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Waiting While Black: Why Starbucks Greatly Owes The Black Men That Were Arrested

"The whole scene looked like a reenactment from a Civil Rights era biopic."

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Being black in Trump's America comes with a heavy price.

Apparently, two Philadelphia men paid that price for sitting in a Philly area Starbucks to wait for a friend. What was the outcome? The police were called, resulting in an arrest.

Local writer Melissa DePino posted a video of the fiasco on Twitter, and it went viral in a matter of seconds. In the video, two very calm black men were handcuffed and escorted out of a Starbucks by at least 6 police officers. The whole scene looked like a reenactment from a Civil Rights era biopic. Some congratulated the men for their "restraint" and sensibility, while the senseless arrest happened. In DePino's tweet, she even stated, "All the other white ppl are wondering why it’s never happened to us when we do the same thing." There were even clear protests from white customers asking what the men did wrong to be arrested in the first place. 

These white customers were applauded for their courage to "speak up" while the shit hit the fan, and rightfully so. In so many cases in the past, white bystander silence leaves victims of racial discrimination defenseless, but that wasn't the case for these men. They knew what was happening. They braced themselves for a day I'm sure both has worked out various times in their heads. All black people do. That "what will I do when it happens to me" moment. 

According to DePino, who identified the men as real estate agents, they were released from detainment at 1:30 a.m. on Friday, April 13. The DA declined arraignment, but this isn't going to end here. 

Since the incident went public, many have begun trolling the Starbucks (hint, hint: it's located on 18th and Spruce St. in Rittenhouse) harder than the Beyhive's "Who Bit Beyoncé" investigation. 

Their Yelp page is cancelled. It went from nonexistent to poppin': 1,223 reviews and only 1 star. 

Read Annie G.'s review of Starbucks on Yelp

Read Jacinta W.'s review of Starbucks on Yelp

Read Amanda M.'s review of Starbucks on Yelp

The word is, baristas called the police because the two men were sitting, but had not ordered anything. Imagine sitting in a coffee shop, probably excited to sit down and chill for a minute, and you're arrested. The baby cousin who snuck to Coachella is probably doing things more illegal than that. 

Apparently Starbucks is "looking into" the matter, but who cares. We all know they owe these brothas more than a lifetime worth of their gentrification-in-your-cup coffee.

At this point, it's dangerous to do anything while black. America's sending a loud message: we're welcome anywhere but here.

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Erika E. Wade is a Los Angeles based writer for the stage and screen. She was born and raised in Birmingham, Alabama. You can read more of her work o