Good evening, everyone. I’m sure that by now you’ve heard about the incident in a Philadelphia Starbucks where two Black men were arrested for not buying anything. This is an example of an occurrence that was so clearly reprehensible, that it sparked outrage around the country. Activists shut down that particular Starbucks, and the manager that overreacted was let go by the company.
This latest incident comes at a time where the question is really posed if there is any real way to exist as a Black person in public. In a country where teenagers get shot at for asking for directions, it’s a fair question.
The egregious nature of many of these incidents infuriate people, but these happenings are only flare ups of the ever beneath the surface microaggressions that Black people must endure on a daily basis.
Personally, I have experienced them to the point, that I consciously decide not to browse through stores if I don’t intend to purchase anything. Can’t be accused of shoplifting if you don’t walk in… at least not yet.
However, the larger takeaway that I believe we have from this is how jarring it can be to witness such unequal treatment. This kind of thing happens all the time, it was just captured. You can’t just dismiss it by saying that Black people need to “try harder” not to get ensnared by practices that flow from the logic of structural racism.
Hopefully, this will encourage a meeting of the minds between those who are living this everyday, and those who don’t that see the need for it to change. That meeting place definitely won’t be at your local Starbucks though.