A white woman who called the cops on an Oakland cookout is now a viral meme that calls attention to the everyday racism Black people face in America. The memes show that no matter what ordinary activities Black people are doing as they mind their own business, this white woman will always be one step behind them, phoning the police to tell them, “I don’t feel safe.”
For example, here she is phoning it in during President Barack Obama‘s inauguration.
The Oakland barbecue racist lady memes are why I love Twitter. pic.twitter.com/4TDEYztmS8
— Allen Wallace (@allenwallace) May 14, 2018
And she definitely has a problem with Rosa Parks taking “her” seat at the front of the bus.
— Jay Lenard (@Squatty386) May 13, 2018
While the Root has dubbed this meme the “Oakland Cookout Meme,” Know Your Meme has more broadly called it “White Woman Calling The Cops.” The white woman in question comes from an April 29 incident during which a white woman in Oakland called the police on Black men who were barbecuing in a public park.
The woman was so strongly moved to call the police because the barbecuers were using charcoal in an area restricting the use of charcoal grills. “It causes extra money from our city to do things when children get injured because of improperly disposed coals,” the woman told people recording her when asked why she cared so much.
According to the San Francisco Chronicle, the men ultimately werein a non-charcoal grilling area, but one of the men barbecuing said he had seen groups using charcoal in that same area just the weekend prior. Police ultimately came to the park and took down statements from both parties, but didn’t arrest anyone nor issue citations.
Regardless of where the men were stationed, however, calling up emergency first responders is certainly not how to go about people grilling in the park. Nearly two weeks after the incident, the video of the white woman calling the cops went viral, showcasing another instance of white people phoning it in to the cops when they see Black people simply living—such as sitting in a Philadelphia Starbucks, leaving a California Airbnb, or sleeping in their Yale dormitory. You know, things white people do every day and no one thinks twice.
In response to this woman’s misplaced righteousness, members of Oakland’s Black community gathered at the same park last weekend for a massive cookout, showing that there’s no way a self-deputized barbecue monitor was going to scare away people who have a right to be there.
How Black Oakland responds to a white lady calling the cops on Black folks BBQing… pic.twitter.com/kRdJpnmXQ2
— Brotha B (@BlakeDontCrack) May 11, 2018
In a pointed response to a recent incident where a white woman thought it her civic duty to call the police on a few black couples using a grill in a public park, the melanated masses of Oakland threw their own party at that very same site, Lake Merritt Park. pic.twitter.com/B1mSzjnnhQ
— Black Panther Fan Girl (@QuartneyChante) May 13, 2018
— ? & ! (@TjaderDaRaider) May 12, 2018
According to Know Your Meme, the image of the white woman calling the cops shot into memedom when Daily Show correspondent Roy Wood Jr. compared the woman to the meme of the Black man on the phone suggesting that the former replace the latter.
Black Twitter Meme Council, I respectful propose that 'Black Man on Phone' be replaced with 'White Lady Spoils BBQ'. pic.twitter.com/H9dRKT2PGe
— Roy Wood Jr- Ex Jedi (@roywoodjr) May 11, 2018
Comic Tim Barnes then thought to show this white woman calling the cops on Chadwick Boseman’s commencement speech at a graduation, showing that not even Black Panther speaking at a celebration of higher education is safe from the wrath of this racist woman.
"Hi, I'd like to report a graduation." pic.twitter.com/V2EiKOvNQ5
— Tim Barnes (@TimBarnes451) May 12, 2018
And that’s when the photo-edited memes came in, with meme makers splicing the woman into historical and fictional contexts.
She’s in the background of Childish Gambino’s music video for “This is America,” proving Gambino’s point of the film.
— Resist Programming‼️ (@RzstProgramming) May 15, 2018
She’s calling the cops on Colin Kaepernick and his teammates for kneeling during the national anthem.
— Resist Programming‼️ (@RzstProgramming) May 14, 2018
Martin Luther King Jr. had a dream? She’s turning the March on Washington into a literal nightmare.
Who. Did. This. *screaming* pic.twitter.com/IImi2Axxq1
— PrestonMitchum (@PrestonMitchum) May 13, 2018
Be it Obama, Beyoncé, Black Panther, or Wakanda, this racist white woman wants the police on these people, now.
— StrictlyCovfefè ? (@christoq) May 15, 2018
Not even God himself, Morgan Freeman, is safe.
— شکلات دوست دارم (@sarefo) May 14, 2018
Calling the cops of crowds of Black people enjoying themselves is her specialty.
Some of these memes about the woman who called the cops on black folks having a cookout on Lake Merritt in Oakland will forever be funny. The House Party one took me out. ?? pic.twitter.com/2xizvAJMPY
— Neale (@AbeFroman) May 14, 2018
Yes, the barbecuers walked away without a ticket or arrest, but maybe this meme will make others think twice before they seriously waste people’s time and mess up someone’s life over something as small as a charcoal grill.