The racial profiling of a neighborhood activist has landed locals in some trouble. Wife Lisa Alexander and husband Robert Larkins stand accused of implicit bias in the court of public opinion. And while they may not see legal action, their discriminatory behavior has cost them.
Resident James Juanillo posted a video to Twitter last week which has since gone viral. In the two minute clip, Alexander and Larkins approach Juanillo as he uses chalk to stencil a Black Lives Matter logo in front of his own home. Juanillo has lived at this address for nearly twenty years. Yet Alexander presses him, claiming she knows the owners. Juanillo invites her and Larkins to call the cops if they are concerned. Finally, the couple walks away.
In the days since, both Larkins and Alexander have faced backlash. Raymond James, a San Francisco financial firm, fired Larkins from his position with them. Their statement reads: “Raymond James has zero tolerance for racism or discrimination of any kind. An inclusive workplace is fundamental to our culture, one in which people are free to bring their whole selves to their careers. We expect our associates to conduct themselves appropriately inside and outside of the workplace.”
Alexander serves as CEO of LA FACE but has since deactivated the company’s site. She has also deleted her Twitter. Distributors such as Birchbox have since ceased their working relationships with LA FACE. They do not intend to work together in the future, either.
Reflecting on Racial Profiling
The consequences of the couple’s actions have had a lasting impact. Alexander issued an apology upon reviewing the video for herself. “There are not enough words to describe how truly sorry I am for being disrespectful. Last Tuesday, I made the decision to question him about what he was doing in front of his home. I should have minded my own business.”
She cites the lesson as “painful.” But she also admits being naive and ignorant. An apology may be too little, too late. Still, we are seeing the impact of holding people accountable. Hopefully, this becomes a teaching moment for many.
The cops did make an appearance that day. Being familiar with the area, they recognized Juanillo. He claims they didn’t even exit their patrol car. Even so, he remains bothered by the whole event. He identifies as Filipino. And he recognizes the role that plays.
A recent tweet reads: “People should ask themselves if this Karen would have believed me if I said, ‘Yes Maam, I sure do live in this multi-million dollar mansion, for almost 18 years now!’ If she was capable of believing that in the first place, she would never have bothered me.”