It’s hard to ignore that gun violence and racial profiling seem to be reoccurring themes in American history. Just last week, a parent called the police on two Native American students who were simply touring a college campus. Nevertheless, this wasn’t the only incident of alleged racial profiling against people of color on a college campus just this month: Sources claimed that black students were “manhandled” off the stage at University of Florida’s graduation ceremony.
Now, a white woman called the cops on a black student for simply napping in the dorm common area, according to Yale Daily News.
Yale Daily News reports that Lolade Siyonbola, a graduate student at Yale University, had her REM interrupted by the police after a fellow student called the police on her.
According to Siyonbola’s Facebook post, a fellow student, Sarah Braasch (who is a PhD student), called the cops on her for falling asleep in the HGS common room. However, Siyonbola claims that Braasch also called the police on another student, who was simply lost in the same building just last month.
Blavity notes that Siyonbola extended her right to record the on-duty police officers. In the recording, which was uploaded to Facebook, Siyonbola says, “I deserve to be here. I paid tuition like everybody else. I am not going to justify my existence here. It’s not even a conversation.” Seriously, it’s beyond ridiculous that a student (i.e. Siyonbola) would have to verify their status at the university just to take a nap in their dormitory.
According to Think Progress, the officers told Siyonbola, “This is private property, and we are police officers here, so we are allowed to do our job,” the supervisor tells her. “We determine who’s allowed to be here and who’s not allowed to be here, regardless of whether you feel that you are allowed to be here or not. OK?” After which, the officers asked to see Siyonbola’s ID. (Honestly, it’s terrifying to realize that despite paying tuition and utilizing an on-campus building, the police still claim to be decide who can access the building.)
As Siyonbola’s story continues to gain traction on social media platform, the Twitterverse rallied behind Siyonbola. One Twitter user, Tariq Nasheed, even did some extensive research on the student who called the cops on Siyonbola.
“This is Lolade Siyonbola- a Black student at Yale who had the police called on her by a suspected white supremacist student named Sarah Braasch, for taking a nap in the Common area. There should be malicious prosecution charges filed against Braasch & other SWS like her,” Nasheed tweeted.
While Braasch has yet to confirm if she is a white supremacist, it’s important to recognize that calling the police on a person of color for existing, sitting, or napping in a particular space is racially biased. Full stop.
Though Siyonbola’s story might seem like an isolated incident of prejudice, it isn’t. Seeing as a white woman called the cops on a black family simply for hosting a barbeque (and, according to Raw Story, the same woman allegedly cried and claimed she was the “victim of harassment”). People from privileged backgrounds should be more mindful about how their implicit bias rules over their actions —and how they might police marginalized folks in the process.