It is becoming something of a predictable pattern: a white person exposes their racism in a video-graphed outburst. The scene goes viral, revealing the person’s identity and behavior to an internet-connected world, which in turn proves to be an embarrassing problem for the racist’s employer.
And, in the final twist of cyber-justice, the racist is publicly and shamefully fired from their job.
The most recent example of this disturbing chain of events occurred earlier this month after a video of a white woman spewing racist insults and threats toward two African-American women as they waited for an auto repair service outside their Charlotte, North Carolina apartment went viral.
But there have been many others, in which white people were exposed on social media for their blatantly displaying aggressive racism directed at black people who are lawfully living their lives. Often these incidents are videotaped, the offenders are given nicknames and news of the shameful incident spread far beyond the individual locales.
“Cornerstore Caroline” called the police after she alleged that a 9-year-old black boy sexually assaulted her in a neighborhood store when his backpack accidentally brushed against her butt. And a white woman called the police on a black man who was babysitting two white children.
According to news and police reports from Charlotte, the two women — sisters Leisa and Mary Garris — were standing outside Leisa Garris’ apartment on October 19 in Charlotte’s South Park/Myers Park neighborhood, one of the city’s tonier areas, and waiting for AAA to assist them with starting a car, when an apparently drunk white woman that they’d never seen before approached them.
“We are so distraught and still very upset about what has taken place only because of the color of our skin,” the sisters said to Charlotte television station WSOC, which first reported on the incident. “It is so upsetting to know that today we still have this overt racism going on in 2018.”
In the video, taken by the sisters and broadcast by the television station, the woman, later identified as 51-year-old Susan Westwood, asks if they live in the Camden Fairview Apartment complex and, at one point, threatens to pull a gun on them. Social media has dubbed her “SouthPark Susan.”
One of the Garris sisters is heard saying, “I don’t know, but you’re harassing me.”
The woman responds by saying, “Do I need to bring my concealed weapons too? This is North Carolina by the way.”
This is just a few seconds of a video that has now gone viral. Two sisters recording video say the woman seen in video racially and physically attacked them while waiting for AAA to respond in their own neighborhood. @wsoctv pic.twitter.com/UGslp1oZGN
— Stephanie Tinoco (@STinocoWSOC9) October 27, 2018
“Do you live here?” Westwood says at another point. “Why do we feel that we need to be here like hanging out? Let’s call 911. I want to make sure there’s nothing going on here.”
And, the video recorded her boasting of her job, salary and white privilege. “I make $125,000 a year and I want to make sure that you’re all up in here. Girl, girl, girl. I’m white. I’m girl white. I’m white.”
Police responded to a 911 call at the time and took a report, but didn’t arrest Westwood. However, after the incident circled the globe on Facebook and Twitter and WSOC reported it on the news broadcast, police issued four criminal summons for her arrest on two charges of making threats and two charges of simple assault. As of last weekend she had not been arrested.
The Garris sisters have hired an attorney to review the incident, according to WCCB, another Charlotte television station.
In addition to the pending criminal charges, Westwood lost her job with Spectrum Enterprises, a technology firm. An official with Charter Communications, the firm’s parent operation, responded to the outcry on social media and released a statement that announced Westwood’s firing.
“The incident recorded in Charlotte is a blatant violation of Charter’s code of conduct and clearly disregards the company’s commitment to inclusion and respectful behavior,” the company said.
“As such, Ms. Westwood’s employment with the company has been terminated, effective immediately.”