But the nicknames aren’t just there to highlight the seemingly unfathomable depths of every day racism, they’ve become a tool in rallying against discrimination. When the likes of BBQ Becky and Permit Patty went viral, it allowed those incidents to gain traction on social media and make its way to traditional media outlets. The hashtags became an anchor for where people could gather information and spread their message. For example, within a matter of days of going viral, Permit Patty resigned as the CEO of her company.

Calling the police on black people is often a way of regulating access to shared space. In these instances, calling the police is about having the power to say who belongs in area and who doesn’t. And who has a right to be in a certain area is a thorny issue deeply intertwined with the US history of segregation.

While legal segregation was struck down more than 50 years ago, segregated communities are still rife across the country. You just need to take a look at the consequences black individuals face when they step into overwhelmingly white space, whether daring to buy a cup of coffee or having a BBQ on a sunny day.

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