I saw something shitty last week.
I'm at an event with thousands (literally) of high school teachers and college faculty. I was sitting in the lobby drinking coffee at a convention center when a man walked in. He was old. And black. He looked really disheveled. But that's hardly out of the ordinary. He had crazy, untamed hair (common among Old Man Professors; 10% of the men here have his haircut). He was dressed very badly, essentially in an untucked rumpled shirt and pajama bottoms (We are all extremely dressed down, because we have very long days and the emphasis is on dressing strictly for comfort; I haven't worn pants without an elastic waistband the whole time).
He had no badge, so the security guard – note that this was a locally staffed person from a temp agency, unaffiliated in any way with the event or its organizers – told him he couldn't come in. He explained that everyone has to come in without a badge the first time because you have to go inside to register and get your badge. You know. Pretty logical.
I had just done this exact thing the previous day. Thousands of other people did it too. The vast majority were disheveled. Many were also old. Many were also dressed like hobos. But few were also black.
The security guard kept telling him he could not enter, and finally he just came in. He had explained himself at least three times. She kept physically getting in front of him and trying to block him. He said multiple times, don't touch me. She did not. But she went into full, SIR, I'M ASKING YOU TO LEAVE mode. Within 10 seconds she was on a walkie-talkie calling for a police officer. A cop showed up.
So here, for the millionth time, an armed police officer was brought to confront a black man doing exactly nothing wrong, and exactly what everyone around him was also doing. The cop did not do anything. But he was there, and armed. Even if there was a 0.0001% chance the situation could have gone badly, that's 0.0001% higher than when I walked into a bland convention center to register for an event I was invited to be at. And odds of 0.0001% eventually get someone if this scenario is repeated often enough.
The whole time I'm watching this and thinking, this is how people end up getting shot. The wrong cop shows up on the wrong day in the wrong mood and confronts something less than total obedience from a black man and the tasers and guns come out, or someone ends up face-down on the ground with a knee in their back, or someone ends up in handcuffs.
There was no reason at all for that cop to be there. And it's not his fault he was there; it was his job to show up when called. The problem was that another middle aged white woman looked at someone and concluded that because he is a black man the police needed to be summoned.
Stop calling the police on black men who aren't doing anything other than existing. Thanks.