White Privilege Used to Fight Racially Charged Harassment at Lake Merritt

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Authored by Joy Elán

Oakland, Cali – On a sunny Sunday morning at Lake Merritt, a couple of people wanted to have a get-together and enjoy the scenery. However, that pleasure was interrupted when a woman decided to show up at their spot and call the police.

It does not take much to figure out what color they were and what color she was. The guys are respected members of the community, and they were having a joyous moment. They had their spot, and no one seemed bothered except this woman. She took it upon herself to call the police. It was discovered that she had been at the scene for two hours pretending to be on the phone with the police to intimidate them.

According to one of the men targeted, Kenzie Smith, the White lady was bothering him and his friend, Deacon for BBQing at Lake Merritt in a designated BBQ zone.

“I got out of the car at Cleveland Cascade stairs, and when I walked across the street, she was standing there on the phone. She said, ‘Oh great, another nigger.’

Smith looked around because he didn’t know who she was talking to. He was the only Black person in that area of the sidewalk. He walked over to his friend Deacon, where he had the BBQ, and said “Yo bro, what’s going on?”

He told Smith she had called the police for BBQing. “We both started cracking up, laughing,” Smith said.

According to Smith, it was around this time a young Black lady was standing over to the corner. She approached the table where the BBQ was being set up and introduced herself. She said she had witnessed the situation. By this time, the White lady walked over to the table, and she slammed her fist on the table and said: “There’s no BBQ today, you need to leave.”

“She was saying things like, ‘We weren’t welcome in the area of the lake.’ She told me and Deacon that she owned Lake Merritt. Also, she said we were not welcomed to be there. I felt like she was saying Blacks weren’t welcome,” Smith said.

Smith said, “She kept saying we were going to jail. She said that she was going to file a complaint for us cooking BBQ in the park. She said she knows her rights, that the rights state if she tells the police if she has a problem with us then we are going to go to jail.”

This one experience is not anything new to Black Oakland residents who want to chill on the east side of Lake Merritt (the Lakeshore Avenue side). Lake Merritt is a public park, which does not require a permit. It is first to come, first serve, as long as people are not doing anything illegal.

Davey D talked about this extensively on Facebook and was mentioned in the East Bay Express in May 2015, “Even when ‘permitted events’ took place, hostile residents living by the Lake organized and tried to shut them down if it was too many Black folks. Case in point last 4th of July, several thousand dollars was laid out to have an annual 4th of July party and picnic. Unbeknownst to organizers, a group of residents in the luxury high rise 1200 Lakeshore held a series of meetings including one with Park and Rec to get the event canceled.. What saved the day were Black residents who live there who pushed back…”

Cases like this go back to the Festival at the Lake, a long time Oakland event and tradition that shut down when White residents near the lake complained about the festival drawing the “wrong kind of crowd.” Occurrences like these are when privilege shows up and manipulates laws to their advantage. It is okay to have a picnic, but not a BBQ. Same thing, different choice of words and demographics.

Smith said, “I was like, so if you tell the police that two Black men are BBQing, that means we’re going to jail. I just didn’t understand the logic in the situation. And then it was like, she would continuously say little things to us, and she would act like she was on the phone talking to the police. She would say things like ‘Yea he’s wearing this,” or she would say, ‘Yea he won’t look at me officer because he thinks he’s going to jail.’ Or she would say, ‘Yea, he’s going to be somebody’s bitch in there.’ It was mind-boggling the things she was saying.”

Smith said, “It was like if someone was to put you in a box and say all the hurtful things to you at one time. That’s how it felt.”

Smith’s story continues as he mentioned his friend Deacon who was first at the scene had already been harassed by the woman for a while before Smith arrived. Deacon told Smith he did not know the woman, that she just came out of nowhere, called the police and kept telling him he had to leave.

