Napping while black: An offense at Yale

Yale racial profiling

The two graduate students at Yale University involved in the recent incident of racial profiling. PHOTO CREDIT: Lolade Siyonbola via Yaba Left


Earlier this week at Yale University, a white student called the police on a black student when she found her sleeping in their dorm’s common room. This incident of racial profiling adds to a long list of everyday activities that are seemingly unacceptable to do while black. The Washington Post put together a great list of activities recently that have resulted in inappropriate responses on account of race:


Couponing while black, graduating too boisterously while black, waiting for a school bus while black, throwing a kindergarten temper tantrum while black, drinking iced tea while black, waiting at Starbucks while black, AirBnB’ing while black, shopping for underwear while black, having a loud conversation while black, golfing too slowly while black, buying clothes at Barney’s while black, or Macy’s, or Nordstrom Rack, getting locked out of your own home while black, going to the gym while black, asking for the Waffle House corporate number while black and reading C.S. Lewis while black, among [many] others.” ~ Cleve R. Wootson Jr. via Washington Post


In the case of Yale, the incident was captured in two Facebook Live videos. The black graduate student had fallen asleep while working late on a paper when the white graduate student told her she couldn’t sleep there. She called the police as she said she did not know who the woman was. The police came and verified that the black student was indeed a graduate student at Yale following a heated intervention.


After the incident was resolved, the police reprimanded the white student and explained that “this was not a police matter.” Yale has responded as well to address this issue of racism:


“Racism is an unqualified evil in our society. Universities are not utopias, and people of color experience racism on our campus as they do elsewhere in our country. This fact angers and disappoints me. We must neither condone nor excuse racism, prejudice, or discrimination at Yale.” ~ Yale President, Peter Salovey via Washington Post


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