Black Teen With White Parents Mistaken For Burglar, Assaulted By Cops In His Own Home

‘Put your hands on the door, I was like, ‘For what? This is my house.’ Police pointed at photos of white people hanging on the wall and told him that he was lying.

A North Carolina teen was recently assaulted and pepper sprayed by police in his own home, after he was mistaken for a burglar.  18-year-old DeShawn Currie has been living with foster parents Ricky and Stacy Tyler in Wake County, North Carolina for about a year.

The Tylers love DeShawn as their own son and they have taken him into their home, in hopes to provide him the safe and loving environment that he needs to thrive in the most important years of his life.

Unfortunately, some of the Tyler’s neighbors were not familiar with the family dynamics of the home, and decided to call the police to report a burglary when they saw the young man entering his home after school one day.  DeShawn did not climb through a window or struggle to get inside, but simply walked through the unlocked door of the home.  The only thing that actually made his neighbors suspicious, was the color of his skin.

When police arrived on the scene they treated DeShawn like a criminal without asking any questions.

“They was like, ‘Put your hands on the door, I was like, ‘For what? This is my house.’ I was like, ‘Why are y’all in here?” DeShawn said in an interview.

When DeShawn asked the officers why they were in his home, they pointed at photos of white people hanging on the wall and told him that he was lying.

“I’m feeling comfortable, I had moved into my room, and I’m feeling like I’m loved. And then when they come in and they just profile me and say that I’m not who I am. And that I do not stay here because there was white kids on the wall, that really made me mad,” DeShawn later told reporters.

During the entire altercation, police were shouting profanity at the young man, and pointing multiple guns at his face.  When DeShawn stood firm and insisted that he was in fact in his own home, police attacked him with pepper spray.

When Stacy Tyler came home from work she saw her son DeShawn in the driveway being treated by paramedics for the injuries that police had inflicted.

“My 5-year-old last night, she looked at me and said, ‘Mama I don’t understand why they hated our brother, and they had to come in and hurt him,” Stay Tyler told reporters.

“Everything that we’ve worked so hard for in the past years was stripped away yesterday in just a matter of moments,” father Ricky Tyler added.

The police department has defended their actions, saying that that DeShawn did not obey the officer’s orders to the letter, despite the fact that they were intruders in his home and had no right to be there barking orders at him.

Reaction to Barneys Arrests, Racism and Classism Collide

This week 19 year old Trayon Christian filed a discrimination lawsuit against the retail giant Barneys. Christian, who is Black, claimed undercover cops working inside Barneys followed him into the streets and accused him of credit card fraud after purchasing a $349 Ferragamo belt.

So when reports of another hideous display of racial profiling by Barneys surfaced, the frustration and resentment amplified. Here was, Kayla Phillips, a black woman, being accused of credit card fraud after purchasing a $2,500 designer bag.

“There were three men and a woman,” she recalled. “Two of them attacked me and pushed me against a wall, and the other two appeared in front of me, blocking the turnstile.”

In the wake of these incidents, the most vicious attacks were not directed at the high end retail store. Many instead chose to attack the victims of Barneys racial profiling for spending their money on expensive items. Their purchases were unjustifiable for some due to them being Black and working class.

Read the rest on Black Culture

What were your reactions to Barneys racial profiling? Have you noticed anyone’s negative reactions to it?

Everything You Need To Know About Cultural Appropriation

Cultural appropriation is a term you’ve been hearing a lot lately thanks to the internet. Whether you’ve heard about it on Tumblr or Rookie Mag or any other site, you’ve probably been left with a little understanding and a little confusion. Or a ton of confusion and no understanding. Listen, we get it, it’s a difficult topic, especially since we live in a world in which diversity and exposing ourselves to different cultures is encouraged. But sometimes even the most well-meaning attempts to show appreciation for a culture that isn’t your own can backfire…badly.

Whether you know absolutely nothing about cultural appropriation or you’re schooling people about it left and right, here’s everything you need to know about cultural appropriation. Before you go to that costume party, make sure you read this first.

illustration by Sarah Wintner

We know what we’re taught in mainstream media and in schools is made up. What’s the Wampanoag version of what happened?

Yeah, it was made up. It was Abraham Lincoln who used the theme of Pilgrims and Indians eating happily together. He was trying to calm things down during the Civil War when people were divided. It was like a nice unity story.

So it was a political thing?

Yes, it was public relations. It’s kind of genius, in a way, to get people to sit down and eat dinner together. Families were divided during the Civil War.

So what really happened?

