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Articles

‘Babysitting While Black’ And How Government Empowers Racism

Published in Issues .

A woman called 911 on a black babysitter only to learn that her instincts had failed her.

Corey Lewis, 27, a black man, was inside his vehicle outside a Walmart in Georgia while caring for two white kids on Friday, when a white woman grabbed her phone and called 911.

“Hi there, I’m in the Walmart parking lot at Barrett Parkway and I just got my nails done and I see this black gentleman with these two little white kids and so I just had a funny feeling,” the woman told the dispatcher.

According to her own account, she actually tried to talk to one of the children to verify whether they knew the man.

“And I said, ‘Are these kids OK? Do you know these kids?’ And he goes, `Why wouldn’t I?’ and I said, `I wouldn’t know,’” the woman said. “Let me see the little girl and he said, `No.’ Let me see the girl and just see that she knows you.”

She then remained on the line with 911, following Lewis to a gas station, where officers eventually talked to him and learned the children were under his care.

During her call, she often expressed some guilt over her decision.

“It could be nothing but I’m not sure and I figured, let me call up,” she said. “And again, if I didn’t do this, I’d be up all night.”

While she would have been hailed a hero if the incident turned out differently, but only if it was obvious the children were in danger, what is most glaring in this case, aside from the fact that yes, she did single Lewis out because of the color of his skin, is how easy it is to refer to the state for any given matter.

And while, perhaps, she may have decided not to call the police had the girl confirmed he was her nanny, the fact is that we’ve seen many similar cases involving racist people calling the police on black people going about their business recently.

Could it be that state-backed law enforcement perverts callers’ incentives, making it easy for bigots to hassle others?

‘Free’ Policing Enables Racists, Busybodies

As Mises Institute’s Ryan McMaken explained, Americans have a tendency to call on the police for every situation, no matter how minor the problem at hand is. As a result, most calls to the police don’t involve any criminal activity.

But why exactly do people resort to government-sanctioned policing so quickly? Well, because they don’t have to pay for it.

If the caller doesn’t feel he has a financial obligation in the matter, McMaken explains, then calling the police on a black, male nanny who was not putting children in any harm becomes a low-cost means to harass a random stranger.

If racists are overusing these “free” services, then perhaps, it’s time we start talking about putting an end to subsidized policing.


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