Screenshot: Wesley Michel (Facebook)
None of us know Christopher Cukor well enough to make cuckold jokes, but trust me, I know we all want to.
Cukor was thrust into the African-American zeitgeist the way that most white people throughout history have thrust themselves into African-American history: by minding other people’s business.
Here’s how The Root Senior Writer Michael Harriot described the event that made Cukor’s iconic white stance of holding a cellphone to his ear to call the police on a black man existing in the same space a part of the black lexicon:
A man was caught on video performing the sacred ritual passed down from his fugitive slave catcher ancestors when on July 4, he called the police on a black man who refused to submit to his nonexistent authority as the cop caller’s son tearfully begged his father not to continue his public display of assholery.
Facebook user Wesley Michel posted a video of a man who has since been identified by internet sleuths but could not be independently verified by The Root. The video begins with the deputized doorman confronting Michel and demanding that Michel call his friend on the call box to verify that Michel has permission to stand on the sidewalk. When Michel offers an alternative suggestion—that Lobby Bobby “just walk away,” the unmelanated gentleman immediately decides to call the police and report the unregistered negro loiterer.
Yep, that happened in the year of our lord Serena Williams. Cukor, who must not have known that careers get ended off this level of petty, must’ve figured it out—or as Fredrick Douglass once said, “He gon’ learn today!” He has since issued a mea culpa, which really wasn’t an apology but whitesplaining as to why he called the police on a black man for no reason at all.
I think it’s best if we break down Cukor’s whole piece, which was posted on Medium.
A chance encounter this past weekend has upended my life in unexpected ways. Many of you know the parts that you’ve seen — the video of a conversation that happened outside my home. I’d like to share some extra details about that event that I think add some important context.
Umm, Cukor, this is a safe space so let me assure you that I say these words out of love for you, my passive-aggressive caller of cops. The “chance encounter” only became such when you thrust yourself into someone else’s life. Your day could’ve gone right the fuck on the way it started had you not decided to make a citizen’s arrest. But let’s not get caught up here, as there’s more to explore.
First just some background on that day:
– I was leaving my building with my child to take him to a friend’s house.
– Like many in San Francisco, I live in a building with a security callbox and residents in the building count on that security measure.
– I noticed Wesly Michel caught the door and entered the building without using the callbox. I did what came naturally and asked where he was going. I want to be clear on this point, this is something I do regularly, regardless of who the other person is.
– I offered to hold the door open while he used the callbox to contact his friend.
– As I learned later, Wesly was a friend of a guest of a resident in the building. The building resident was not expecting Wesly.
– When the encounter turned confrontational and I couldn’t resolve it myself, I called the police.
See that’s the thing, Cuckor (may I call you Cuck?) What came naturally to you was to confront someone walking into a building that you don’t own. It’s natural to you to claim ownership of land that isn’t yours and then demand that someone show you paperwork. This is historical. White folks have a history of staking claim to land that isn’t theirs and then demanding that others show them that they belong. This wouldn’t have been my natural response, since as a person of color, I’ve learned a lifelong lesson of “minding my goddamn business” or as my father used to tell me, “Stay on your side of the street.”
Cuck, be truthful here; you called the police because a black man told you to fuck off and mind your business—or as you say, “I couldn’t resolve it.” You forgot to add, “I couldn’t resolve the shit that I started so I called the police because the black man didn’t do what I asked of him.”
But again, let’s move on.
Here’s where the complexity begins. I was coming into this situation with my unique history.
My father was murdered outside his home by a trespasser who he confronted alone. For my child’s safety, my safety and that of the building, I felt it was necessary to get help in this situation. Furthermore, I’ve encountered trespassers in my building and we’ve been robbed several times. This is not uncommon in San Francisco and the bad actors are all different colors.
Cuck, this might be the most confusing part of your story. My first reaction was to feel sympathy for the loss of your father. And I do. I’m sorry that your father is no longer here, but what’s confusing is that your father lost his life confronting a trespasser and then you CONFRONT A PERSON WHO YOU DON’T KNOW WHO IS ENTERING A BUILDING YOU DON’T OWN! So, you are essentially willing to potentially lose it all to stop someone from entering a building where they may actually reside—unless, of course, they comply to your demands.
This, to me, is the part where you went from regular white guy into the superpower that white people deploy when confronting a black person; I call it “deputizing whiteness.” At that moment, your rental agreement and proximity to police made you an honorary sheriff and you called the police when the “suspect” refused to comply with your demands, or as he so eloquently put it, “I don’t have to tell you shit.”
I now realize that Wesly was reacting based on his unique history as well. Unfortunately there is a terrible pattern of people calling the authorities regarding people of color for no other reason than their race. The last thing I ever intended was to echo that history—and I’m sorry my actions caused Welsy to feel unfairly targeted due to his race.
See that’s the thing, Cuck. Your son tried to tell you this.
Also from Harriot’s story:
“Daddy, I don’t like this! Let’s go,” the son wails tearfully as the man tells someone on the phone that there is a “trespasser” in the building who “appears to be African American.” When the Negroid interloper insists on his right to be there, the young son tells the father: “I agree with him, let’s go!”
Your son begged you to go instead of standing emboldened by your deputized whiteness and you, like those before you who have used the phone to call the police the way fighting junior high school kids call their cousins, couldn’t let it be.
Let’s be honest, Cuck—and I know this as a father to a son—you were embarrassed that you’d used every tool in your toolkit and a black man still told you “no” and that’s what this is about. History has shown that black men telling white men to “fuck off” hasn’t ended well. But you weren’t really willing to put it all on the line and show out to stop the “trespasser” from entering the building. Nah, Cuck, you called the police and that’s why we are here now. What you didn’t realize is that Black Twitter is another kind of police; a different kind of cousin that will contact your job and ask if this is the kind of person they want to employ.
I believe people are good at heart. It’s our past experiences and fears that cloud even our best intentions. I hope Wesly will read this and understand my history as I have tried to understand his.
And this might be the most ingenious part of this mayonnaise slathered white bread sandwich. How have you tried to understand the “trespasser’s” position? How have you tried to understand his history? By learning after the fact that your actions have earned you a hashtag among an elite group of cellphone crusaders? Your fear didn’t guide your decision; your unhinged, unchecked and possibly subconscious fear of black men did. I think it’s time to just own it, Cuck, and teach a different lesson to your son, one that looks like showing him that a man can bounce back from internet infamy…
But this fake-ass apology ain’t it.