Another day means another case of a white woman white-woman-ing.
Back in 2018, we endured a depressing spate of white women, including “BBQ Becky” and “Permit Patty,” calling the police on Black folks over frivolous bull----. It kicked off with the lady calling the cops on a group of Black people barbecuing in Oakland, Calif. and continued with what felt like weekly incidences of some dame channeling her privilege into weaponizing her smartphone, only to become a hashtag followed by the eventual apology for not being as racist as everyone says she is.
Next up on that hashtag Summer Jam screen is Amy Cooper, the former head of Insurance Investment Solutions at Franklin Templeton (she has since been fired from her position) who seemed discontent in letting a perfectly pleasant Memorial Day escape without bitching to the police about the benign actions of a Black man. This, however, might be the worst case we’ve seen yet.
Christian Cooper, a Black man not related to his alabaster accuser, struck out early on the holiday to a wooded section of New York City’s Central Park known as the Ramble to watch birds drop in during their northern migration. Amy Cooper was in the Ramble with her unleashed cocker spaniel, Henry and suddenly what could have been a simple exchange turned into an ugly encounter.
Unleashed dogs aren’t allowed in the Ramble – signs exist informing everyone of this and yet Amy allowed Henry to raise hell, digging up soil and disrupting the peace of the habitat. Christian allegedly asked Amy to leash her dog, a request which she apparently refused to do.
There were more words exchanged between the two when Christian, according to his Facebook post told Amy, "Look, if you're going to do what you want, I'm going to do what I want, but you're not going to like it." As an avid bird watcher, Christian had encounters with dogs like Henry before and pulled out the dog treats to lure Henry to him, a trick he says usually makes dog owners restrain their pets.
And then he started recording. What happened next is the stuff that makes all of us dagger-eye every white person we come across, at least for a while.
“I’m going to tell them there’s an African-American man threatening my life,” Amy yells to Christian. When she calls the cops, her voice ramps up with the screaming-bloody-murder inflection that has claimed the lives of so many falsely-accused Black men in our country.
Meanwhile, Henry is losing his s--- and Amy wraps him in the leash instead of actually, you know, clipping it on like she was f----g supposed to in the first place. It’s almost like she wanted to choke out her own dog just to defy Christian.
The video evokes the story of Emmett Till, a 14-year-old Black boy who was lynched when Carolyn Bryant Donham falsely accused him of a crime in 1955, and waited more than six decades to tell the truth. It also comes in the wake of the still-exposed nerve that is the senseless killing of Ahmaud Arbery mere weeks ago.
For me, Christian’s video is like watching the beginning of Rosewood, which is still the most infuriating film I’ve ever seen.
Based on the true story of the 1923 Rosewood massacre, the 1997 John Singleton film depicts loads of Black people in a small Florida town who are lynched when a white woman screams baseless attack accusations against an innocent Black man.
As Christian’s video has been viewed tens of millions of times and Amy became acutely aware that she was on the receiving end of a holiday dragging, she used mass media to apologize with that “but I’m not actually a racist” chestnut that we’re all used to at this juncture and actually foresaw coming.
The rescue company from which Amy adopted Henry took him back, and her gig at Franklin Templeton is now gone as the company just issued a statement of her termination.
Amy’s life has already been severely impacted by a 50-second phone call, which will invariably garner quite a bit of sympathy (and maybe a GoFundMe page) for her. But if you find yourself feeling too sorry for her, think about the worst thing that could’ve happened to Christian had the NYPD showed up, convinced that he was actually threatening her life.
Best-case scenario: A 57-year-old man, who quite possibly went his entire life without being arrested once, would be demoralized as he was placed in handcuffs in the middle of Central Park. Worst-case scenario, his life could have been snuffed out by the police, as was the case when a Minneapolis police officer kept his knee on the neck of a Black man accused of forgery who repeatedly complained that he could not breath on Memorial Day.
America has shown us time and time again that reason and compromise with authority figures does not always include Black people, and that the mere presence of the police in the capacity of detaining us can result in the end of our existence. When you consider that, Amy got off pretty easily.
Dustin J. Seibert is a native Detroiter living in Chicago. Miraculously, people have paid him to be aggressively light-skinned via a computer keyboard for nearly two decades. He loves his own mama slightly more than he loves music and exercises every day only so his French fry intake doesn’t catch up to him. Find him at wafflecolored.com.
Screen Shot of Amy Cooper from Facebook
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