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Respiratory Failure

Degree Critical - Essay - May 31, 2020

“I’m going to tell them there’s an African-American man threatening my life.” Last weekend in Manhattan, Amy Cooper launched herself into viral notoriety with those words. Christian Cooper (no relation), a Black man who was bird-watching in the Ramble section of Central Park, had asked Amy Cooper to leash her roaming dog, as per the park’s rules. When she responded to his request with aggression and a promise to call the police, Christian Cooper turned on his cell phone camera in order to document their interaction. His video shows her quickly becoming more agitated and aggressive, while Cooper himself remained steady and controlled. But in Amy Cooper’s threat, the qualifier of the man’s race was deliberate, and betrayed her sinister confidence in a judicial system that would of course uphold a white woman’s testimony of the incident over a Black man’s.

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