Amy Cooper, George Floyd, Christian Cooper, Ahmed Aubrey, racism

Racism in America When White Americans Cry Wolf, Black Americans Die

by Deborah Cruz

“I’m going to tell them there’s an African American man threatening my life.” Those are the words Amy Cooper wielded as a threat to birder, Christian Cooper, when he insisted that she put her dog back on the leash in a leashed dog park in New York’s Central Park in an area called the Ramble, known for its wildlife and birds that live there. But she didn’t just make an idle threat because she was upset that this man dared to ask her to leash her dog, she literally threatened his life with those words and by calling the police. What threat was she under? Not being able to exercise her white privilege.

I keep hearing that we’re all in this together but I know that’s not true.  We’re all in a boat in the ocean of life but some are yachts and some are 2 popsicle sticks held together by bubblegum and hope. One thing we all know, whether you are black, brown or white, is that being black or brown in America is dangerous every single day, even during a pandemic which you’d think would be the great equalizer.

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Amy Cooper was so angry that this black man had the audacity to request that she live by the same rules as the rest of the world and check her privilege that she threatened his life, because we all know that is exactly what that was. She was like a toddler throwing a tantrum with a semi-automatic weapon. You don’t just randomly call the police on anyone especially not a person of color for no reason. She knew that by making that call she was putting this man’s life in danger and she either didn’t care or cared more about getting her way, than his life.

For those of you who don’t understand this, let me catch you up, if you are not white in America, you do not receive the same rights as those who are white. We have to work twice as hard for half the pay. We have to be respectful and hold our tongues, as the minority, or suffer the consequences. We have to check self-respect, self-dignity and equality every single day of our lives on some level and defer to white America because they remind us every single day that it’s their America and we’re just living in it and our human rights can be revoked at any minute, if we are even afforded them at all.

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There are white people of privilege, then there are white people who have no privilege but yet still hold some sliver of privilege because of the very color of their skin. Then, there are the rest of us. The darker your skin, the worse you’re treated by racists because the skin is not something you can hide. You can’t just blend in when your skin is proudly announcing your arrival.

People of color worry because just the act of existing outside of our own homes is dangerous. Actually, even staying inside our own homes doesn’t keep us safe. We’re taught to be quiet, blend in, be respectful, show our hands at all times, and never talk back even when we know we’re right because the price we pay is our life. The majority holds the power and that is why Amy Cooper thought it was ok to cry wolf in the middle of the park with no consideration for Christian Cooper’s life. Racist aren’t sorry for their hatred, they are only sorry when they get caught…sorry that they got caught, still, unapologetic for their fundamental hatred of anyone different than themselves.

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I’ve long held a theory, take it as you will from this white Latina who grew up in a predominantly black neighborhood, some (not all) white people are afraid of black people. As far as I can see, there’s no logical reason for it but I think maybe it’s genetic. As in white people have been treating people of color so shitty for so long that somewhere in their DNA they know they’re wrong for it and that causes a deep-seated fear of retaliation that manifests as preemptive, blind anger. Karma people. If you go around being a monster for centuries, maybe be afraid that one day, God’s going to get you. So, instead of changing the shitty behavior, they go on the defensive and just keep on treating people of color like they are less than. Rather than, treat us all like human beings they double down on the hate and so goes the vicious cycle of white privilege and racism.

As if the Karen in Central Park choking her dog wasn’t enough. We’ve got a whole neighborhood in Brunswick, Georgia (let’s just call a spade a spade) lynching black men in the street. There are so many things wrong with the Ahmed Aubrey situation that I can’t even begin to start to point them out. You have eyes, you are intelligent, I don’t need to be Captain Obvious but something most definitely stinks in suburbia. I’m calling bullshit on the whole thing. This family of racists and their neighborhood buddies went on a hunt in broad daylight and Ahmed Aubrey was the prey of the day.

READ ALSO: When Racism Happens to Your Child

Next, we have the video of George Floyd, a 46-year-old father of 2, killed while Officer Derek Chauvin, pinned a handcuffed Floyd down on the ground. Officer Chauvin’s knee was on Floyd’s neck with the other on his back pinning him down, restricting his intake of breathable air, even while Floyd begged for breath. All while 3 other officers helped to subdue or watched Mr. Floyd take his last breaths and go limp as he died on the pavement below Chauvin’s weight. The police were responding to a call from a grocery market about an alleged counterfeit $20 bill.

In the video, Floyd is seen moaning and struggling, as bystanders urge officers to place him in the police car. “Please,” Floyd pleads. “I can’t breathe,” he continues to moan. An officer keeps insisting he get in the car, while the man repeatedly says he can’t.

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“My stomach hurts. My neck hurts. Everything hurts. … (I need) water or something. Please. Please. I can’t breathe, officer. I cannot breathe. I cannot breathe.”

The police insist that Floyd was resisting arrest. Let me be perfectly clear on this next part, I don’t care if he did actually try to pass a counterfeit $20 bill or not (it’s irrelevant) because no matter what he did or didn’t do, it shouldn’t have cost him his life and if those officers had any respect for this man’s life, they would have relented and taken the knee off the neck. Therein lies the issue. They did not treat this man like a human being because they do not see him as their equal. They saw him as less than they are. This is racism. This is hatred and self-loathing resulting in murder. The four officers were fired Tuesday; on Wednesday, Mayor Jacob Frey called for Chauvin to be criminally charged.

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There were more instances of blatant racism in the news this week and that was just in the past few days. But this was not the first time these things have happened and it won’t be the last. Racism is not new. Social media is. Racists have been out here living their best lives, assaulting and murdering people of color since the beginning of time, but now, we all can see it. Now, we can share it. Now, we can call out for justice and bring these transgressions to the light of day. There is no denying culpability when you’re caught on tape. The world cannot continue to turn a blind eye when the truth is viral.

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