Christian Cooper, the black man who recorded an incident in Central Park during which a white woman attempted to sic the cops on him after he asked her to leash her dog, has come forward to say he is “uncomfortable” with the negative backlash the woman has received.
The footage went viral for its horrifying racism, as the woman, Amy Cooper (no relation), pointedly told Christian she was going to call the cops to tell them an African American man was threatening her life. The video clearly shows Christian keeping his distance, keeping calm, while Amy appears to feign heightened distress to suggest to the police that she is in imminent danger.
Since the video first began circulating, Amy has been terminated from her job and has surrendered her dog (who she appeared to choke throughout the video) back to the rescue organization where she originally adopted him.
Her identity was uncovered by internet sleuths outraged by her apparent attempted to weaponize her whiteness against a man who merely asked her to follow the park’s regulations. Amy has since attempted to apologize for the incident (poorly), and has said that her “entire life is being destroyed.”
While many feel that Amy deserves to have her life fall apart for escalating a situation that could have ended in Christian’s death at the hands of the police, Christian himself doesn’t seem to be taking any particular enjoyment from her destruction.
“It’s a little bit of a frenzy, and I am uncomfortable with that,” he told The New York Times. “If our goal is to change the underlying factors, I am not sure that this young woman having her life completely torn apart serves that goal.”
While many are praising Christian for his compassion, the overall consensus is that Amy isn’t owed any of it. And a common refrain is that the only way to stop such overt and threatening acts of racism is for there to be consequences for the people who set these events into motion.
While it may be in Christian’s own self-interest to be compassionate and move on from this moment, staying angry at the white supremacy and constant history of injustice that led to that moment in the first place is just as valid. And, as Amy is certainly finding out firsthand, sometimes, there actually are consequences.