Birmingham’s WVTM reported that customer Brian Spurlock both had his receipt and was well within the store’s 90-day return police when he brought the goods he wished to return to the Hobby Lobby location in Trussville. Nevertheless, the store’s manager would not let him return the most expensive of the items that Spurlock said was defective because it had already been opened.
Spurlock is black, making this another example of white folks using the police as a means of oppression.
Or maybe they’d pull this same trick on a white woman returning a defective product, right after she rode in on her pet unicorn.
See: police called by white manager of a Starbucks coffee shop on two black men waiting for a friend and arrest them; police called when three back people checked out of an AirBnB rental; or police called by white woman on a black grad student napping in her dorm common area at Yale, because, I guess, what would a black woman be doing sleeping in a Yale dorm? Living? Going to school there?
The thirteenth amendment to the Constitution of the United States states:
Section 1. Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.
“Except as a punishment for crime …”
And you thought slavery was illegal in the United States. Both Northern and Southern states, through their enactment of the infamous “black codes,” have used the cops and courts as means of keeping black and brown people in check ever since the Union gave up on Reconstruction. Today’s mass incarceration of black and brown folks far more than their proportion to the total population is but a continuation of the practice begun immediately following the Civil War.
America has a long and varied history of knocking down the black man. Slave labor began with the landing of kidnapped black Africans in 1619 (399 years under the white thumb), but the Federal codification of white claims on black bodies began in earnest with the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850. With that legislation officially sanctioning the right of whites to claim custody of black bodies without evidence of their slaveholding “ownership,” the United States moved to use it and the states’ law enforcement and judicial systems to keep the black man and woman in thrall. By law, a white man could point out any free black man or woman anywhere in the United States and claim them as his property on only his word.
How is Brian Spurlock’s near-arrest, and the arrest of other black and brown people across the US on trumped-up grounds anything but the descendant of these codes and laws? Each instance of false charges and incarceration is further evidence that for many, the American Dream is a nightmare, while for others of a lighter skin tone it is no more than a collective hallucination.
All men are created equal, but not equal before the law in the minds of many.
… that they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
The highest law of the land there, folks, written by a man who owned humans. There will come a reckoning for these crimes against humanity. We should be addressing inequity in all its forms now, rather than electing bigoted clowns to our high offices to keep white right.