This is yet another racist incident that I nearly avoided writing about. I read about the Starbucks incident that took place on April 12. Two black men had the police called on them by an employee. Once the police arrived, the black men were arrested for the crime of sitting in Starbucks without ordering anything.
The two men were waiting to meet another, and had the police called on them two minutes after arriving.
As always, any incident like this brings its fair share of outrage, but also the apologists. These are either the naive “colour-blind” people, who say they don’t see colour and think that no one else does. This naivete isn’t a harmless one, it is one that uses racist stereotypes and assumptions to defend pretty much any act of racism in today’s society etc. How were they dressed? If they just obeyed the law there’d be no issues…why is everybody so obsessed with race…
None of these excuses actually help to explain the incident, but they allow people who think they are enlightened to use the sweet crutch of denial to derail any conversation on lingering racism. If people can deny that the Unite the Right rally was racist, then they can definitely deny that this incident was due to racism.
Firstly, neither of the men were dressed in any threatening way. No gold teeth, low-hanging pants or hoodies.
So that’s one set of racist assumptions out of the way.
Next, people are pointing to the fact that the men didn’t pay anything. You can check this YouTube video for one comment after another saying that the men escalated the issue and brought it upon themselves for not paying for anything and asking to use the restroom. A company spokesperson said Starbucks doesn’t have a general policy of disallowing bathroom use if customers don’t pay, the company allows individual stores to set their rules on the matter. This can hopefully clear up the online debate from people like myself, who have been able to sit in a Starbucks for 30+ minutes reading and not buying anything without hassle, and the white people who say they have also been kicked out for not buying anything.
The specific store in question had a rule prohibiting bathroom use if you are not purchasing anything. Fair enough. If someone wants to use the bathroom and you say no, and then they advise they are waiting on someone, do you need to call the police? I heard a lot of people online saying the black men obviously escalated the situation, but if you watch the video you can’t hear much of the dialogue clearly and their body language doesn’t indicate they were trying to put up any serious fight with the police. It’s as if people tried to read lips or fill in the blanks with what they wanted to hear.
Also, the man that the two men were supposed to meet is present at the end of this video (another angle), so it’s not like they were lying about meeting someone.
This could have been avoided if the barista didn’t feel the need to call the tops 2 minutes into their entrance.
I notice that a fair amount of “black” (who knows with online comments) people are also jumping to defend Starbucks. This may be due to being Uncle Toms or just a less malicious desire not to be lumped with all the “libtards” or “race-baiters” getting bent out of shape. They want to be the cool black people, not the ones who get “offended by everything”. I can understand this desire. I had it before I went through quite a few racist experiences that slapped the naivete of out of me.
I don’t assume that because a particular racist incident didn’t happen to me, it can’t happen to anyone else. I used to think that being followed while I shop was something that couldn’t happen in Canada, until I went to SAQ in Hull. I have never been kicked out of a Starbucks for not buying anything, whether it was busy or not. Maybe my Starbucks’ locations had different rules, or maybe I was fortunate enough not to come across a racist barista.
In this day and age of people who defend racism and frame their hatred as an attack on “political correctness” it wouldn’t surprise me if people found a way to defend someone caught on video saying racist things to a person of colour. Then again, I don’t have to look far for proof.
Racism, unprovoked – but caught on camera.
Posted by AJ+ on Friday, January 1, 2016
Read the comments and see how far people go to deny, downplay or outright defend racism. One of the top ones at the moment is someone posting a link to a video asking “Why are we still talking about racism?” The answer: Because it is still alive and well. It is not as blatant as it once was. We have people like those who marched in the Unite the Right rally, but we also have people with “black friends” whose heads are filled with racist assumptions and stereotypes. These people become cops, teachers, jurors and employers.