According to Smith, when the young Black lady showed up (mentioned earlier), she was walking around the lake and heard what the lady was saying, heard it was racist. So she stopped to see what was going on, she asked Deacon if everything was okay. She started filming and put the much of the incident up on her facebook. Unfortunately, we were not able to get her contact information before she left.

The young woman asked the White lady to please move herself from the area. The White woman turned it back on her and told her to “mind her fucking business. This is my property. You don’t even know what’s going on.” The White woman became more aggressive towards the young Black woman. “It just was weird it was like, I think she wanted a reaction today. And she didn’t get the reaction she was looking for,” Smith said.

Smith had enough of the encounter with the White woman, for an hour he had dealt with her harassment. He decided to call his wife who was up the streets telling his friend Deacon, “You’ll see what she does. Just watch.”

Kenzie’s wife, Michelle Dione showed up around 12:50 pm. Dione, walked up to the White woman ready to film as she had already been sent a picture of the lady and knew what she looked like.

Dione is a White woman and what was cool about this was she was using her privilege to stop it. Dione knew her rights, and she was not harassing the woman.

“There’s this silent code of behavior that White women know, they are taught if you just change your tone you can often be deemed ‘innocent’ and believable to the point that your word becomes law. When I first approached her, she had that tone, the one that we are supposed to speak to police officers, the one that makes us automatically justified no matter what. I don’t think she expected me to bypass her bs and call her out,”  Dione said.

The woman stole a business card out of Dione’s hand, which started the second longer video Dione recorded. Dione said the woman tried to use her “victim voice” and used a lot of trigger words to get the police to be there faster, such as “they are are threatening me” when it was just Dione who was confronting her in her face.

The White woman who was harassing wanted to make sure that the men and women at the park were held responsible for her authority as a White woman. However, the woman did not like that someone was watching her and following her. She got a taste of her own nasty, racist medicine. All she had to do was mind her business and stay away from the area.  

After the lady ran away to a Quik Stop on Brooklyn and Newton, the police arrived and talked to her. The officer told Dione that she did not do anything wrong following her as long as she did not touch her. Dione informed the police that the woman should have called the Park services and not the police. The police agreed. As Smith noticed that she appeared to be mentally unstable, the police said that she wanted to evaluate her mental health too.

All this was taking place within 30 minutes, and despite the police showing up, the lady returned later at 4:15 pm according to Smith. The White woman harassed them again and said they weren’t supposed to be there, they were supposed to move. Smith told her that the Oakland police officer said to them that they did not have to move, and that the charcoal code was not enforced.

See video of Dione confronting the White woman here.

 

 

92 thoughts on “White Privilege Used to Fight Racially Charged Harassment at Lake Merritt

    • As a minimum, she should be billed for the 911 call, the vehicle and the uniforms on the spot – She held up valuable resources which could have been needed elsewhere.

      Liked by 5 people

      • I nearly died laughing at the beginning when she explained that charcoal bar-b-qs are dangerous and waste park resources, when she’d been calling the police for 2 full hours to report the emergency beautiful day at the lake.

        Like

    • i agree. these white people (i am shamefully one) are attempting murder because they KNOW cops shoot black people first and mayba ask questions later.

      Liked by 2 people

      • This entire article is based on racial profiling, and the assumption that all black people are up to no good, and the need to change that perception among some people. Yet you’re saying “these white people (i am shamefully one)”? I am not “ashamed” to be white just because some white people are racists, no more than blacks should be ashamed because some black people are criminals. Your pandering is revolting.

        Like

      • Yeah we’re ashamed your white to.
        I think that broad was a total ass but the only racism I was hearing was from you and the BBQers them for referring to her constantly as a white woman and you because you think it’s shameful to be white.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I agree and thank you for acknowledging that. And i know it’s hard but don’t feel ashamed for the actions of others, just continue to be different and stand out. I understand though because i find myself embarrassed all the time by other so called blacks but the reality is, you can only control your actions not others. Peace be unto you

        Liked by 1 person

      • Don’t be ashamed of being white. Just be a good person and treat people equally like the woman behind the camera, Michelle. Nobody should be ashamed of their ethnicity no matter what it is.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Why are you ashamed of being white?

