Yes. See you next time!
You don’t like that answer? Then let’s break it down, right now, while there are riots in the streets of New York City, not half a block from the office building I work in. Midtown is not yet aflame (just a few broken windows), but who knows? I don’t condone violence, and I’m not sure how much fact is behind the rumors of “outside instigators”. I remember that term the last time the nation was convulsed by riot and violence, and I’m not sure it stood up to the facts back then, either.
You think I’m talking about George Floyd, and of course I am. But I’m also talking about Mr. Christian Cooper and his namesake, Amy Cooper, who threatened to call the cops on him because he asked her to leash her dog. I’m so touched that he took the high road – the highest of the high roads – and was quoted as saying “I don’t know if her life needed to be torn apart.” He sounds like a mensch. And Amy – is she racist? I don’t know the woman, but, believe me, I know lots of women like her. Filled with anxiety, smoldering with internal rage that they’ve had to hide every minute of every day of every year. Sure, they’re rich and white…but who calls the shots? Not them. That would be their brothers, husbands, department heads and fathers. People they can’t push back against. It makes them crazy, and they don’t even know it. Then, along comes someone they CAN push back against. A black guy in Central Park telling HER what to do. Her own demons have been eating her heart for so long, she’s lost all perspective.
I bet you she thought SHE was the victim there, just like that woman who called the cops on an 11-year-old black kid because his backpack brushed her ass. All these women, they’re on a hair trigger. They aren’t going to stand on someone’s neck until they die, but they sure as hell are going to call on the machine to enforce their world view. Most of them are a lot more subtle than Amy, and get their message across with a slightly puzzled expression and a raised eyebrow when they hear someone speaking Spanish in THEIR deli. Maybe later, they snap and call the cops. Meanwhile, their brothers, husbands, department heads, and fathers like to pretend nothing at all is happening. “It’s so unfortunate. Now how about those sales figures?”
Me? I have different demons, thank god. And, thanks to New York City when I came here so long ago, and thanks to my husband and my friends. I learned things some white women don’t. Not because I’m different, but because my friends helped me. After a few decades, you start losing your white-centric perspective, until a few subtle incidents bring it right back, front and center. Incidents like having someone about my age, my weight, and my amount of melanin (maybe more, I am particularly pale) buttonhole me in Washington Heights near the #1 train, a look of undisguised relief crossing her face. My new friend started right in to pepper me with codespeak, clearly delighted she saw a middle aged white woman in a sea of Dominicans! Her daughter wanted to move HERE! It can’t be that bad of a neighborhood, can it? Did I live around here? Was it “safe”? was it “ok” to walk around? Could I “buy things in the stores?”
Since I am one of the well-reared peasantry, I smiled politely and assured her that no one would throw her daughter to the ground and drink her brains through a straw. “Oh, it’s fine,” I told her. “Perfectly safe! The stores are charming!” Looking back, that might have been the moment to break out my limited Spanish. “Que? Disculpe, señora! No hablo ingles.” The point here is that I, personally, tread a fine line. It’s a delicate balance.
The balance is over, though. Now, after so many decades – now is the time of justice. It is coming because it must. That it’s coming right in the middle of a deadly global pandemic and at the tail end (please god!) of the strangest shit-show in Washington DC that we’ve seen in living memory is to show us that you can’t predict anything, so just make sure you’re on the right side of history. Amy Cooper? My advice to you is to get a better shrink, do some soul-searching, and either figure it out or go back to the Compound for good so this guy will move back to New York City (we need him).
The rest of us will do whatever we can to help, including calling out our very closest friends and relatives for inappropriate use of the word “articulate”
I don’t condone the violence. But sometimes, you just have to tear this sucker down.