I’m sure when Wyclef Jean wanted someone to please call 911, it wasn’t to arrest his own people for being normal law abiding citizens in America. BBQ Becky, Permit Patty, Newport Nancy, ID Adam, and more are a bunch of white folks making headlines in the worst way. All over America racist white people are calling 911, our country’s emergency hotline, to report Black people for committing the ‘unlawful’ violation of existing. Horrible things, like, a young boy mowing a lawn, a little girl selling water bottles without a permit, BBQ’ing in a park with a charcoal grill… you know, all the really dangerous crimes Black people commit. As opposed to the not-so-terrible crimes white people perpetuate like, evading taxes, lynching, mass shootings, and ruining potato salads. However, I digress.
The social climate during the Trump era has emboldened racists throughout our country to show their true colors (or lack thereof) by unapologetically and blatantly spewing hatred at Black and brown people. Both on a grandiose scale and a super duper petty scale. These petty ass attacks began going viral when a Black man and his family were victimized for having a BBQ in a public Oakland California park using a charcoal grill. The white woman who called 911 on her cell was recorded from start to finish, making her face the hit meme of the season. Once her attempt to shut the Black family BBQ down failed, she cried and ran to her car claiming harassment. Boo-Hoo Becky! Since the internet is UNDEFEATED in its goals to add humor to adverse situations, she is now the meme celebrity known as #BBQBecky.
The notorious BBQ Becky paved way for many other petty whites such as Permit Patty and ID Adam to shine in all their racist glory. Although, Black and brown people have always managed to leave arenas of racial divisibility mentally unscathed by using comedy and not contention, these are “funny/not funny” situations. Millions of our tax dollars are dispatching cops (who are already on the DO NOT TRUST list when it comes to people of color) to crime scenes with insignificant trivial problems KNOWING a lot of these officers are more inclined to shoot first and ask questions later if at all. We’re already paying taxes to fund the careers of police officers that have killed Black and Brown people for little to no reason, but now we’re taking it a step further with people like Newport Nancy that won’t even allow us to smoke a cigarette in peace.
How sad is it to witness centuries later white people still can’t accept Blacks as their equals in society? No one would call the police or try to evict Miley Cyrus for smoking a cigarette in an outdoor parking garage, or on an 8-year-old white kid for selling water bottles near a stadium. That little girl would’ve been prophesied as the future CEO of her generation, not as a hardened criminal breaking the law. Let’s zoom in on Permit Patty, a woman who made a living as CEO at a marijuana dispensary, selling the very same substance that Black and brown people are incarcerated for “dealing” (read: selling) or using to this day. The double standard is so unbelievably alarming that I’m literally afraid to jaywalk (and in NYC there is no pettier crime).
Despite the antics of the haters, I do have a lot to be proud of when watching these videos or reading about these stories. Yes, of course I am proud of the resilience and strength people of color have against prejudice and enmity, but what I am most proud of is that we have a platform to publicly display our struggles with racism. Even when justice isn’t always served, what has been seen cannot be unseen. These graphic videos of the petty or the fallen now generate emotions in people that may not have believed us otherwise since it’s unfathomable to some that racism still exists (eye roll). It brings to light the closeted racists, like Permit Patty or ID Adam, that are our neighbors and colleagues. People we say good morning to in the parking garage, or smile at in Starbucks. And because these viral videos have such an impact on people there are more voices that can make a difference. The man harassed by BBQ Becky is now running for city council while Permit Patty and ID Adam were forced to either resign their positions or terminated. Too bad the police academy doesn’t condemn their own for viral videos… (don’t get me started).
There is so much work to be done in our country as it pertains to humanity and morality. Sadly, we’ve taken a few steps backwards since the Trump era, an era where Black people can’t wait in Starbucks for a friend without looking suspicious (as if we’re the race responsible for slavery and mass shootings), I believe the more awareness of disproportionate respect people of color receive will highlight a need for change. Ahem, by at least not re-electing #45 as #46.
(Photo: Kativ/Getty Images)