        The only thing you need to be ashamed of as a white person is if you don’t use that privilege to protect and stand up for those who are unjustly harassed like these gentlemen were.

        If you don’t do that when you find yourself around that sort of injustice, then *that* is what you should be ashamed of, not the color of your skin that you were born with and had no control over.

        Like

      • I’m white and I cannot believe the entitlement of this woman. Harrassing people who are just having a nice little bbq? The single greatest thing you can do on a warm day near a lake?
        Unbelievable, my blood is boiling from rage. I’m glad I wasn’t at the scene.

        I’m in full support of the guys with the charcoal grill and I hope they never stop, despite what some entitled mentally unstable fucking assholes think or say to them.

        Also, the white woman is definitely a racist. You can almost smell it. How she speaks, moves, never removes her fucking shades. Even how she looks.

        Like

    • After he read all the comments and watching the video it could be that the lady who was making all the fuss weather or not barbecuing was supposed to be with charcoal, my feeling is that maybe she was mentally unstable. Someone who is on the phone for two hours and has hassles with another woman and and begins to cry at the end of this situation, not really explain her the other woman, there’s a lot in her actions, i feel umaybe she just wasn’t all there and has her own issues. I’m just grateful that the guys were cool and that nothing did happen and I do agree people of color especially African-Americans get a raw deal and really does hurt to see all these issues because they don’t deserve that kind of treatment.

      Like

      • if she was crazy it was the job of trained professionals on the phone and in the police force to realize that and not participate in her madness. When racist and mentally unstable white people call the cops on POC they are relying on society’s racism to work in their favor. Racism means judging others based on race and people of all races can be racists, including those who claim all white people are racists just because of our skin color. I am willing to shoulder my responsibility in this system as a white person and be the change I want to see in the world; that includes listening and learning, rejecting preferential treatment and looking at the merits of people’s cases, not their color.

        Liked by 1 person

      • She wasn’t mentally unstable. She was acting like a person who just got publicly humiliated and owned in every way she deserved and when she spoke with the officer she decided to use the emotion she was stubbornly trying to hide earlier because she thought it would help her narrative. So she let it all out cuz you could kinda tell she wanted to cry throughout that whole video. She may or may not have an identifiable mental condition but that needs to remain irrelevant in how we respond to the behavoir. The behavior is reprehensible no matter who it is or what their reason. No one gets a pass. No one. That’s not to say no one is beyond redemption. This lady seems sad and I hope that her nationwide humiliation allows her to grow. But she won’t if we let her off the hook. So I hope right now she feels as dumb as she looks.

        Like

      • Okay, I’m a white guy. I used to live around the Oaktown/Beserkley border. My first thought seeing this was what the hell is that nutcase chick doing there? That isn’t New Hampshire,it’s the East Bay. I always dug Oakland, goin to the Caribe n playón dominós, tryin to get to see Too Short, A’s games, Dead shows,good food etc etc etc. I always knew where I was. Is that lady blind and stupid? How the hell can she live in the East Bay and be a racist? She’s gotta get on down road for everyone’s sake.

        Like

      • She probably is mental. But how are people bar-b-queing supposed to protect themselves from being harassed by someone who has a mental disorder? Her crazy actions are not ultimately going to harm her, but innocent people. When crazy people wander into traffic or do other things that don’t make sense and might pose harm to the public, they get moved along or even taken into custody, for everybody’s sake.

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      • Attempted murder is a bit hyperbolic, I’ll admit. But she was definitely counting on the police taking her side and – at the very least – breaking up their barbecue. If some people got arrested in the process, she could care less. As long as she got what she wanted, she wasn’t concerned about their well-being which, given how certainly interactions with police have tragically ended, could have resulted in something worse. But, yeah, attempted murder is pretty exaggerated.

