The Danger of Amy Cooper’s Apology: When Privilege Inspires Selective Racism

Maya L, M.A.
3 min readMay 27, 2020

How a woman played innocent after knowingly weaponizing herself

Courtesy of Julian Myles | Unsplash

While the videos of Amy Cooper and George Floyd are going viral throughout the milieu of social media, many of us acknowledge how the correlation between Amy Cooper’s interaction with Christian Cooper can lead to a racially charged incident like George Floyd. But, there is something inherently more dangerous with Amy Cooper: what was said in her apology after her “distress” call went viral.

I’ve come to realize especially today that I think of [the police] as a protection agency, and unfortunately, this has caused me to realize that there are so many people in this country that don’t have that luxury. — Amy Cooper

Amy Cooper’s inclusion of this statement in her apology makes her, not only the physical person but equally those of her mindset, dangerous. Let’s set aside her race, for the moment, and while we’re at it, her gender. What is presented is a person in a multicultural and metropolitan environment that is rife with such tremendous diversity politically, socially, economically, academically, etc, and still lacks the cognition to understand racial profiling by law enforcement. At what point in 2020, has there not been an unfortunate breadth of “shoot first, ask questions later” actions?

Amy Cooper is not a tragic figure. She doesn’t deserve sympathy for, what she might consider, a lapse in judgment when she openly declares that she will inform police dispatch that “an African American man is threatening her life.” At no point should she be considered a fallen person, who in a moment of fear, was justified in her response. Neither should her apology be treated lightly.

Amy Cooper is within the shadow of Carolyn Bryant, the woman who relatively recently recanted her tale that Emmett Till had whistled at her. Yet, Emmett Till had long since been lynched at a relatively young age, and Carolyn Bryant was privileged to live her life for decades afterward while Emmett Till was not. Amy, like Carolyn, assessed that her power lay within her hysteria, and with that hysteria, lives were in…

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Maya L, M.A.

I explore the intersectionality of race and culture from a humanistic lens. Host of The Renegade Professor Podcast.