Social media may be "ruining society" according to a lot of people's grandparents. But it's also a pretty helpful tool for spotting racists and publicly shaming them. Incidentally, a lot of those racists are also people's grandparents... kinda makes you think, hmmm?

Recently, two elderly white ladies were spotted in a Burger King in Central Florida being racist towards a man who they overheard speaking Spanish. That man turned out to be the manager.

Some nearby customers were filming the incident and posted the video online where it's gone viral. "Go back to Mexico," says one of the women. "If you want to keep speaking Spanish, go back to your Mexican country." She then continues: "this is America. Our main language is English. ... Speak your Mexican at home."

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There have been dozens of stories that have gone viral over the past few years about black people being harassed for going about their everyday lives.

There was the black family who had the cops called on them for having a barbecue, the little girl who was harassed for selling bottled water on the street, and recently the metro worker who's job was threatened for eating on the train.

Now, American Airlines has apologized for humiliating a black doctor for wearing vacation attire on a flight home from Jamaica.

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In an era where everyone has been deputized with a smartphone, people are beginning to realize how people of color are often harassed for doing things white people take for granted.

Over the past two years, people of color have had people call law enforcement on them for:

Barbecuing in Oakland, California.
Eating on the train.
Picking up trash.
Golfing too slowly.
Napping in a university common room.
Selling bottled water.
Swimming in a pool.

This type of harassment is not just unnecessary, it means that people of color have to live in constant fear of being harassed by the state. The harassment could lead to being unnecessarily incarcerated or murdered.

"It's not just an inconvenience when a police officer stops me," Oregon state Senator Lew Frederick told The Associated Press. "When a police officer stops me, I wonder whether I'm going to live for the rest of the day."

On June 3, the Oregon state Senate decided to help stop this unnecessary harassment by passing a law that would make it a crime to have the police contact someone without reasonable concern of suspected criminal activity.

If the bill is signed into law by Oregon governor Kate Brown, victims could sue for up to $250 if they can prove law enforcement was called due to racist intent.

One of the bill's co-sponsors, Representative Janelle Bynum, an African-American woman, has a personal connection to the law. Last July, a woman called the cops on her as she was knocking on doors to canvass for reelection.

"The real issue is about increasing public safety," Bynum said according to The Huffington Post. "People of color just want to live freely, and that's an assertion that we need to continue making."


Photo by Cacophony / Wikimedia Commons

The bill was passed with a near-unanimous vote, but Republican Senator Alan Olsen voted against it saying it would make "our communities less safe" by deterring people from calling law enforcement.

The bill was inspired by an op-ed that appeared in The Oregonian written by attorney Erious Johnson, Jr.

While it is catching the nation's attention, this upsetting phenomenon is not new. Racism, entitlement, and privilege rely on the government sanctioned power to enforce one's opinion of superiority over another. This sentiment formed the basis for slavery, which was solidified by the fugitive slave provisions in the United States Constitution. Then, Black Codes and Jim Crow accompanied newly freed slaves into emancipation. And in 1857, United States Supreme Court Chief Justice Roger B. Taney, ruled that African Americans "had no rights which the white man was bound to respect."
People subjected to these shocking encounters are left humiliated. They are uncertain of their ability to live in peace in their own communities. They have no redress to recoup their time, money, or dignity.
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Writer slash mom Mathangi Subramanian recently witnessed some playground discrimination. Even more disturbing than the words that were thrown around by the children is the fact that their parents turned a blind eye to it.

“Still processing this, but two days ago, two blonde girls at the playground told my daughter she couldn't play with them because she doesn't have blonde hair,” Subramanian explained in a multi-tweet post. “The girls' parents did not intervene. You better believe I did.”

Her message to the children was blunt and to the point, yet totally reasonable. She didn’t attempt to “school them,” but carefully explained that excluding others is never cool. “I told the blonde kids at the playground that they can't exclude people,” she continued. “I did it calmly and politely, while their parents watched.” Um, yeah. They just watched. And said nothing.

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