        Like

    • She shouldn’t have been charged with murder, that’s a bit excessive. I wonder what would have happened if the guys offered her a burger or a hot dog?

      Like

      • I don’t know where you got the information that she was “charged with murder” but no one was charged with anything because a crime wasn’t committed.

        Like

    • I understand what you’re saying! I watched “Dear White People” that showed it you call the cops and there are people of color, the cops will focus on them and are very quick to pull out a gun. So if the cops had approached the gentlemen barbecuing and things got out of control and one of them was shot, should the white woman be prosecuted for murder because she wrongfully accused the men of wrongful barbecuing?

      Like

  1. Can we get an update on the card situation? Watched the whole 25 minutes to not know if the police made her return the card or not! Inquiring minds want to know 😂😂😂😂😂

    Liked by 5 people

    • Please provide an update to this……..I also watched the whole video, and really wanted to see the cop say “just give her the card”. And then it all be over.

      Liked by 3 people

      • We will try to write an update later. The card was taken away from the woman by the police officer, so she does not have the mans information. She wanted to use the information to continue harassing him beyond the park.

        Liked by 2 people

    • Michelle said the police took the card from the woman and did not give it back. Michelle watched her the entire time and she was unable to take a picture of it. The gentlemen (who’s info was on the card) has received no harassing phone calls so far.

      Liked by 2 people

    • We will write an update soon, gathering more information. The police have the card, they took it from her so she could not use it to continue harassing the man.

      Like

      • Why did the police keep the card? Do they usually keep something they’ve decided the person has no business having or do they return it to the owner? Please, white people, tell me.

        Like

    • Come on, really? If you were have a family gathering are YOU gonna invite random people that you don’t socialize with? People that you had not planned for and therefore possibly not have enough food? Stop trying to be politically correct.

      Liked by 1 person

      • What would be so wrong about sharing a meal in a social situation with some people you have never met?
        Are you really such an insecure little bitch that you can’t open your mind to the possibility?
        You are what is killing this country. You are why this kind of shit continues to happen. Go the fuck back to Europe. lol

        Like

  2. IF someone steal something out of your hand, business card or whatever, you have the right to beat the junk out of them and get it back. That’s exactly what you should’ve been done instead of telling her to give it back.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Thank you, even though it was/is your man, THANK YOU!!! I have witnessed much less… Keep your phone fully charged… This climate we’er living in is not going to get better anytime soon… Blessings

    Liked by 3 people

  4. Thank you Michelle and anyone who stood up to this bigot. Kenzie and Deacon are far better men and people than we deserve. What we do, have done and continue to do in this country to people of color turns my stomach. Every white person should not only be putting ourselves between people of color and harassment but atoning for what we have done and continue to allow to go on. Fight for what is right, fight for the good in people and protect them.

    Liked by 3 people

  5. That woman was crazy. Period. White people as a whole DO NOT act that way. Did she give the card back because she better have or my white ass would beat her myself. I am so sorry this happened, this is not a reflection on the my people and the people I know. It makes me horrified and angry and I am so sorry she berated you on a nice family gathering… unforgivable. AND then she wanted to act scared, God have mercy if I run into that woman. PS: I hope you had nice time after the trash left. One love!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Seems to me people are missing an important point. That woman is mentally challenged in some way. I mean she is not right in the head, there is something wrong with her. To be so fixated, so intense for a period of over two hours over something so very trivial. Then to break down emotionally like that, she has head problems. She needs loads of therapy, possibly at an in-patient facility. Now I am wondering if she is off her medication? Whatever race may or may not have played in this thing, I see this far less of being a Cracker problem and much more a Quacker problem. The lady is a quack, and Mental Health Care in America is in a shambles. A real tragedy. What were those people grilling anyway? Burgers? Hotdogs? Chicken? Suddenly I’m getting hungry …..

