“[Breathing] While Black”

I am a native Philadelphian and all-the-way Black. On the heels of the latest racial unrest, I need to throw in my two cents.

I am not a millennial; therefore, I can take Starbucks or leave it. I would miss the Passion Tea, but I could totally stay out of a place where employees decide that only Black customers are required to buy something in order to be present in the store.

(I was introduced to Starbuck’s by my white roommate at the time, who said that Starbuck’s was a place where I could “sit with my laptop all day”. Knowing full well that “the rules” apply differently to me, I’ve always bought a Passion Iced Tea when I decided to flop out at Starbuck’s.

I don’t think that I’ll be doing that for a while.

Starbuck’s employees are behaving badly, from calling the police on two Black men waiting for a friend to not allowing a Black man to use the restroom because he didn’t buy anything. To Starbuck’s credit, the CEO worked quickly to rectify the situation with the two men arrested for “waiting while Black”. I assume that as a result of knowing that this kind of behavior is not an isolated incident at their stores, that Starbucks will be closing all of their US stores for one day to train their employees about racial bias.

I hope that they learn something in ONE DAY that will teach them how to respond better to Black customers.

In the meantime, I’d like to bring up the only issue that I have that no one has brought up yet. What is this mentality that White people have that Black people have to always be “at work” or “doing something” in order for them to be comfortable with our presence? I remember people criticizing President Obama for doing interviews (and going on vacation!) because “he should be working”. And these same jokers have NOTHING to say about 45’s doing nothing but million-dollar golfing since getting elected.

I know that racist White people believe that we are all lazy (since we stopped working for free), but they also seem to make it their business to “make” us do stuff, like the parent who wakes their child up on a Saturday morning to do chores. An idle Black person is therefore perceived as potentially dangerous.

Dear White people: Black people are not your children. We do not require your guidance or permission. We have the same rights–and are entitled to the same privileges–that you have. Stop criminalizing being Black!

That’s really what I am still mad about. That’s what I hope will be covered in Starbuck’s racial bias training. And that’s all that I have to say–for today.

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