When Keeping It Real Goes Wrong - Amy Cooper
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Amy Cooper was an exceptional student. She received straight A's through High School and volunteered at the local Boys & Girls Club and Habitat for Humanity. She participated in the Big Brother, Big Sister program helping inner-city youths for 9 years.
Upon graduating Summa Cum Laude from NYU with degrees in Business and Women's Studies, Amy accepted an investment analyst position at Franklin Templeton Investments.
She quickly rose through the ranks until she became a Vice President at the age of 30. She moved into a two-bedroom apartment in the Upper East Side on 82nd street and 3rd Avenue with her Asian-American husband, Josh.
On Memorial Day, as she was taking her adopted spaniel Henry for a morning stroll through Central Park, she ran into a man who asked her to put a leash on the dog as they traversed through The Ramble, a wooded section of the park known for its colorful avian, winding trails, and pot-smoking teenagers.
MAN: Ma’am, dogs in the Ramble have to be on the leash at all times. The sign is right there.
AMY: The dog runs are closed. He needs his exercise.
MAN: All you have to do is take him to the other side of the drive, outside the Ramble, and you can let him run off leash all you want.
AMY: It’s too dangerous.
MAN: Look, if you’re going to do what you want, I’m going to do what I want, but you’re not going to like it.
AMY: What’s that?
MAN (to the dog): Come here, puppy!
AMY: He won’t come to you.
MAN: We’ll see about that…
Amy usually handled these situations with grace and aplomb. She was a progressive woman. Voted for Hilary, hung out in ethnically diverse friend groups, and selected "contact-less delivery" on all of her Caviar orders.
But she had just finished the last episode of Big Little Lies and was feeling extra ornery about having nothing new to watch. She could have complied with the law, leashed the dog, and gone on her way, but Amy decided to keep it real.
She grabbed Henry by the collar and told the man to stop filming her. It was at this moment
she decided it was time. Time for her to ride the white (privilege) lightning. Time for her to drop the "an A-A man is threatening me in the park" bomb.
And at that moment, she was labeled a racist, fired from her job, divorced by her husband, forced to give Henry back to the pound she adopted him from, estranged from her family, cast into isolation, used for laboratory experimentation, sold into auction, tarred, feathered, made to wear a dunce cap for several hours, and had her membership card revoked by the ACLU. She now lives with her Mother and works on an Amazon assembly line in Oswego, New York.
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