    Liked by 1 person

    • You are one of the only voices of reason I could find. This lady obviously has mental problems, and I think it has absolutely nothing to do with race (at least in the video) and everything to do with her possibly being on the autism spectrum. They’re painting her as a super villain when she’s just a quack! Now people are seeking to find her and give her shit based on no evidence. I see crazy ladies like this everyday.

      Through all of this I have wanted to BBQ so bad…

      Like

      • Sorry people on the autism spectrum are generally very gentle souls and certainly do not act like that and AUTISM IS NOT A MENTAL ILLNESS!!!!! Do not put that on my people

        Liked by 1 person

      • How can you call people with autism “quacks”? There is nothing wrong being on the spectrum. People like you with your name calling is what makes it hard for them to try to belong and fit in. Generally, those with autism is so intelligent that they find it hard to relate and socialize. If you know so much about ASD then you wouldn’t be calling them quacks and crazy.

        Liked by 1 person

      • No! She IS NOT on the autism spectrum! Nothing about her behavior indicates autism. I can’t imagine any autistic person caring one iota about some community park rule involving BBQ grills, let alone spending around 2 hours having alleged conversations with police over it, and getting anxious because they haven’t responded yet. Please learn what being on the autism spectrum actually IS! (From someone who actually is on the autism spectrum)

        Like

    • MOST whites are sick. The sickness is called white supremacy/racism. Don’t get on here attempting to normalize or deflect her racist behavior. We’re SICK of that bullshit and it will be REMEMBERED when we SOON overthrow your dominance on this planet. Continue LYING and DEFLECTING and we’ll murder EVERY last one of you when we get on top. Start apologizing and attempting to make amends and we WON’T. Pure and simple.

      Like

    • After watching the second woman’s video, I felt she too was unstable. She was breathlessly repeating herself non-stop, sometimes saying silly things, and just elevating the situation into hysteria.

      I appreciate her stepping in to record the woman, but her escalations were, in my opinion, what really put those picnicking guys in danger. Cops show up and there is screaming, with people inches apart arguing? Guns are likely to be drawn…

      Like

    • I’m not sure why they kept it. As long as she does not have it that is fine with us, she was intent on harassing the man beyond the park with that information.

      Like

  7. Oh stop it! Fucking apologists climbing out of the shrubs.No way in hell can you diagnose someone like that from a 5 minute clip, and I take umbrage with people claiming that any undiagnosed mental health issue gives you a free pass to be a blatant asshole. There’s a shitload of these antebellum era bitches venting their spleens all over the internet, and so far, no one’s slapped the taste out of their mouths that I’ve seen.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. What was up with that card thing? The woman who called the police looked (and was) absolutely horrible for calling the police over what is at worst a possible minor park infraction. (Does she call the police on people who litter? Maybe if they’re black). However, when the reporter/video person harangues her over a business card, which most people hold out with the expectation it will be taken, all it does is give an opportunity for people to sympathize with the otherwise unsympathetic caller. The reporter comes off as trying to create conflict rather than report on one or resolve it. The only people who look good here are the BBQers. Next time, let the person’s actions speak for themselves.

    Like

    • The card had one of the bbq-er’s information and the reporter didn’t want him being harassed at a later time, especially at his place of employment.

      Like

  9. When that asshole started crying the minute the cop got out of the car even HE knew she was faking. If you check out his face you can see the start of a smirk. If I was there I would have bet her $100 that if she took off her glasses there wouldn’t be ONE DAMN TEAR. We all know what fake crying looks like on a little kid and that idiot was fake crying all the way. She wasn’t even very good at it. They have no BBQ zones but what they really need is a no CRAZY zone.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hahaha! Exactly. Did y’all notice how quickly she stopped crying when she had to explain the so-called “violations” using a map to the copper?! Like 50 seconds prior to that, she can’t breathe from all that sorrow and victimization and then all of a sudden, she goes “Let me tell you Officer who the Law has been violated in my WHITE presence” Pshh.. She’s not crazy. She plain old RACIST. Truly crazy don’t have the time and sense to steal a business card to plot another harassment on this very same person. Straight up RACIAL and no if, buts or ands about it.

