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The handcuffing of a Black realtor and prospective homebuyer show the danger of existing while Black  

First there was driving while black. Then there was living while black. Now there’s house-hunting while black.

 

Last week in a Michigan suburb, a Black realtor was showing a house to a Black man and his 15-year-old son when they looked outside and saw police officers surrounding the property with their guns drawn.

 

“I knew once they surrounded the home they were preparing for a standoff,” the father, Roy Thorne, told CNN. “And so my instincts told me we need to get out of here, we need to get to where they can see that we’re not a threat.”

 

The men and the boy were all ordered out of the house with their hands up, because a neighbor dialed 9-1-1 and told police that a suspect arrested at the house a week before had returned. You know, because burglars always come back with their kids.

 

Okay, maybe I’m just saying that because I’m angry, and as a father I feel for that brother who was trying to buy a house in a neighborhood where he thought his son would be safe. A neighborhood with better schools, cleaner streets, and better services.

 

But in neighborhoods like that, you’re always suspect when you’re Black, even if you’ve saved for a down payment, double-checked your credit, and contacted a realtor to give you a tour of the place where you hope to raise your son.

 

The realtor, Eric Brown, was giving that tour to Mr. Thorne and his son when police ordered them out of the house, placed them in cuffs, and questioned them before realizing their mistake and apologizing.

 

But it could’ve ended much differently. All because a neighbor saw Black men and assumed the worst. Black people should be able to move freely in this country. It should not be a crime to simply exist while Black.

Photo: Blue lights By. Dizzy Girl

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