You would think that given the wide publicity surrounding the recent incident where Amy Cooper, a white woman whose dog was off leash in New York’s Central Park, was fired from her job after calling the police and telling them that she feared for her life because Chris Cooper, a black birdwatcher, had told her that the area they were in required dogs to be on leashes, people would be more cautious about calling the police on black men for the most trivial of reasons.
And yet, in the same city of Minneapolis where George Floyd was murdered by a police officer just a couple of days ago, we have another case, this time involving a white man calling the police on a group of black men who were in the gym in the building, after demanding that they tell him what right they had to use the gym, which they refused to do since he had no authority to ask for such information. It turns out that the black men are businessmen who have their office in that building and thus had every right to use the gym.
a group of young black entrepreneurs have owned a office building in uptown minneapolis for over a year& got racially profiled at the private gym today🤦🏾♀️smh pic.twitter.com/iKmAuW5Tli
— nisa (@anisalrh) May 27, 2020
The video – which spread rapidly on social media after being posted on Instagram – appears to show local businessman Tom Austin telling a group of young black men that he would call police inside the gym at the MozAic East building in Minneapolis.
Austin told Newsweek in an email that he “should have handled it differently”, but insisted the incident had nothing to do with race. “They got in my face in a very threatening manner and I threatened back to call [building] security. I would have done this regardless of race,” he said.
” They got in my face in a very threatening manner… I would have done this regardless of race.”
For people like Austin and Cooper, men are threatening simply by virtue of being black and not being subservient or obsequious towards white people. As I have written before, this attitude towards black people dates back to the days of slavery and Reconstruction.
This being the internet age, people quickly found that Austin, who is a venture capitalist, had shown his contempt for people of color before. It was on a local issue where it was proposed that Lake Calhoun, named after a South Carolina slave owner who had no connection with the area, be renamed “Bde Maka Ska”, a Dakota Sioux phrase that means “White Earth Lake”
Austin had written an article in which he stated that he had spoken to hundreds of people who lived in the area along the lake front (you can guess the demographic of those who live in one of the wealthier areas of Minneapolis) and reported that he had found that 80% opposed the change.
These people raised a good question: What exactly have the Dakota Indians done that is a positive contribution to all Minnesotans? What is the heroism or accomplishment that we are recognizing in order to justify renaming the lake to Bde Maka Ska? Unfortunately, nobody had any answers.
Fortunately, I also met eight people who specifically supported the name Bde Maka Ska. This was an interesting group. With the exception of one person, they were angry at the “white establishment” and felt that we Minnesotans need to atone for history’s wrongdoings. Ironically, none of them was able to provide specifics of what exactly we needed to atone for, other than “Calhoun was racist and we stole all of this land from the Indians.”
Yeah, these good for nothing Indians. What have they ever done other than getting slaughtered by white people in one of the most horrific genocides in history? And now they want to change the name of the lake away from honoring a participant in another horrific American genocide, that of slavery? How unreasonable can you get?
Honestly, some people’s lack of a sense of basic humanity never ceases to astonish and disgust me.
Women like Amy Cooper, who feel that the establishment is on their side and have no hesitation about throwing their weight around and demanding that the authorities act on their demands, have been given the name ‘Karen’, “a mocking slang term for an entitled, obnoxious, middle-aged white woman.”
We need a similar name for their male counterparts like Austin. How about ‘Biff’?