      Liked by 2 people

  10. Oh come on, sure that woman was racist, but I think her behavior is more in line with mental illness than anything else. She’s clearly mentally unstable IMO.

    Like

  11. Yeah Marina we’re ashamed your white to.
    I think that broad was wacked and a total ass but the only racism I was hearing was from you and the BBQers them for referring to her constantly as a white woman and you because you think it’s shameful to be white

    Like

  12. OK, she may be mentally unstable or autistic or whatever, but that’s still no excuse for racism and being a harassing bitch.

    Stop making excuses for these people

    Liked by 1 person

    • Why do people keep thinking she’s autistic? Nothing about her behavior indicates autism. I can’t imagine any autistic person caring one iota about some community park rule involving BBQ grills, let alone spending around 2 hours having alleged conversations with police over it, and getting anxious because they haven’t responded yet. Please learn what being on the autism spectrum actually IS!

      Like

  13. I’m a white woman. I found this situation to be appalling. I’m not giving her a pass for being white. Unless she is out on the street or in the park, calling the cops everyday for white people littering, this IS racism and given the climate we live in, as far as I can see, for a white woman to call the cops on African American’s it can mean jail and even death if it is a trigger happy cop. So she does NOT get a pass from me for needing mental health care. She can be both a racist and mentally unwell. That doesn’t excuse it.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Leave it to a sad, lonely, disenfranchised farce like this woman to infringe upon other people’s rights to have a barbecue on a beautiful day out by Lake Merritt. Isn’t it sad how in the era of Trump, it has enabled racist scum like this one to find a voice in society and then when she doesn’t get her way throw a crying tantrum when police arrive? It’s always the disenfranchised white man or woman who couldn’t make it on their own in society to be the first one to crawl out from under their rocks under MAGA when in point of fact they have contributed nothing to society Look at the statistics on hate crimes and incidents since Donald Dump was put in office according to both the FBI and Southern Poverty Law Center. Let’s also not chalk this up to mental illness either, she was fully cognitive of what she was doing both before and particularly after when the police arrived

    Liked by 1 person

  15. One person makes a “ashamed to be white” joke and an entire comment section on an article of racism divulged itself into “its okay to be white!” A) It was a joke. B) Not what this is all about. Can black people have any space to discuss their issues with out Uncle Rucus chiming in somewhere? Gajo goddamn. You wanna know how to help your black friends? Stop talking about yourself for 5 fucking minutes and listen, and acknowledge that it ain’t about you or your problems. Be a selfless person for once in your life. Innocent people trying to make their lives safer and all ya’ll are doing is talking over them about how you shouldn’t be ashamed to be white. You should be ashamed you had that conversation to begin with. It’s disrespectful to the article, to the author, to the website and to the people whose voices are trying to be heard. You SHOULD feel ashamed.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Guys relax
    Don’t be ashamed of being white or black.
    Be ashamed of being americans and christians.

    All the war crimes..
    All the imperialism..

    Like

  17. The lady has a point if that is what the ordinance was. You can’t have an open fire on the beach, can’t bring glass to the pool, no alcohol at most state parks… Doesn’t matter how nice the day was or people involved. Unfortunately a lot of charcoal grillers maybe dumping their grilles in the grass. Non enforced ordinance sounds exactly like the kinda of thing California would do. Only puts the general public at odds with itself. Sounds like they need to figure what the ground rules are before we go all racist. Besides she looks Hispanic and probably has a screw loose if she did not just report them and move on.

    Like

    • She was a White woman from the neighborhood that we found out later that there were White neighbors by the lake that didn’t want Black people hanging out at the lake.

      Like

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