"That Coulda Been Me"
After seeing so many nefarious and cowardly acts committed against Black folks in this country, I truly thought I had seen it all but when I first heard that two Black men were arrested at a Starbucks in Philly, I was in complete shock! Initially, I was confused as to what happened, but after learning that they were simply sitting down at the cafe and soon thereafter were escorted out by police after being accused by the manager of trespassing, selfishly, I thought of myself and how this incident could have easily been me.
I’ve written four books, one movie script and countless blogs and if I wasn’t at home, at an office, or outside, it was most likely that I frequented a Barnes & Noble’s, Panera Bread, or Starbucks to jot my thoughts down. Many a time I sat for hours on end in these shops, put my headphones on, and zoned out while writing about whatever I had to get off my chest and out of my head.
Often times these places were accompanied largely by White people and I’ve been the only Black person there more times than I care to count, but at no time did I suspect that I would be arrested or suspected of any illegal or suspicious activity - let alone trespassing! How do you trespass in a public cafe during normal business hours?
I would love to pretend that this was somehow an innocent mistake on the manager’s part, but we’ve seen throughout history, when White America feels uncomfortable by nothing more than our mere presence, we often end up paying the ultimate price. Strangely enough, I find myself thankful that the incident didn’t result in anything further than an arrest and dropped charges, because as we all know, Black people have been killed by police for much less.
This Country of Ours.