Indiana Daily Student

Black Voices: Unlearning anti-Blackness in our communities is a necessity

<p>From left, Ryan Coogler, Danai Gurira, Michael B. Jordan, and Lupita Nyong&#x27;o arrive at the 76th Annual Golden Globes on Jan. 6, 2019, at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills, California. </p>

From left, Ryan Coogler, Danai Gurira, Michael B. Jordan, and Lupita Nyong'o arrive at the 76th Annual Golden Globes on Jan. 6, 2019, at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills, California.

Last week, police body camera footage and a 911 call were released in relation to “Black Panther” director Ryan Coogler being wrongfully detained. Earlier in January, Coogler had been falsely accused of being a bank robber by a Black bank teller. 

Coogler was attempting to make a withdrawal of more than $10,000 from his bank account, according to CNN. On the back of his withdrawal slip, he wrote a note stating he wanted the money to be counted discreetly. The teller thought Coogler looked suspicious and proceeded to call 911 because she thought he was robbing the bank. 

His detainment for simply trying to withdraw money from his account shows how anti-Blackness is so ingrained in our society that even people within our communities become perpetrators of it. 

Why wouldn’t someone attempt to verify a person’s identity before making a call to the police, which could endanger their life?

There is always the question of whether this would have happened to a non-Black person who was attempting to discreetly withdraw money out of their account. The answer: it would most likely never happen. 

Black people are not given the benefit of doubt when they are accused of a crime or even in normal conflict. This wasn’t the case when Coogler was arrested. 

In the police bodycam footage obtained by NBC News, Coogler said “I was pulling money out my own account. I put my own bank card in there before the lady went in the back.” 

The teller never attempted to verify Coogler’s identification before she made the 911 call.

Coogler did nothing wrong but had to suffer consequences anyway. A Black person being surrounded by police with their guns out is a very traumatic experience, even when they are aware they did nothing wrong. 

While Coogler was not injured during the incident, he very well could have been. There have been incidents where Black people have been perceived as suspects of a crime and ended up harassed, assaulted or killed by police officers. Elijah McClain is an example. 

McClain was deemed suspicious because of a mask that covered his face while he was cold, resulting in someone calling the police on him. When they arrived, they used brute force against McClain which resulted in his death.

Incidents such as these are all too familiar to those within the Black community. So for someone who is a part of the community to put another Black person in a life-threatening position is extremely disappointing to see. 

Ryan Coogler never should have had the police called on him, especially by another Black person.

The safety of all Black people starts within the community. This will allow Black people to feel comfortable and safe in everyday spaces in and out of the community.

Every Black individual must unlearn and understand anti-Blackness. Black people need to understand the way they participate in anti-Blackness and perpetuate it.

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