Monday, August 6, 2018
New York Times, ‘All I Did Was Be Black’: Police Are Called on College Student Eating Lunch:
Smith College’s president apologized this week after a campus employee called the police on a black student and said she “seemed to be out of place” as she ate lunch and read in a common area.
The student, Oumou Kanoute, was on a break from her on-campus job on Tuesday when she was approached by a campus police officer responding to the call, the college said in a statement. The officer found nothing suspicious about her.
I did nothing wrong, I wasn’t making any noise or bothering anyone,” she wrote on Facebook. “All I did was be black.”
The encounter was the latest example of a black person encountering unwarranted police scrutiny in recent months. The list already included napping in a dorm lounge, shopping for clothes, leaving an Airbnb, golfingand sitting in a Starbucks.
Each incident shared a catalyst: Someone considered black people going about their everyday lives to be suspicious or dangerous enough to call the police. On Facebook, Ms. Kanoute noted that the person who called the police did not approach her first.
“I am blown away at the fact that I cannot even sit down and eat lunch peacefully,” she wrote.
The employee who placed the call to the police was placed on leave pending an investigation, the college announced on Friday.