Marking a year since the infamous "BBQ Becky" incident, in which an officious white lady called the cops on two black men who were barbecuing beside Lake Merritt in April 2018, hundreds turned out for the second "BBQ'ing While Black" event on Sunday, which has now become its own little festival.
"We know how to make beauty out of something that was disgusting," says one Oakland resident speaking to ABC 7 News, and indeed much of the Twitter video from the event emphasized the positive vibe.
That fateful day over a year ago when Oakland resident Dr. Jennifer Schulte whipped out her battery-connected phone to report some illegal barbecuing spawned thousands of memes and became a source of great Twitter humor for a while. While Schulte believed she was in the right to be reporting on the minor infraction, she became a teaching moment for white America when it comes to the singling out of black people for unnecessary police attention. And the incident spawned dozens of other examples caught on video of white people trying to report black people for no real reason — including one just two weeks ago here in SF.
Schulte, who was identified early on as a Stanford faculty member, was a graduate of Stanford but actually had no current affiliation with the university.
The incident was even more silly, as the East Bay Times explains, when it became clear that barbecuing where the two men were by the lake was actually permitted — but charcoal grills, like the one they were using, are not.
While the video and the meme have largely faded from prominence since the first BBQ'ing While Black party was held in May 2018, the underlying issues remain part of the national dialogue.
“Barbecuing while black” festival event happening on Lake Merritt in #Oakland today, commemorating the “bbq becky” incident when a white woman called police on two black men having a barbecue lakeside. #BlackLivesMatter pic.twitter.com/xRG4VxGgvX— Cornell Barnard (@CornellBarnard) July 21, 2019