‘Existing While Black’ sheds light on racial profiling and discrimination

Upset Black Man

HUFFINGTON POST — HuffPost asked black readers to share their stories of being subjected to racial profiling and discrimination. They described moments when someone called the police on them for no apparent reason aside from their race. They recalled scenarios of cops stopping and searching them because their skin color made them look “suspicious.” They also said how maddening it is to live with the constant anxiety of possibly having their presence — and innocence — questioned.

Existing While Black is a small collection of real anecdotes that underscores the unjust policing of black bodies, according to readers. Due to how deeply racism is woven into society’s DNA, this list is by no means comprehensive. HuffPost will continue to update this list and highlight the constant burden we face. This issue deserves more attention than a few headlines in the news cycle.

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Judge rules Cullman County, Alabama’s bail system illegally discriminates against the poor

Explaining to judge

ACLU – Today, people who were jailed simply because they could not afford bail in Cullman County, Alabama, won a significant victory when a federal court judge ruled that the practice of jailing those who cannot pay is unconstitutional.

The judge entered a preliminary injunction order that prohibits Cullman County from continuing to discriminate against the poor through its bail system.

As the Court explained, “Cullman County’s discriminatory bail practices deprive indigent criminal defendants in Cullman County of equal protection of the law” and its justifications for using a bail schedule are “illusory and conspicuously arbitrary.”

The lawsuit was brought by the Southern Poverty Law Center, Civil Rights Corps, the American Civil Liberties Union and the American Civil Liberties Union of Alabama on behalf of Bradley Hester, who was held on a $1,000 bond he could not afford.

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Black families are denied victim compensation more often than white families

Handing over a check

REVEAL NEWS – Every state has a crime victim compensation fund to reimburse people for the financial wallop that can come with being a victim.

Florida is one of seven states that bar people with a criminal record from receiving victim compensation.

The laws are meant to keep limited funds from going to people who are deemed undeserving. But the rules have had a broader effect: An analysis of records in two of those states — Florida and Ohio — shows that the bans fall hardest on black victims and their families.

Administrators of the funds do not set out to discriminate. They must follow state law directing who can receive compensation. But critics call the imbalance a little-known consequence of a criminal justice system that is not race-blind.

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Starbucks isn’t the first chain to come under fire in recent racially charged incidents

Applebee's

CNN reports that even though federal law outlaws discrimination in public restaurants and cafes, there are still incidents in which black customers wait longer to be served, are asked to pay before a meal or sometimes subjected to arrest. In response to the unnecessary arrests of two Black men who visited a Starbucks location in Philadelphia, the company will close its almost 8,000 company-owned stores in the United States for the afternoon on May 29 to teach employees about racial bias. However, Starbucks is just one of the many restaurant chains that have faced accusations of racial discrimination recently. Read the full article from CNN.

Black Tesla worker files lawsuit over racial harassment

A black employee at electric car manufacturer Tesla has filed a lawsuit alleging harassment by fellow assembly workers at the California plant. DeWitt Lambert says his co-workers routinely taunted him with racial slurs and threats of violence. Lambert also says he was passed over for promotions because of his race. Daniel Wiessner of Reuters has details on the lawsuit in this story at Automotive News.