We made a treaty. The leader of our nation at the time—Yellow Feather Oasmeequin [Massasoit] made a treaty with (John) Carver [the first governor of the colony]. They elected an official while they were still on the boat. They had their charter. They were still under the jurisdiction of the king [of England]—at least that’s what they told us. So they couldn’t make a treaty for a boatload of people so they made a treaty between two nations—England and the Wampanoag Nation.

What did the treaty say?

It basically said we’d let them be there and we would protect them against any enemies and they would protect us from any of ours. [The 2011 Native American copy coin commemorates the 1621 treaty between the Wampanoag tribe and the Pilgrims of Plymouth colony.] It was basically an I’ll watch your back, you watch mine’ agreement. Later on we collaborated on jurisdictions and creating a system so that we could live together.

What’s the Mashpee version of the 1621 meal?

You’ve probably heard the story of how Squanto assisted in their planting of corn? So this was their first successful harvest and they were celebrating that harvest and planning a day of their own thanksgiving. And it’s kind of like what some of the Arab nations do when they celebrate by shooting guns in the air. So this is what was going on over there at Plymouth. They were shooting guns and canons as a celebration, which alerted us because we didn’t know who they were shooting at. So Massasoit gathered up some 90 warriors and showed up at Plymouth prepared to engage, if that was what was happening, if they were taking any of our people. They didn’t know. It was a fact-finding mission.

When they arrived it was explained through a translator that they were celebrating the harvest, so we decided to stay and make sure that was true, because we’d seen in the other landings—[Captain John] Smith, even the Vikings had been here—so we wanted to make sure so we decided to camp nearby for a few days. During those few days, the men went out to hunt and gather food—deer, ducks, geese, and fish. There are 90 men here and at the time I think there are only 23 survivors of that boat, the Mayflower, so you can imagine the fear. You have armed Natives who are camping nearby. They [the colonists] were always vulnerable to the new land, new creatures, even the trees—there were no such trees in England at that time. People forget they had just landed here and this coastline looked very different from what it looks like now. And their culture—new foods, they were afraid to eat a lot of things. So they were very vulnerable and we did protect them, not just support them, we protected them. You can see throughout their journals that they were always nervous and, unfortunately, when they were nervous they were very aggressive.

So the Pilgrims didn’t invite the Wampanoags to sit down and eat turkey and drink some beer?

[laughs] Ah, no. Well, let’s put it this way. People did eat together [but not in what is portrayed as “the first Thanksgiving]. It was our homeland and our territory and we walked all through their villages all the time. The differences in how they behaved, how they ate, how they prepared things was a lot for both cultures to work with each other. But in those days, it was sort of like today when you go out on a boat in the open sea and you see another boat and everyone is waving and very friendly—it’s because they’re vulnerable and need to rely on each other if something happens. In those days, the English really needed to rely on us and, yes, they were polite as best they could be, but they regarded us as savages nonetheless.


Read more at http://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/2012/11/23/what-really-happened-first-thanksgiving-wampanoag-side-tale-and-whats-done-today-145807

I could tell you that I don’t want to be burdened by the expectation that I should be a (never quite) Good (enough) Mother. That I don’t want to be defined by my relationship to my child, perpetually obligated to all-encompassing, self-denying nurture and devotion. As best as I can tell from professional feminists supposedly in the know, this seems to be the Proper Feminist thing to do.

I could tell you that. It wouldn’t be entirely true.

I am a dark-skinned Black mother, relatively young, raising my daughter in predominantly white spaces. I’m not infrequently mistaken for a high school student, despite being thirty. Most days I look the part of the harried graduate student I once was, rocking a jeans and t-shirt look with the occasional oversized sweatshirt. I have long abandoned my half-hearted attempts to conform to the wardrobe expected of women of my age and class.

I know how this looks to many people.

I could never be the Good Mother; I knew this long before I had a child. Had I not, the experience of parenting my daughter under the appraising eye of whiteness would quickly have disabused me of any illusions that I could be one. From the pediatrician’s office, to the grocery store, to the streets I call my own, it is not the myth of the Good Mother, but that of the Bad Black Mother, that renders my motherhood at turns invisible and suspect.

i guess tumblr kind of made me realize how racism feels. it upsets me whenever i see posts with thousands of notes about how awful white people are, and it makes me even more upset to think that someone would think less of me for being an “average white American”. i thought the point of fighting for equality was to enforce equality. i’ll probably never truly understand the struggles of someone threatened by racism, but it doesn’t make discrimination any easier for me, either.