Oh, when Karens take a walk with their dogs off leash in the famous Bramble in NY’s Central Park, where it is clearly posted on signs that dogs MUST be leashed at all times, and someone like my brother (an avid birder) politely asks her to put her dog on the leash. pic.twitter.com/3YnzuATsDm— Melody Cooper (@melodyMcooper) May 25, 2020
In most situations, a white woman has race and gender privilege over a Black man because white women are historically, the ultimate damsel in distress. No woman of any other color receives the protection that white women do. White men have uplifted white women as the epitome of femininity.
No other man is as irrationally feared as a Black man. They have been cast as uncontrollable, angry beasts, almost like the Hulk. So before there is any exchange, Amy Cooper has all the social privileges in her favor.
She knows she has the upper hand because she threatens Christian Cooper with his race before she ever calls the cops. She specifically says she’ll tell them he’s African American. So in her mind this is a bad thing, and in reality, she knows it will increase the sense of danger.
Listen to how she transforms from being aggressive with Mr. Cooper (getting in his face, demanding, and using and angry tone) to pretending to be afraid on the call (pretending to cry and switching to a high-pitched, panicky tone). The same way Black people code switch to put white people at ease vs. using our own vernacular at home, racist white women switch between showing the aggression and entitlement they truly feel and pretending to be afraid in order to gain sympathy from onlookers or help from the police.
We see this in almost every “Karen” video. The woman is aggressive and angry towards a Black man or woman and then turns on the tears and fake fear for the cops. This is proof that they know what they are doing, feel entitled to have their way, and have no regard for the life of the person they are endangering.
She issued a non-apology after the video went viral, denying that she’s a racist and claiming to be afraid, both of which are belied by her behavior on video. If you have any doubts, this is not an apology. When you are sincere, you say you are sorry and name what you did. You name who you harmed, you say what you do differently going forward, and you follow through.
She and her victim share a last name, so I doubt she forgot his name was Mr. Cooper. And after she uses African American as a pejorative in the video, I'm not feeling very accepting of her using it again to apologize.
She then casts herself as the victim. She’s sorry she got caught and doesn’t understand how the harm she meant for Mr. Cooper has boomeranged on her. Twitter is laughing at her talking about the Ramble like it's some gang turf. It's a bird sanctuary!
Christian Cooper’s calm and grounded demeanor is part of what allowed that boomerang. He refused to engage in the argument, so everything that she put out into the Universe came back to her.
By focusing on Christian Cooper's Harvard degree and his status as a board member with the Audubon Society, we risk creating a "perfect victim" as if he was worthy of defending due to his status. In reality, it should not matter what Mr. Cooper's educational, family, criminal, sexual status is.
Amy Cooper was wrong for having her dog off the leash. He was in the right to ask her to leash her dog. She committed a crime, wasting city resources and knowingly and purposefully endangering a man's life based on his color. She lied. So while it's great that Mr. Cooper is educated and a birder and has connections, that's not the point. I hope people don't go down the rabbit hole of thinking he's justified BECAUSE he's educated and a "good" Black man. That denies his humanity as much as thinking that he's guilty of wrongdoing just because he's Black.
This was such a blatant case of racism, it's laughable how badly the media got this wrong, especially CNN. Nowhere do we see the two argue. We see her argue, but CNN frames this like both of them exhibit bad behavior. After a serious Twitter backlash, they change the headline on the website.NPR does a better job with the headline about Amy Cooper being placed on administrative leave.
On Twitter, too many white people disregarded the danger she brought to Mr. Cooper and focused on the dog. And while the dog's safety is important, the bigger issue is Ms. Cooper's racism and the way she purposefully wielded it to harm a stranger. Black Twitter saw the distraction coming.
I do question how accident prone her dog seemed, according to her Instagram profile – falling into a pond and nearly drowning, getting a nail ripped out during a walk, being attacked by other dogs, choking during a walk and needing CPR. She even got a second trend hashtag, #munchausen.
Amy Cooper was immediately placed on administrative leave following the release of the video. And she was fired as I was working on this post.
I'm happy that Franklin Templeton took a stand and stated that she was fired for racism. I'd like for them to review her accounts. How many people of color were wrongfully denied loans or other services because she knew her decisions wouldn’t be questioned by the company? How many employees were denied promotions or other services that would have helped their careers? How many people did she harm before someone filmed her behavior and it went viral? What made her comfortable to behave this way while in their employ?
Amy Cooper's dog is back with the shelter where she got him. I don't know if that's temporary or permanent. She's closed all her social media accounts. I hope she has a support network that can help her shift her victim mentality so she can truly understand that her racism caused this and that it's a small price to pay compared to what she tried to do to Mr. Cooper.
This was a lot to cover for a less than 2 minute interaction, but it's important because it could have ended in death.
Earlier today, another Black man, George Floyd, died at the calloused hands of a white police officer who put his knee on the man's neck for 10 minutes while he was handcuffed. A grocery store called the cops because they thought he was writing a bad check, and now he's dead because Black lives don't really matter to police. Three officers stood and watched while the main officer choked this man to death. I haven't watched the video. I don't need to. I know he's dead.
Surprisingly, all four cops have been fired already. I hope they are brought up on charges and convicted. It's all on video. What white person is killed for suspicion of writing a bad check?
This is why we need to talk openly. Lives depend on it. This is why I teach the courses I do in the way that I do. If anything I share saves a life, it's worth it.
If any of this speaks to you, please leave a comment and look for my upcoming intensive on being more anti racist. The first one was amazing and I'm looking forward to doing another one next month!