An Open Letter to would be BBQ Becky’s and Permit Patty’s.

Shannon Barber
Jun 26, 2018 · 3 min read

Dear Potential Permit Patty and BBQ Becky and So scared Susan,

Hey, no wait don’t dial for a minute and let’s talk.

Let’s skip the bullshit and get into it. It is 2018 and unless you’ve been living in a total media black out, you really need to calm it down calling the police when you see Black people of any age breathing.

First thing is this. Black people are allowed to be outside, alive and doing stuff. Most of the time, that stuff they are doing is not stuff you need to call the cops about. Barbecuing at the park, playing, selling water, riding bikes, moving into an apartment, leaving an Air BnB, or just existing. It doesn’t matter if you don’t know them and let’s be honest, calling the cops because you’re nervous or scared or don’t know that there might be Black folks in your neighborhood is silly.

I could give you forty million reasons why this is terrible but let’s talk about the worst and I want you to ask yourself a few questions. You don’t have to answer me, answer yourself and be honest.

Is what the Black folks are actually doing (not what you think is going on) worth them being executed?

Ask yourself honestly, is this little girl selling water worth her dying? Do I want to see this person, news flash Black people are in fact human beings, executed in front of me?

That is what you risk when you call the police on Black people. Doesn’t matter if they are just there, Tamir Rice was executed within seconds of being seen by a police officer.

Is your sense of righteousness, your totally not racist racism worth the death of another human being? Calling the police, especially if you are a supposedly scared Becky or Susan or Patty or whatever, is putting people at risk of summary extrajudicial execution.

If you would say, it is about safety, who’s safety?

If you say, you don’t have a racist bone in your body, then why can you not acknowledge the fact that calling the cops on Black folks for breathing too loud is admitting that they are not people to you and that you are fine with the possibility of our execution.

For nothing.

For offending your sensibilities.

For existing.

For not being so beat down, we don’t automatically defer to you. Because we walk around, still breathing, dancing, laughing, moving into apartments, hustling water to go to Disneyland, because we are alive.

I refuse to believe that every scared White woman who calls 911 to report someone being suspicious while Black has never watched the news. I refuse to believe that their terror isn’t based in deep and complicated unexamined racism.

You may be one of these folks I’m talking about and furiously typing a response to tell me how much you love MLK and the negro and maybe you even have a Black friend. Don’t.

Instead talk to yourself.

Today is the day. What I mean by that is this. If you’ve ever thought about what you’d have done during the Freedom Ride or in Selma, what you’re doing now is what you’d have done then.

This is it.

Today is the day.

Now is your chance.

Think before you waste police time and tax payer money if that moves you. Think before you put another human being at risk for summary execution.

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