Someone in Ohio called police after seeing a black family delivering newspapers
If the last year and a half has taught us anything about the state of political opinion in America, it's that a lot of people are still patently racist. The country has seen white supremacist rallies taking place in major cities, a hard crackdown on immigrants from so-called "s**thole countries", and a worrying increase in hate crimes against Muslim people.
In fact, at least one academic paper found that "Trump's Tweets on Islam-related topics are highly correlated with anti-Muslim hate crime after, but not before the start of his presidential campaign", indicating that the president's actions can be linked to at least some anti-Islam attacks.
More recently, though, there has been a spate of high-profile racist incidents involving black Americans being reported to police for literally just going about their business. This time, it's for delivering newspapers.
Brandie Sharp, who lives in Upper Arlington, Ohio, was out delivering newspapers last Friday with her two sons, 12-year-old Uriah and 17-year-old Mycah, when she was stopped by police and asked what she was doing. Sharp explained that she was delivering papers, and had just sent her son back to retrieve some that were accidentally left at the wrong addresses.
When he seemed surprised, she asked, "Why are you questioning me about this?"
Apparently, someone had called the police on them.
In a report on ABC6, an audio clip of the call in question was played.
"It looked like at first they were delivering newspapers or something, but I noticed they were walking up to the houses with nothing in hand and one of them came back with something," a woman can be heard saying in the recording. "I mean, I don't want to say something was going on, but it just but it just seemed kind of suspicious."
In response, Sharp posted this message on Facebook:
"What was suspicious at 5:30 in the evening? What was this big, you know, reasoning that you had to call the police?" she said in a TV interview. "Something as simple as delivering papers and it turns out to be I have to be racially profiled?"
Bryan McKean, an Arlington police officer, said that the caller had reported the "incident" after witnessing Sharp and her sons walking repeatedly back and forth to their car, dropping things off in the vehicle along the way. Law enforcement, McKean says, responded accordingly.
"Our officer could see that they were probably delivering newspapers, but he wasn't sure, so he pulled up next to the car, did not exit the vehicle, and asked if they were selling door to door," he said.
"She said 'No, I'm delivering papers,' and produced some paperwork with the delivery route on it. He said, 'Ok, have a good day,' or something like it, pulled away, and waved to the little boy as he drove off."
He then added: "If she feels that our agency didn't act appropriately or with anything less than respect, we encourage her to contact us."
As insignificant as this may seem to some people, it is yet another reminder to many that black people are perceived with suspicion in the USA, and that prejudice against them is still as strong as it ever was. For as long as incidents like this continue, America cannot hope to achieve equality amongst all races.