This past summer, cops responded to 911 calls about people of color cooling off at the pool, delivering newspapers, and simply selling water. A black state lawmaker even became the subject of a call for allegedly being “suspicious” while canvassing. But now it looks like yet another mundane activity has been added to the already depressingly long list of reasons scared white people may exert their privilege by alerting law enforcement: babysitting while black.
Corey Lewis, 27, who runs a youth mentorship program in Marietta, Georgia, was babysitting two siblings, ten-year-old Addison Parker and her brother, 6-year-old Nicholas, on Sunday—when he says a white woman came up to them in the parking lot after they stopped for a bite to eat, CBS 46 reports. According to Lewis, she apparently said "something's weird here" and asked if the children were OK.
“I was taken aback and responded, 'Why wouldn't they be?'" Lewis said in an interview with Buzzfeed News. "She told me 'it looked weird,' and I was like, 'They're fine.'”
Lewis said that the woman then circled the parking lot and returned to his car, apparently still unconvinced he was the kids' babysitter. She then allegedly came back up to the car and asked to speak with the ten-year-old to ask her if she actually knew who Lewis was.
"And I said no and she got upset and threatened to take down my license plate and call the cops,” Lewis continued. “I said OK and she drove off."
But as the three left the parking lot for a gas station across the street, the woman reportedly followed them. Lewis decided then to film the ordeal—a typical reaction in situations like these—on Facebook Live.
"It's crazy,” Lewis said during his stream. “It's 2018 and this is what I have to deal with. I can't go out with two kids who don't look like me without it being weird."
The woman apparently continued to follow Lewis’s car as he drove toward the children’s home, so he decided instead to head for his own house. He continued to film as the woman trailed him all the way to his own street “and then kind of stopped near the cul-de-sac,” he explained. Moments later the police arrived and began questioning him and the kids before calling their parents, David Parker and Dana Mango—an entire altercation Lewis captured on Facebook Live.
“I said are you saying that because there’s an African American male driving my two white kids, that he was stopped and pulled over and questioned and he said ‘I’m sorry ma’am that’s exactly what I’m saying,’” Mango told CBS 46.
Mango and David Parker told the New York Times that they felt "horrible" about the whole thing. Parker also apparently had some choice thoughts on the woman's common sense.
"I don’t think you have to watch too many Law & Order episodes to realize kidnappers don’t usually wear fluorescent green shirts," he said.
According to NBC, cops aren't releasing the identity of the woman who called, and it's still unclear why she thought calling the cops was a reasonable reaction to seeing two kids with their babysitter. Lewis told Buzzfeed he'd like to find out who she is to understand why the woman thought the kids were in some kind of pressing danger, but that ultimately the experience brings more awareness to "an issue that we need to keep talking about."
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