In America, it’s consistently been proven that just the mere sight of black people propels other races, specifically white people, to somehow feel so threatened for their lives that they immediately call the police on us for simply existing. That’s exactly what happened to a black Yale grad student who was sleeping and found herself being questioned by police upon waking up.
As reported by CNN, black Yale graduate student Lolade Siyonbola fell asleep inside the common area of her dorm residence when police were called on her by Sarah Braasch, a white student—for no apparent reason at all other than her skin color. As the news of this latest unjust form of racial profiling spread through social media, it caused outrage as many viewed the accompanying video of the ridiculous encounter that warranted no police involvement at all.
In what is becoming an all-too familiar episode, a black Yale University graduate student was interrogated by campus police officers early Tuesday after a white student found her sleeping in a common room of their dorm and called police. According to Siyonbola, she was working on a paper in the Hall of Graduate Studies when she fell asleep in a common room. Another female student, [identified as Sarah Braasch] came in, turned on the lights and told her, “You’re not supposed to be sleeping here. I’m going to call the police.”
Siyonbola pulled out her phone and recorded 54 seconds of a hallway encounter with the unidentified student, who told her, “I have every right to call the police. You cannot sleep in that room.” After two white police officers arrived and began questioning her in a stairwell, Siyonbola posted 17 minutes of their encounter to Facebook Live. When Siyonbola asked them about the complaint, one officer said, “She called us (and) said there’s somebody who appeared they weren’t … where they were supposed to be.” The 34-year-old grad student in African studies unlocked her dorm-room door in front of police to show that she lived there, but they still asked for her ID. “We’re in a Yale building and we need to make sure that you belong here,” the other officer told her.
After some hesitation, Siyonbola handed her ID over. “I really don’t know if there’s a justification for you actually being in the building,” she told the officers, saying she needed to get back to working on her paper. Eventually two more officers arrived. After some confusion about Siyonbola’s ID — her name did not match the name in a student database — the police told her she was free to go. Yale spokeswoman Karen Peart said the issue was that the name on Siyonbola’s ID card was her preferred name, so it did not exactly match her name in university records. The officers in the dorm admonished the student who called police, saying Siyonbola had every right to be present, according to Kimberly Goff-Crews, Yale’s vice president for Student Life.
We’re barely five months into 2018 and there have already been a host of high-profile instances of racial discrimination against black people. Two of the most outrageous incidents were the black men who were arrested at a Starbucks in Philadelphia after a manager called 911 on them after two minutes because they didn’t order anything and most recently the three black women who were detained while leaving their California Airbnb after a neighbor called police, thinking they were burglars.
Apparently, “existing while black” is now a thing because it’s constantly being shown to us that we’re not allowed to go through this country and live our lives like everyone else who happens to lack melanin.
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