Viral Facebook post about a package sums up what it's like to be black in America
You may have noticed this year that there have been a number of incidents of racism that have gone viral. Rather than verbal abuse in public or outright physical assault, these situations often involved people of colour being marginalised, or even threatened, during their everyday life.
Examples of this day-to-day racism in the US included the police being called on two African-American children delivering newspapers, a twelve-year-old mowing a lawn, teenagers attending a public pool, a young girl selling bottles of water, or a family having a barbecue in the park. Even celebrities, such as actor Ving Rhames, have had run ins with the police for merely existing.
Speaking to this issue, Sean Carter, a Harvard-educated lawyer living in Arizona, had some words to share with the world. Sean received a UPS package to his doorstep one day that was supposed to be delivered to one of his neighbours. Rather than hand it over in person, as most would do, Sean called the shipping company and requested they pick it up and redeliver.
Why you ask? In a Facebook post, he explained why he did what he did, sparking up a conversation about race in modern America in the process. He wrote:
"UPS mistakenly delivered this package to the wrong house. The address on the package is for a house just a block over, so we are waiting for UPS to pick up the package and deliver it to the right house. “But Sean, why wouldn’t you be a decent person and just take the package to your neighbor? Or better yet, you have teenage sons. Send one of them. That’s the perk of having teenagers — free menial labor.”
"The answer is because we’re black. And it’s extremely unsafe to send our boys to the home of any family that we don’t know in this predominantly white neighborhood.
"Why? Because there is a realistic chance that one of my neighbors will see my boy as a threat and call the police or even pull a gun on him."
While this may sound a little over the top to some - there are numerous examples of this happening in 2018 alone.
"And if you think I’m being ridiculous or paranoid, Google “Brennan Walker,” a 14 yo black boy who earlier this month, missed the bus and tried to walk to school. He got lost and approached a house to ask for directions. The owners of this home were convinced that this 14 yo BOY had come to kill them (in broad daylight), causing the husband to pull out his gun and open fire on the fleeing BOY.
"THAT is why this f***ing package will be sitting on my porch until UPS retrieves it. Because I can’t trust that my white neighbors won’t see me, a Harvard-educated lawyer (or my 14 yo honor student son) as a roaming homicidal maniac.
"THIS is what it’s like to be black in “post-racial” America."
Since he posted his message, Sean received over 80,000 comments and 123,000 shares from people who either share his view, or eagerly want to talk about the subject.
Regardless, the fact that people like Sean feel this way in their own neighbourhood goes to show how far-reaching and damaging an effect racism still has on people of colour to this day.