Warning To POC: The Jim Crow Laws Of The North

Starbucks and Jim Crow

***Warning To People Of Color***

Stumbled on a NYT opinion piece that discussed the selective enforcement of Quality of Life Laws. Laws created to arrest POC in public places, such as Starbucks or even one’s backyard. They are called the new Jim Crow laws of the North. However, these laws were always in the book and selectively enforced in the North.

The difference between the North and the South is a matter of nuanced versus overt racism.

Am I paranoid when I express concern about being profiled and followed by a cop while driving the back roads to my home? How about the dagger stares from white women I received while eating dinner?

First time in years, I felt the utter hate of white people. White women were attempting to intimidate me with their hateful stares. The chef even got in on the hatred. I ordered a rare prime rib, my friend a medium rare. His was medium rare, mine overcooked and dry looked like leftovers. When I pointed out the prime rib was not rare the chef claimed my prime rib came from the end part as if that was my problem.

I caution people of color to be careful around white people. They have laws that can be used to imprison selectively and even murder black people. Not all whites are dangerous, but please exercise caution as you cannot tell the good ones from the bad ones based on looks.

Last month in Philadelphia, a white Starbucks manager summoned police officers to confront a pair of African-American men after one asked to use the restroom before he had purchased a drink. About two weeks later, at Lake Merritt Park in Oakland, Calif., a white woman called police to report a black family that was grilling food for a picnic.

In both instances, the victims were accused of violating laws or rules governing conduct in commercial establishments and public spaces. In the first case, it was for trespassing or loitering. In the second, it was for using a charcoal grill outside of the designated areas.

“Quality of life” laws serve as a potent instrument of racial segregation. They provide commercial establishments, law enforcement officers and everyday citizens with tools enabling them to police racial boundaries while at the same time claiming to simply be upholding the law.

In contrast to the Jim Crow laws of America’s dark past, these laws supposedly apply to everyone. But in practice, they clearly don’t. Like most middle-aged white people, I have spent countless hours in Starbucks without buying anything. Plenty of white people have barbecued, blasted music and drunk alcohol at that same Oakland park, without anyone calling the police.


Take public beaches. In the South, white officials literally drew color lines in the sands and the waters off shore. In the “racially liberal” Northeast, towns devised elaborate, and ostensibly colorblind, procedures for determining who could access public shores, and what they could bring and do once inside, and then proceeded to enforce them for black and brown people only.

In the 1930s, Long Branch, N.J., passed an ordinance requiring all residents to apply for a pass that would allow access to only one of the town’s four public beaches. Town officials claimed the rule was meant to prevent overcrowding. Without exception, though, black applicants were assigned to the same beach and were denied entry to the others.

Full story at  The North’s Jim Crow

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StarBucks and Jim Crow Laws
StarBucks and Jim Crow Laws

Author: Angela Grant

Angela Grant is a medical doctor. For 22 years, she practiced emergency medicine and internal medicine. She studied for one year at Harvard T. H Chan School Of Public Health. She writes about culture, race, and health.

27 thoughts on “Warning To POC: The Jim Crow Laws Of The North

  1. Hidden racism and hypocrisy are everywhere, and will stay with “us” for a very long time to come.

    So, to at least try to shorten its foul existence and to make the life of its practitioners a living hell, “we” must expose it whenever and wherever it raises its ugly head from the sewers, is looking down from penthouses, or shows itself from whatever place it chose to reside.

    1. How can a black person expose racism? Anytime we do, you whites claim it’s in our mind. I guess you whites like to gaslight us black people. If when we expose it you dismiss it, I gather racism is necessary for white survival.

      1. “How can a black person expose racism?” Well….um……..by exposing it, eh?

        “you whites”? Ay mi madre, here we go again.

        “If when we expose it you dismiss it” “we”? Yeah right. “you”? I did?

        Btw, would you believe there are people dismissing a lot of what I bring to the table, and that it only motivates me to bring even more to the table? Lots of fun. I mean for me, eh? As for them? Guessssss………

        1. Believe you me the response in my eyes was not one of fear or anger but amusement. Should I mention the restaurant to expose their racist clientele?

    2. Seriously, if those women thought calling the cops would get me arrested they would have tried, just for entertainment. That’s evil, isn’t it?

            1. Cut the the crap, you know what I mean. It’s frustrating for black people to be publicly singled out and denigrated then dismissed when they seek to expose the injustice.

              Me? I could give a shit what people think of me as long as I get what want. And when I desire something I am extremely persistent.

            2. I singled myself out because I can take of myself and wanted to share a personal experience of nuanced bigotry. Every white person I shared the story with gave me a dozen other explanations besides plain old prejudice.
              If I can’t convince friends that I experienced discrimination, then there is a massive problem as I can be very convincing.

              Thought you could offer code words or a narrative that would resonate with white people allowing them to listen and believe that racism is alive and healthy among them.

            3. “code words”? Fuck that. I tell them straight to their face.

              “…… believe that racism is alive and healthy among them.” A lot of them do. No need to convince them. As for the rest? Like I said many times already: “Once a racist, always a racist.”

  2. Hi Angela, if your perception is correct at the restaurant, then this is very sad and rather alarming. I wasn’t there, so cannot confirm if it wasn’t simply something else, such as jealous women and a surly cook.

    As you know I am White and British. Sometimes I get the evil eye from fellow White Britons, so it’s not always racial. There are lots of unpleasant people. Approximately 5% have a personality disorder and another five per cent have some form of psychosis. That’s a lot of people (1 in ten of a crowd). So you will come across hostility.

    As I say, I’m not Black American, I’ve not even visited the USA, so I have no valid experience of this matter. If, however, that you are correct, then it is about time Whites realise they are not Native American and so have to take their place alongside PoC who also were not from those lands. In other words, equal citizens.

    On a positive note, get showing off that ebony body on the “White beaches” and get the pale-coloured men looking at your body and not at their women.

    1. I’m also one who’s indifferently thrown into the Whitee’s basket by the owner of this blog. But if she would have met me, for instance, the time I still was a regular at Lago di Garda, she would have thought: “Hey, is that not Black Jesus?”

    2. Hi Pete, it’s possible there was jealous since I look 20 years younger than my age, very attractive and my smile can light a room. However, this was different for me to take note and share the experience.

      How can black people expose being targeted by whites when they are not believed? I’m a credible person yet you have doubts that those looks were racist and not jealousy.

      I’m working with a good trainer to get that body in shape. 🙂

  3. That’s certainly a relatable article. The North isn’t more racist than the South, they’re just more covert about it. I’ve been profiled at stores and restaurants in some parts of my home state. Shoot, I’ve been called racial slurs before while still North of the Mason-Dixon line. When I was in the South, I remember one time in Jacksonville, FL where someone asked me if I was an American citizen, and I know he wouldn’t have asked me if my skin was a few shades lighter and he certainly didn’t ask my Caucasian friend right next to me that same question when it happened. It’s such a shame no one believes people like us when we get discriminated or they assume that we’re over-analyzing things. That reaction of not believing me whenever I talk about racism only proves my point that the majority doesn’t want to deal with these uncomfortable truths since those situations would never happen to them.

    1. Curtis that is the unadulterated truth. They don’t believe us or minimize its impact. Let something a quarter as painful happen to them and it’s front page news about the traumatizing effects.

      1. Sure thing. That’s a great say to put it about “front page news”. It also plays into this false victim mentality when those who have really suffered worse don’t get as much attention.

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