In April of this year, Dr. Jason Johnson, a tenured professor in the School of Global Journalism & Communications at Morgan State University wrote an essay for The Root about white Americans calling the police on Black people for offenses that included sitting in a Starbucks and, in Johnson’s case, canvassing for a political candidate.
“Calling the police to report an actual crime that the police overreact to is not the citizen’s fault, no matter what colour he or she is,” wrote Johnson. “I’m talking about the hundreds of cases — that we know about — every year, where white Americans actively and knowingly use the police as an extension of their personal bigotry yet face no consequences."
We saw this exact phenomenon, what Johnson refers to as white American using police as their own "personal racism valets," in an incident earlier this week in which a white woman called the cops on a Black man (who runs a childcare business) who was babysitting two white children. The transcript of her 911 call is the very epitome of the kind of “bless your heart," deeply ingrained racism that runs rampant and unchecked in our society.
In a solicitous, syrupy voice she tells the 911 dispatcher, "I see this black gentleman with these two little white kids and my...so I just had a funny feeling." She’s not racist. She’s just concerned. It's the same behavior Saturday Night Live's Cecily Strong mocked in her send up of the San Francisco woman who called police on young girl selling water and who the internet dubbed "Permit Patty."
Thursday brought us video of #CornerstoreCaroline who called police on a black child whose large backpack grazed her as she leaned over the counter of a store in Brooklyn. Enraged, she called 911 to report that the young boy had “grabbed her ass.” A bystander recorded the incident and posted the video to Facebook — as has become common in many of these cases. Why? Well, how else would we believe that something this ridiculous could happen again and again and again? Surveillance video released shows the child did not touch the woman.
What follows is a by no means exhaustive list of white women (who seem to be the culprit often in these cases) calling the police on Black men, women, and children for ridiculous reasons that include:
This post has been updated with the latest incident and Refinery29 will continue to update.