Now racists who see black people going about their day peacefully and lawfully can act and act fast!
After a rash of awful white people have been caught calling the police on black people engaged in absolutely normal behavior, the New York Times opinion section has struck back with a hilarious satirical video about a phone hotline for racists to call in times of need.
Starring Niecy Nash — the comedian and actress from shows like Reno 911!, Clean House, and Claws — and created by Nash, Taige Jensen, and Jenn Lyon, the video is an infomercial for a new hotline, 1-844-WYT-FEAR, which racists can call instead of 911 to report law-abiding people of color.
When your friend is beautiful and brilliant and black and smart and funny as hell and looks damn good in a retro purple blazer while throwing satirical shade at Josh, Chad and Becky, your friend is @NiecyNash. pic.twitter.com/Qtq171Bjvv
— Ava DuVernay (@ava) October 23, 2018
“Hi, I’m Niecy Nash, actress, inventor and advocate for not calling 911 on black people for no goddamn reason,” the video begins, showing Nash in a purple blazer, with cheesy music playing in the background. “I’d like to introduce you to a radical new product that will save you from all the headaches of being filmed and outed as a racist douche.”
How does the hotline work? It’s simple. White people who see black people quietly conducting their daily business call the hotline and talk to a black person who will explain the error of their ways.
In the video, call center employees can be heard answering the concerns of their white callers. “That is actually your neighbor Michael,” one says gently.
Another helpful hotline employee says, hilariously: “Our records show that is actually his boat. Yeah, I know — black people have boats too now.”
Are you fed up with all these fake 911 calls on black people? Now there's a (real) hotline for racists to call instead: 1-844-WYT-FEAR. https://t.co/nX8N5UNFwx
— NYT Opinion (@nytopinion) October 22, 2018
The video’s companion article goes on to explain the serious angle to the hotline for racists video, which is that people of color face these injustices every day, even when they engage in the most mundane moments of life.
“The phenomenon of white people harassing African-Americans going about their day is nothing new, but with the ubiquity of smartphones and social media, everyone can now see how these injustices are played out and lead to anxiety for and material harm to people of color,” it reads. “And this problem is bigger than a few unreasonable white people. Racist stereotypes are baked into our society.”
The article ends by listing 39 different instances in which white people called the police over the normal behavior of black people, just in 2018. The activities include a man trying to enter his apartment, a family using the neighborhood pool, and a little girl selling water.
To add brilliance to the hotline for racists video, the New York Times actually set up a working 1-844-WYT-FEAR phone number, which opens with this automated answer:
“We are here to address your urgent concerns about black or brown people living their life near you. Please listen to the following options before making your selection. If you are indeed white and feeling scared about a black or brown person in your proximity, press one. Warning: If hearing Spanish is triggering for you, please protect your ears now.”
Pressing one leads to a menu of black “offenses,” like selling water, but whichever you pick, you get the following answer:
“Based on your menu selection, we have determined that you are not in danger and are probably just racist. In order to deal with this situation, you should put away your phone and move on with your day. Or, if you’re feeling particularly bold, you may introduce yourself and try being a person.”
The New York Times also states in the article that it has an actual email hotline — for people of color to report racial harassment: 844WYTFEAR@nytimes.com.