Augustana Observer

Augustana Observer

Augustana Observer

    Stop calling the cops on black people

    I know I am not the only person on this campus that drinks Starbucks, or who grabs a drink in the Brew every now and then. We all have lingered and loitered at a restaurant at some point in time because we were either waiting on someone or just enjoying the free time we had with the people around us. I want to reiterate that the general population at our college has never had to have police called on them and arrested for essentially not doing anything but existing in a space.
    Earlier this month, two black men were arrested in a Starbucks in Philadelphia where witnesses said the men didn’t do anything but wait on their friend who was running late. However police later reported that the men were arrested for ‘defiant trespassing’. As a result, we have a statement from Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson saying that the manager had never intended to have the men arrested and for things to have escalated to the point that they did.
    To say you didn’t expect the men to be arrested is hard for me to believe. Especially when we look at the history of how white people use the police to remove black people from a particular space.
    In 2009 in Massachusetts, a women called the police because of burglaries in her neighborhood. She ended up calling the police on Harvard Law professor Henry Louis Gates when he was trying to get into his own home. Gates ended up getting arrested and charged.
    A white neighbor called the cops after his car windows were smashed and he saw a man in a hoodie nearby. Stephan Clark, who was unarmed, ended up dead with 20 bullet holes in his body.
    On May 29, Starbucks Corp. will close more than 8,000 U.S. stores for anti-bias training after concerns were raised that employees were improperly treating black people. This is a good first step, and I am happy to see a chain like Starbucks make initiatives.
    But who’s going to train the majority of white America to not inappropriately call the police on black people?
    What needs to be understood is that black people are being physically removed time and time again without given proper reasoning as to why, whether that be removed from a store, sent to jail or being killed on the spot.

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    Stop calling the cops on black people