Saturday, June 23, 2018

Black Doctor Prevented From Entering Her Own Neighborhood

I've written before about how one of the most persistent elements of American anti-Black racism is the idea that some non-Blacks have that a given Black person doesn't belong in a certain space and can or must be challenged. Racists of various nationalities or ethnicities often can't believe that anyone Black can legitimately own or enjoy nice things. These challenges can range from anything from hard stares, special charges, and slow service at an upscale restaurant to extra demands for id when writing a check or using a credit card, to mistaking a co-worker for a criminal or janitor all the way up to profane insults and physical attacks by the police or others. This all goes back to slavery and formalized Jim Crow. This suspicion of and contempt for Black people is passed down from generation to generation and even to people descended from groups that arrived in America after slavery or Jim Crow, who of course often have their own independent tradition of anti-Black animosity.

During slavery Black mobility was severely limited and had to be literally signed off on by a white of sufficient authority to grant it. Blacks, free or otherwise, who were caught in the wrong areas without some sort of pass could run into some serious trouble. This attitude has never really gone away. Most Black people can tell a story in which this racialised hostility is revealed either in a minor or major way. The other day it was a Black doctor's turn.

ATLANTA — A Black doctor is upset at a man who she says racially profiled her when he blocked her from entering the community that she has lived in for about eight years. A part of the nearly 30-minute exchange was captured on camera. A police report indicates that Nnenna Aguocha stated she was attempting to enter the Buckhead Townhome community after just coming off an overnight shift when another property owner stopped her at the gate entrance. 

She said he parked his car under the gate arm and refused to move forward to let her in, despite her repeated requests. "He got out of the car and threatened to call the police on me because I was trespassing," she said in the video recording taken at the scene. "This is racial profiling at its finest."

11Alive reached out to Atlanta Police about the incident. They said officers responded to the address for two separate calls related to the dispute. "He called the police, so I called the police as well," she said. Aguocha told police he would not let her in due to the fact he didn't believe that she lived there. He accused her of tailgating his car to try to get in.  In the video, Aguocha can be seen walking up to his SUV upset about the incident.

"Are you serious?" she said. "Do you know what you are doing? You are racially profiling."
11Alive's Natisha Lance spoke to Aguocha Wednesday about the June 18 incident. She said she was infuriated and recorded the video because she didn't think anyone would believe her if she said someone used their car to block her from [SIC] getting home.  

"I absolutely think it was racially motivated," Aguocha explained. "When this altercation was going on, what went through my mind was this guy could do absolutely anything to me. He could shoot me dead on the spot because he was trying to protect the neighborhood and the property and people would make up stories later."

While fortunately no Black person was shot, arrested, or assaulted this time, this is still an excellent example of the tax that racism extorts from people just for having black skin. Repeated exposure to this sort of aggression raises your blood pressure. It puts you in a fight or flight response. And if you're not able to do either I would expect that you would, as many black people do, eventually start to suffer from hypertension. You will all else equal, have a lower quality of life because of your fellow citizens' bigotry.

It's also important to point out that, contradictory to some conservative claims, income or wealth doesn't provide a strong shield against this stuff. As an experienced radiologist presumably Dr. Aguocha earns much more than the median $250K. That didn't matter. All the man saw was the color of her skin.
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