered that it had been the boy’s backpack touching her, not the boy. Afterward, she appeared on local news broadcasts apologetic and saying that she should have just told him not to touch her. In the small space of a convenience store, and given the boy’s age, even that seems too much. According to CNN and local New York stations, the woman, known as “Cornerstore Caroline,” the woman apologized, but said the boy’s mother “escalated it.” The comments sound self-serving and it doesn’t seem as if Cornerstore Caroline understands the implications of what she did. First, she accused a child of something he didn’t do. Second, she wants the child’s mother to remain silent as she, Cornerstore Caroline, seeks justice.
The incident also speaks volumes about the lack of perceived innocence afforded to children of color. What parent would not get involved if his or her child was being accused of something by an adult, especially when that adult is a stranger.
But after that incident in New York, there were yet others. Most notably this past week, a white woman tried to block a black man’s entry to his luxury apartment in St. Louis because she said she was “uncomfortable.” He recorded his interaction with her, and even though she called the police (even after he let himself in with a key, according to several news sources) and they arrived, but no arrests were made. According to kansascity.com, the woman’s employer, a different luxury apartment complex, fired her after the incident.
The incidents are multiplying and are not limited to one area of the country. Their continued occurrence indicates that not everyone is learning what constitutes an actual emergency and represent a lack of tolerance and continued need for conversation about race and expectations.