While in this day and age women may have perfect justification to be suspicious when they see someone they don’t recognize trying to enter the multi-unit loft building that they live in, some self-awareness and common sense can prevent the fate that one woman brought upon herself by relying on racial profiling rather than accepting an unknown fellow tenant’s proof of residency.
By now, you’ve likely seen the latest viral video that has brought shame upon a woman who refused to believe that a black man actually lived in the same building as she did. D’Arreion Toles was arriving home after a late night at his office in St. Louis when he arrived at his downtown loft building and found the entrance blocked by a young white woman who demanded proof that he actually lived in the building.
Toles asked the woman to get out of his way so he could use his key fob to enter the building. The unidentified woman repeatedly demanded that he tell her which unit he lived in, information that Toles did not feel he should have to provide to a stranger. He pushed past her and took the elevator to his apartment, whereupon the woman followed him as he used his key to enter his legitimately rented apartment.
Luckily, Toles videoed the entire encounter and posted it on social media. Before long, “Elevator Ellie” had joined “Barbecue Becky,” “Permit Patty,” and “Cornerstore Caroline” in the web’s hall of racist infamy.
Today that internet exposure caught up with the unidentified woman, according to KMOV-TV in St. Louis, when her employer Tribeca-STL, a minority-owned business, announced that it was “disturbed” by her behavior and terminated her employment. The company issued the following statement explaining its actions;
“Tribeca-STL was recently shared a video containing a disturbing interaction that we believe is important to clarify.”
“The video did involve one of our employees, but the event did NOT take place at Tribeca-STL and did NOT involve one of our tenants. The video is showing the employee in her private life at her own residence interacting with another person.”
“The Tribeca-STL family is a minority-owned company that consists of employees and residents from many racial backgrounds. We are proud of this fact and do not and never will stand for racism or racial profiling at our company.”
“After a review of the matter the employee has been terminated and is no longer with our Company.”
While a single woman has every right to be concerned about her personal safety, a working key fob should be more than sufficient proof of legitimate tenancy in a building, no matter what the color of your skin. That’s the kind of common sense that people need to employ to avoid being shamed on the internet for racial profiling and subsequently losing their employment. Hopefully, this will be a teachable moment for more than just the woman involved.
As for D’Arreion Toles, he has no animosity towards the woman. While he expressed thanks for the support he received from online viewers of his video, he asked people not to attack the woman.
“Don’t go after the lady. Let her be at peace. Let her live her life,” he said. “I am not mad at her. I am not upset with her. I am not going to go after her legally or anything like that. I wish her the best. I would still have a conversation with her,” he graciously concluded.
If only everyone was as magnanimous as he is.
Follow Vinnie Longobardo on Twitter.