Ving Rhames held at gunpoint in his own home after neighbour tells police that 'a large black man' had broken in
Day-to-day racism is by no means a rare experience that people of colour face in the United States, nor is it a new problem. However, with the proliferation of social media platforms, more and more people are given the opportunity to share their stories and give those of us not affected the chance to see what these exchanges are like.
Earlier in July, one mother was delivering newspapers with her two sons, when she was stopped by the police. It turned out that despite the fact she was only accompanied by a 12-year-old and a 17-year-old, one resident had become suspicious of their behaviour.
"What was suspicious at 5:30 in the evening? What was this big, you know, reasoning that you had to call the police?" the mother later said in a televised interview. "Something as simple as delivering papers and it turns out to be I have to be racially profiled?"
This isn't a one-off incident either, as we have also seen neighbours call the cops on a 12-year-old child because he was mowing their lawn, one woman assaulting a teenager for attending a public pool, and the now infamous 'Permit Patty' - who called the police on a young African-American girl selling bottles of water - and let's not even get started on the woman who called 911 after seeing a black family having a BBQ in the park...
It's not as if this kind of behaviour only affects people of colour of a certain social status, either - as it appears even the rich and famous can face similar situations. During an interview on The Clay Cane Show, actor Ving Rhames spoke about an encounter he had with the police - all because he entered his own home.
Rhames, who can currently be seen as part of the ensemble of 'Mission: Impossible - Fallout', revealed that a police officer pointed a gun at him as he stood on the doorstep to his home in Santa Monica, California.
“I am sure you hear about all the reports of black men being attacked by police,” Cane asked Rhames, prompting the confession. "You are a big star, but how does racism show itself in your life?”
The actor explained the incident, which took place in the middle of the day, earlier this year:
“I have a screen door and then I have a wooden door.... I’m in my house, I’m in a pair of basketball shorts only. I have two English bulldog puppies. I hear a noise in my backyard, but I’m thinking the puppies are just running around, and then I get a knock on the front door.”
When he opened his front door, he was greeted by a gun pointed at his face. The officer in question was accompanied by several other officers, the chief of police, and a police dog.
“I open the door and there is a red dot pointed at my face from a 9-mm. They say put up your hands, literally. I just walked and opened up the door....Then they said 'open the front screen door.'
"They say do it with one hand so then I have to do it with one hand. My hands are up and they have me outside."
Thankfully, the chief of police recognised the rightful home-owner and had his officers stand down. As it was later revealed, one of his neighbours had called 911, telling the operator that a "large black man" had broken into his the home when he saw Rhames enter. When the officers visited the person who made the call, they denied ever doing it.
“My problem is, as I said this to them, what if it was my son and he had a video game remote or something and you thought it was a gun?” Rhames asked. For the actor, it was his fame that stopped the situation escalating any further - who knows what could have happened otherwise.