Two years ago, a white woman went viral after a video was uploaded to the Internet showing her calling the cops on a few black folks for simply having a barbecue. Just a month or so later, another white lady made the headlines when she threatened to call the police on an 8-year-old black girl for selling water without a permit. Racism in the US hasn’t changed.
Eventually, these racist episodes inspired LA-based artist Obi Arisukwu to create a satirical comic. “This comic strip may be the only comic I’ve made that dealt with racism,” Obi told UpNow Media.
“It was ridiculous how many more [similar] videos popped up of white people calling the cops on black people for doing harmless things like entering a neighborhood pool or operating a kid’s lemonade stand on the sidewalk.”
According to the artist, the worst part about these videos is that they both showed how some white people viewed black folks as unworthy of occupying the same space as them and that the same white people were willing to weaponize the police as their personal bodyguards to make their point. Sadly, recent events are proving that the strip is still relevant.
“The reason I said nothing has changed is because of the recent video with Amy Cooper, the white woman who called the police on Christian Cooper, the black man, who was bird watching,” Obi explained. Arisukwu is referring to a verbal dispute in Central Park that might have gone unnoticed as the city — just like the rest of the world — has been preoccupied with the coronavirus pandemic.
However, birdwatcher Christian Cooper pulled out his phone and captured Amy Cooper calling the cops to report she was being threatened by ‘an African-American man’. He then posted the recording on Facebook and his sister shared it on Twitter, sparking a discussion on racism.
Sadly, it’s still relevant
Because of these very recent events
Here’s the video
So, here are the facts: both Amy Cooper and Christian Cooper (no relation) were in Central Park’s Ramble, a wooded area, on Monday morning. Christian was bird-watching and Amy was walking her dog.
The New York City Parks Department requires that dogs have to be leashed in the Ramble, since the plants and wildlife in the area are cultivated and maintained for the public to enjoy. This means that Amy Cooper was violating that rule by letting her dog roam around off-leash (she later told CNN she knew it was against the rules).
Christian Cooper asked her to leash her dog (he said he did it calmly but according to Amy, Christian was yelling at her). As their conflict escalated, Christian started recording it, and you can hear who is yelling and who is being calm and polite. It’s Amy being the unreasonable one.
Amy later explained that she was alone in a wooded area when Christian came out of the bushes, and it freaked her out. She refused to leash the dog and according to Christian’s account on Facebook, he told her, “Look, if you’re going to do what you want, I’m going to do what I want but you’re not going to like it.”
“I didn’t know what that meant. When you’re alone in a wooded area, that’s absolutely terrifying, right?” Amy told CNN. Christian then called out to the dog and offered it dog treats. According to him, this is an effective strategy to get dog owners to leash their dogs.
Amy then stated that what Christian Cooper said had been a polite request turned into a conflict. As some reporters pointed out, that’s quite strange for someone who is scared for her life. In return, Christian started recording, and the rest is history.
It got the lady fired and she lost her dog, too
Police said that by the time they responded, both of them were gone.
In the fallout, investment firm Franklin Templeton quickly announced it had fired Amy Cooper, saying, “We do not tolerate racism of any kind.”
A group called Abandoned Angels Cocker Spaniel Rescue said it had custody of her dog for the time being. The pet could be heard coughing in the video after she clenched it by the collar with its front legs off the ground.
“One would think that after the original Permit Patty video and the many other viral videos that came after, these white people who tend to call the cops on harmless black people would’ve learned by now on why that’s not a good idea,” Arisukwu said. “As a black man, it angers me. As a logical human being, it’s downright perplexing.”
However, the artist is happy — and most importantly relieved — that Christian Cooper was able to walk away with his life. “Too many of my brothers and sisters have been wrongfully murdered due to racism. The most recent names of those we’ve lost are Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and George Floyd.”
“We need justice,” Arisukwu added. “We need change.”