Sometimes, We Focus on the Wrong Shit – Daniele Watts

On September 11th, Daniele Watts, an American actress, and her boyfriend, celebrity Chef Brian Lucas, were approached by police officers in relation to a phone call they received suggesting the couple was engaged in lewd acts on a public street. Daniele Watts refused to show identification when the police officers requested it. She said it was her right not to. The situation very quickly escalated to her playing the race card and ending up in handcuffs in the backseat of a police car. Public support came swiftly. She’s a black woman dating a white man and they were targeted because of their race. We’ve been there, we understand! We got you girl! But that was then and this is now.

Now that all the details are out, our support for Daniele has faded away. Initially, we thought that this was another representation of the racial profiling that most of us experience on a consistent basis and we were going to use this event to prove it to the entire world. But it turns out Daniele wasn’t the victim we thought she was. She wasn’t the type of victim we had hoped she would be. With the release of the audio of the encounter, we see that the police officers began speaking calmly and Daniele did not. It appears that the police officers were professional as they requested her identification. Maybe even kind. As the real story progressed around the country, we also learned that Daniele and her boyfriend weren’t simply kissing each other as they suggested. Instead, photos showed that Daniele was actually straddling her boyfriend in a full blown makeout session. And finally, we heard her being a brat. She title-dropped her father that happens to be a lawyer and used her publicist as a threat. So now, we’re no longer supportive. Now, we’ve turned our backs on her and her claims. Damn, it happened again. We got played! We were hoping for an INNOCENT victim. One that is pure, one that we can put on a pedestal and finally say “Here!” to the oppressors. “Look at this sinless Black person, that has done nothing wrong and she was STILL targeted.” But nope, Daniele is not pure, she is not perfect. Her behavior justified their behavior. And we go back to waiting, very patiently, for the return of Christ.

My people, once again, we focusin on the wrong shit. A Black woman, that had not committed a crime, ended up in handcuffs in the back seat of a police car! We need to ignore the distractions and focus on how that happens. We need to focus on THAT shit.

Are we fool enough to think that if Daniele was a white woman the police would have been called? See, the phone call is very important because that, according to the police officer, is what gave them ‘probable cause.’ If residents, business owners and people on the street had seen a white man and a white woman making out in a car, not a single, damn person would have called the police and reported a crime in progress. Maybe an old man walking his dog would have shouted ‘Get a room!’ and a hormone-driven teenage boy would have posted it on Vine for all his friends to giggle at. That’s all. Or, maybe, what if someone WOULD have called the police? When the police officers set out to investigate a potential crime, upon arrival they witness a white man sitting alone on a bench (as Daniele’s boyfriend was). Nearby is a white woman, leaning on a tree, speaking into a cellphone (as Daniele was). Now, what do we think would have happened next? Absolutely nothing. They would have slowed the car, glanced around, recognized there was no crime being committed and kept it pushin. But no, it wasn’t a sinless white woman. It was Daniele Watts, a black woman. And finally, what would have happened if a white woman refused to hand over her ID when asked as Daniele was? NOT.SHIT. Before even assuming what her response would have been, we would first have to conquer the impossible dream of even beginning to consider the ridiculous possibility that if Daniele Watts was a white woman the phone call would have been made, the police officers would have gotten out of the car, and they would invoke ‘probable cause’ as the reason for asking for identification. NONE OF THAT SHIT WOULD HAVE HAPPENED. Period.

Yes, Daniele was being a brat. Yes, she sounded entitled. Yes, she assumed that the threat of contacting her publicist would make the officers back off. Yes, she could have just handed over her ID, although legally she doesn’t have to. And yes, she ended up in tears, just minutes after talkin tough. However, none of those things lead to her being in handcuffs in the backseat of a police car. It was only one thing that led to her being there. Just one. Again, sometimes we focus on the wrong shit.

Eric Garner refused to be handcuffed because he had done nothing wrong and was fed up with being harassed. John Crawford was murdered by police officers working with ‘probable cause’ due to a liar that made a phone call. In Ferguson, the Chief of Police released a video showing Michael Brown behaving badly mere minutes before he was gunned down in the street, just as the Studio City police released audio of Daniele’s catty behavior one day after she unjustly landed in handcuffs in the backseat of a police car, although she had not actually committed a crime. And we fell for it. The distraction worked. She wasn’t the perfect victim. It must have been something she did. So we moved on.

My people, there is only one reason why Daniele Watts, a black woman that had not committed a crime, ended up in handcuffs in the backseat of a police car, without actually being under arrest. Only one reason. Just one. Very often, we focus on the wrong shit.

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