Because America needs to know what criminal behavior looks like, and who is perpetrating the violence. And it does not matter who Mr. Cooper is (handsome), where he comes from, or how he came to be in the Rambles (bird watching). This story is about Amy Cooper, who didn’t like being told the area’s leash laws, and who disliked even more, the color of the skin beholden to the man telling her to leash her dog. In New York City. In 2020. Which is just breathtaking.
I have lived in New York City since 2006. I am an avid Central Park walker (only got lost once on record, which my family will not let me live down); and I am a frequent dog walker. I walk other people’s dogs, so off leash is out of the question, and I don’t personally support off leash because, well, people are crazy. Case in point, Amy Cooper. If I was in the park on this morning, I would have been heckling Amy Cooper, like I have of many socially inept dog owners on so many occasions. Which is all really just to say, that this case is very personal to me. And right now America really needs to know what violence, and what hatred on the basis of skin color looks like. She looks like Amy Cooper. She is white. And no matter how dapper or dull Mr. Cooper was on May 25, 2020- it just don’t matter. It will never matter. Because his skin was black. That was all Amy Cooper needed to know. Amy Cooper’s skin is white. Which is all we need to know to rewrite the narrative of our existence together.
If we as a species who chooses to hovel together under the framework of a civilized society, have any shot at healing, the very first thing we have to do is admit that there is a problem among us. And there is a HUGE problem among us. Because being black is not a crime. It should be a blessing, each one of us a marvel of nature.
But on this day, Amy Cooper disregarded leash laws, she disregarded the human reiterating the leash laws. She threatened his penal livelihood by threatening to call the cops. She then called the cops. And while she is on the phone with emergency personnel, she doesn’t say to them: I wanted to keep my dog off leash in the Rambles and some dude told me not to and tried to feed my dog treats. She fakes an attack, specifies that it is being perpetrated by an African American man, all while choking out her dog. That right there is violence. That right there is racism. The actions that she took were criminal, they were unnecessary, and most of all they were dangerous. And the “apology” that came out afterwards was even more scathing. You should fire your publicist immediately.
Skin, is what keeps our organs intact. Skin tone, is how much melanin our skin produces to protect us from the sun. A criminal is someone who commits a crime, something that occurs when a law is violated. Skin tone alone does not, has not, will not ever make someone a criminal. Their actions do. Just look at Amy Cooper.