So, a black guy walks into a gym …
No, this isn’t the start of a joke with a funny punch line, but rather the beginning of a frustrating scenario that highlights the racial biases many Americans harbor.
A black member of an LA Fitness gym in Secaucus, New Jersey, was racially-profiled while simply trying to work out. Videos of the incident shared on Facebook showed employees calling the police on the man because they accused him of not paying to get in. Adding insult to injury, the workers would not back down after learning he was actually a member.
Tshyrad Oates posted the clips, which were initially filmed in real-time by his friend who was the target of this racist treatment. The first video showed the friend angrily walking from the main gym area in the direction of the lobby after being asked to leave the facility because he didn’t pay an entrance fee.
After entering the lobby, the man asked the front desk attendant to scan his membership tag. Upon discovering the man was, indeed, a member of the gym, the woman just stood up and walked away without saying a word.
Another video depicted the man being asked to stop filming by the gym manager. When he refused to oblige, the manager tried to get the police officers to make him stop recording, which they promptly informed him they could not legally do.
“You guys don’t like cellphones, I get it,” one officer said to the gym manager. “But it’s not criminal activity.”
The gym manager became agitated and began canceling the man’s membership in the gym's system. When he asked the officers what he did to deserve his membership being revoked, they couldn’t tell him.
“I don’t have the answers for you,” one officer replies.
Also, it should be noted that the gym's so-called rule against cellphones seems to be either bogus or frequently ignored as the The Root found and took screenshots of several video and photo posts from members of the same gym location on Instagram.
And, sadly, the manager who terminated the man’s membership was another man of color. Life is difficult enough for minorities in this country without people of color making it tougher for each other.
Banner/Thumbnail Photo Credit: Flickr, Mike Mozart