TaxProf Blog

Editor: Paul L. Caron, Dean
Pepperdine University School of Law

Monday, August 6, 2018

NY Times: Police Called On Black Student Eating Lunch At Smith College

SmithNew 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 loungeshopping for clothesleaving an Airbnbgolfingand 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.

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Comments

I don't believe these stories. I think they are hoaxes, set ups to get racism proved by examples. Who was fired for this nonsense?? Nobody.

Posted by: willis forster | Aug 6, 2018 1:27:02 PM

While there are people who do stunts for attention, unfortunately I can believe them quite easily. I see this kind of crap directed toward people of color all the time. This is normal. The only thing that is different is they are actually getting the microphone and talking about it now. We are not-post racial. Never have been. And it’s never going to get addressed until people see that this type of behavior happens all the time.

Posted by: LM | Aug 7, 2018 6:46:17 AM

What Walter Williams said a generation ago: mistaken identity can be unpleasant. It's not the stuff of national news.

Posted by: Art Deco | Aug 7, 2018 10:24:42 AM