DETROIT – After an African-American woman was fatally shot in Detroit for knocking on a white person’s door to seek assistance for a broken down car, the NAACP has reported that its list of Things That Won’t Get a Black Person Shot is down to seven.
At their Baltimore headquarters, President Benjamin Todd Jealous told NAACP staffers to take “seeking automotive help” off of the big board and put it in the Things That White People Can Shoot You For list. “It’s a real shame,” said Jealous, as he watched the Activities Safe For Black People list dwindle to “feeding pigeons, yoga, caddy, suffering from agoraphobia, brushing one’s teeth, humming a tune, and diversity quota filler.”
“As economic disparity continues to plague the African-American community, they are more likely to have substandard cars in need of repair. But if someone can get blasted in the head with a shotgun for knocking on a door looking for a phone to call a tow truck, I guess we have to play it safe.”
This has been an eventful year for The List. With George Zimmerman being acquitted of manslaughter, and a spate of shootings in inner cities, wearing a hoodie in the rain and living in Chicago were crossed off The List this summer.
The complete scope of activities and behaviors that cannot be used to justify the murder of an African-American is now down into the single digits for the first time since before the Civil Rights Era – a development that Jealous says puts some of the other hardships faced by his community into perspective. “I can’t believe I’m about to say these words, but Stop & Frisk doesn’t look so bad right now,” said Jealous.
Among the activities already listed as potentially dangerous for African-Americans in 2013: being in the wrong neighborhood, waiting for a friend in public, shopping for nice clothes, committing a crime, having someone think you might be committing a crime, and having someone think you might be thinking about committing a crime. While some community leaders have advocated for tighter law enforcements in African-Americans neighborhoods, the NAACP says it feels obliged to instruct its members to approach police with extreme caution.
“We’ve already had to take ‘Flagging Down a Cop’ off the list after a North Carolina man was killed by police for trying to get them to respond to a car crash,” said Jealous. “If you really do need a cop, approach them slowly, with your hands visible at all times. And for God’s sake no sudden movements.”
Noted author and activist Cornell West says that the dwindling of the list underscores an important truth about the African-American experience in the 21st Century. “Basically, being Black in America fuc*ing sucks,” he said. “But take heart – at least we don’t have it as bad as the Muslims.”
“Sorry, Nation of Islam,” he added.