Commentary: Get a life!

Michelle Hollinger

Commentary: Get a life!
August 16
10:12 2018

By Michelle Hollinger

It seems almost every day we’re hearing about yet another incident of black people being harassed by white people for simply existing. Commonly known as “living while black,” it usually involves some white person calling the police to report black folk doing normal, everyday activities that, when performed by white folk, are deemed normal, everyday activities.

From a white woman calling the police on black men grilling food in a public park, to white people calling the police on black children engaged in entrepreneurial pursuits (celebrated if performed by white children), there seems to be an epidemic of white folk hell-bent on stopping blacks from occupying space in the United States of an America they believe exists solely for them.

The more horrific examples, of course, are when the police and wanna-be-police like George Zimmerman murder unarmed black people because the mere presence of black bodies creates hate-tinged distress in the murderers, a factor that makes unnecessary calls to the police so dangerous.

I’m convinced the underlying desire for these asinine reports is to put black people on notice that the color of their skin makes them unworthy of participating in normal, everyday activities. How else do you explain white people calling the police to report black people eating, sleeping, shopping, walking, escaping the rain, waiting for a business associate, rehabbing their real estate, etc.?

Worthiness is definitely at play, but it’s the white folk making the calls whose behavior is shaped by unworthiness. Something is seriously off kilter in the way their existence is unfolding. They’re not living the type of life their white privilege purportedly provides and they’re looking for someone to blame. Instead of using their excessive amount of free time to meditate, attend a self-development seminar or read a Tony Robbins book, they spend it harassing black folk.

Think about the complainers. Examine their incredulous claims and the you-have-to-see-it-to-believe-it justification they use for calling the police. The common factor among them appears to be a lackluster life void of the American Dream to which they feel entitled. These are unhappy white people living from a “misery loves company,” “my life sucks so I’m going to make sure yours does too” mentality.

They won’t admit it, but they are also likely dealing with an especially disconcerting form of jealousy because most of the black people they reported were engaged in positive, progressive, life-affirming behavior. The police were summoned to deal with black folk working, napping while studying, eating in a college cafeteria, leaving an Airbnb while vacationing, waiting for a business associate to conduct business, enjoying a summer BBQ, and other “all American” activities. 

Instead of hating on black folk trying to live their lives, perhaps this group of Scrooge impersonators should use their free time to get one!

Michelle Hollinger is editor of the South Florida Times, publisher and editorial director of The Sisterhood magazine and author of  the book “Worthy,” and the host of “Worthy Talk with Michelle.” Contact her at

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