The summer of 2018 has been an endless ride of white people calling the cops on black people for doing the most innocuous of things, including sitting at a Starbucks, holding a barbecue party, swimming in their own pools, smoking in a parking lot, mowing the lawn and generally living their lives.
Now, it seems Wells Fargo has also joined the list of racist people and organizations that are hell-bent on making the lives of people of color utterly miserable.
Case in point: Barbara Carroll, a 78-year-old former assistant bank manager, just wanted to get a check for $140 cashed at a Wells Fargo’s Victoria Park branch. Instead, she was detained at the bank for two and a half hours as the bank staff threatened to call the cops on her.
Her only crime was that she was black.
Carroll gave her check to a teller, a white woman, who asked her for her identification. In response, Carroll showed her passport and driver’s license. However, the teller told her there seemed to be a problem and asked her to wait in the lobby.
When half an hour passed, Carroll asked to talk to the manager. But what the manager, also a white woman, told Carroll shocked her to the core. She said she would not return the elderly lady’s identification and had called the police. She suspected Carroll had attempted a forgery even though the man who wrote the check confirmed it was genuine.
Carroll once again returned to the lobby to wait but after half an hour, she called 911 herself. When the cops arrived, Carroll had already spent two hours in the bank. The officers then checked Carroll’s ID and found it to be valid.
“I felt very embarrassed,” she told Miami New Times. “I felt belittled. I can't tell you the emotions I felt.”
Carroll said she felt she was marginalized because of her race.
What was worse, the elderly claimed, was that neither the manager nor the teller apologized for their baseless accusations and mistreatment. She said she called Wells Fargo’s corporate office where she got an unsatisfactory reply about training.
“It was your normal ‘brush you up and make you smile,’” she said.
“Things that we — and we being black people — things that we feel are sometimes brushed over, like, ‘Oh, she was just doing her job,’” Carroll said. “It's a difference, and you can sense the difference.”
Wells Fargo issued a statement stating they are aware of the incident.
“Wells Fargo opposes discrimination of any kind as evidenced by our own non-discrimination policy, our commitment to diversity and inclusion in our work force, and our long-standing history of support for community organizations that embrace diversity,” the company stated.
Carroll has now hired a lawyer, Yechezkel Rodal, and filed a lawsuit against, what she deemed was, institutional racism. Her lawyer believes the legal action may force banks to change its attitude towards people of color.
“Ultimately, we're hopeful that this isn't just about Wells Fargo, that other corporations take notice and realize that there has to be some kind of change in our culture — that these things are not OK,” Rodal said.
Thumbnail/Banner Credits: Reuters