Long Island, NY – Black Jewish Man Says He Was Almost Shot While Buying Conditioner

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    Long Island, NY – Imagine walking into a convenience store with your headphones on, picking out a conditioner bottle — then turning around to see two police officers pointing their guns at you.

    That’s what happened to Ben Faulding, a black Jewish New Yorker who goes by @TheHipsterRebbe on Twitter and Instagram. In a tweet thread Wednesday, he narrated his shock when, on a walk back from his gym in Long Island, New York, he stopped to buy some toiletries.

    When he turned to go to the cashier, “there’s a Nassau County Police officer standing there. With his weapon drawn.”

    The rest of the story is harrowing. It begins with the line “Here’s a story about how I nearly just got killed by this cop.”

    Faulding writes that he found himself facing two police officers with their guns pointed at him, screaming at him to get on the ground. Faulding feared for his life — and had trouble hearing the cop because he was wearing noise-canceling headphones.

    The experience made Faulding think of Daniel Shaver, an Arizona man who was shot and killed recently by police while he was following their instructions — but had reached back to pull up his shorts. The officer who shot Shaver said he thought Shaver was reaching for a gun.

    Faulding followed the police officers’ orders, and they handcuffed him and removed his headphones. After searching his bag and finding nothing, they let him go.
    He said it was this cop
    The incident happened, Faulding wrote, because the store clerk incorrectly suspected him of shoplifting, and the cops came expecting an armed robbery. In his tweets, Faulding sounds relieved but understandably indignant, as the episode could have easily ended in his death. In a post retelling the incident on Facebook, he wrote, “Had the officer been a little bit more jumpy or had I flinched the wrong way … well you’ve seen the videos.”

    The thread has gone viral, getting retweeted more than 100,000 times as of Friday afternoon.

    Faulding has written that he regularly faces racism from Jews. In a blog post from 2014, he wrote that while living in Crown Heights, a Brooklyn neighborhood with a large Jewish population, people would call him “shvartze,” a Yiddish term used to disparage black people. To protest the term, he posed for a photo with the slur written on his forehead.

    “Being a Jew with a black father, living in Crown Heights is a strange experience. There is always a strong undercurrent of racism,” he wrote. “You’ll be moving along just fine and then the ‘S-bomb’ will come along and just ruin your day, or at the very least your hour and minute. It’s never nice when it’s said. No one ever says ‘I had a man do my taxes. He’s shvartze.’ Nor do they say ‘my son is playing with the boys next door, they’re shvartze.’ It’s always ‘a shvartze stole my bike;’ or ‘if the shvartzes [take] welfare why shouldn’t we.’

    But despite facing racism —  along with anti-Semitism — Faulding wrote in 2014 that he doesn’t want to be defined solely by his race or religion.

    “I have no interest in being an ambassador or a bridge between the two peoples,” he wrote. “I am not my race. I am who I want to be. I am a chossid. I ride my bike. I take pictures. I am also black and Jewish; and I’m proud of both of those things, but I am not defined by these external qualities.”

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    18 COMMENTS

      • I am a Moroccan Jew who looks black to most white people and I am constantly being suspected of shop lifting or trailed by police officers.

        This is just the reality for most people of color in the US

    1. I have to say, I never saw any prejudice directed at the Black-Jewish members of the community… I had a few Black-Jewish students in my classes & they were just as accepted, respected, and disciplined as everyone else. They went on to become successful & well loved wives, Rebbetzins & mothers.

      What happened to this guy is horrible & I hope there is an investigation, but it was the action of a stupid white cop & store owner. Referring to Black people as shvartzes is very derogatory in most cases, and just like “N” word, it should be removed from our vocabulary. But I don’t believe Mr.Faulding (who I don’t know or even recall having seen around) faced this on a regular basis. And I would bet the vast majority he heard it was from Yiddish speakers. Shvartz means Black.

    2. If he is religious and is prepared to modify his life style and appearance he might find a congenial Seviva where he will not be exposed all the time to these kind of risks.

    3. I disagree with one point in this article:
      The word “Shvartze” is not derogatory nor negative nor disparaging nor insulting.
      It’s like the word “Jew” or “Yid” or “”Blond”.
      It all depends on the context.

      p.s. Same applies to “Goy”.

    4. It is a bad idea to go into any store carrying bags, as the owners can allege that you placed something of theirs in your bag, without paying for it. Secondly, the problem was compounded with this individual wearing earphones, which is not a good idea. The phones should have not been on, while in the store. Third, I think that the Nassau County cops went too far, in pointing their guns at this person. He should file a formal complaint with the Internal Affairs Division of the Nassau County PD. Fourth, I’ve heard other stories of authentic Black Jews, who claim that they were mistreated by other Jews. One person stated that in Crown Heights on Shabbos, he would routinely wish other Jews “Good Shabbos”, and they would ignore him. Incidentally, the person who was wishing Good Shabbos was a Black Chassidic, with a Black coat, and a Schreimel. However, it was obvious that he was looked down upon by others in the community. My Shul has seen several Black converts over the years. One in particular, is more observant, than the frum from birth Jews.

    5. btw, the same thing happened without the guns to my 10 year old white but jewish looking ( yarmulka) son at target. He had gone to look at sporting goods while i shopped and had stuck his hand with his (non internet) cell phone in it in his pocket. a cop and a security guard stood on each side and told him to give it back. they harassed him and he had no idea what they wanted from him. He offered to empty his pockets and when they finally left him alone he came crying to find me. I was beyond livid that they would accuse a kid in a store without finding the parent. I made a huge fuss demanding to see the video which afterwards they said did not exist. evidently an employee had seen my son putting his hand in his pocket and that was enough of a reason to suspect him.
      aside from anything else, even if he had put a store item in his pocket (which he didn’t) he was no where near an exit so no reason to think he would leave without paying. He was upstairs in Brooklyn target. I thought you had to be leaving with the item concealed to be considered shop lifting. And to accuse a minor with no adult to defend him has to be illegal!!! just saying doesn’t only happen to blacks.

      • “doesn’t only happen to blacks” Of course. Blacks and Yiden. Old majse. less than 50 Years ago in the in the GREAT USA there were signes NO BLACKS< JEWS < DOGS. The last thing we Yiden should support is to MAKE THE USA GREAT (wHITE) AGAIN.

    6. What does this yigernan mean “nobody says ‘that shvartze did my taxes'”.
      I had a tax accountant named Yankle Shvartz, that Shvartz did a really good job on my taxes.

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