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I’ve been mulling over the most recent happenings involving two black men getting arrested at a Starbucks in Philadelphia. One of the men has been identified as Rashon Nelson. He is a 2017 graduate of Bloomsburg University in Pennsylvania with a degree in finance.

     As I shake my head and wonder what the manager was thinking, I’m reminded of an experience I had not too long ago.

     I went to a dinner party about two years ago. My old college friend lives in a high rise in San Antonio and I was taking a dessert to contribute to the meal.

She told me to tell them where I was going and that they would buzz her to confirm and then let me in.

     I entered the lobby, dessert in hand, and they waved me in. I thought to myself “okay, cool.”

     After we all ate and visited, her boyfriend offered to walk me to my vehicle. We got on the elevator and I mentioned that they didn’t stop me when I got there.

     He nodded his head and said, “You wouldn’t. You’re a woman, middle aged and, I hate to say it – white.”

     By the way, he is black. He then explained that he still has to check in especially if there are new employees.

     This is an educated man. A gentle person who loves slam poetry, good music and better food.

I forget that I am privileged. I get it. I’m a gray-headed, middle-aged woman with an approachable face. 

     If the Starbucks debacle had happened while I was in a business, I seriously would look around for the hidden cameras and John Quiñones setting me up for a “What Would You Do” segment. I would hope that I would have stepped up and questioned the manager first before recording the incident. And, I most likely would have recorded it.

     First of all, I have been at several Starbucks (and other restaurants) where folks basically camp out, immersed in their laptops, iPads and phones. I sometimes see cups on their tables and there are times when I don’t. I’ve never seen anyone questioned. But then, I’m usually here in South Texas, where we are a much friendlier lot.

     The way I see it,  next time I’m in any coffee house, I think I’ll sit for awhile, maybe ask to use the ladies’ rest room before I order and see if I get arrested. Hopefully this has been a teaching moment for many.

SUE BROWN  is the editor of the Pleasanton Express. Contact her at or write at P.O. Drawer 880, Pleasanton, TX 78064.

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